Laguna Pueblo, NM & Canelo, AZ – 2000
Our first experience learning from Japanese craftsmen came working alongside famed Akira Kusumi on a project sponsored by Cornerstones at the old mission in the Native American Pueblo of Laguna in New Mexico.
After the Laguna event, Kusumi-san came to Canelo along with a group that included several Japanese architects, magazine editors and our good friends, photographer Yoshio Komatsu and his wife Eiko. In response to hospitality we extended to him on his visit, which included a private tour of lime-plastered San Xavier mission in Tucson, Az, he presented us with a collection of Japanese trowels and plastering tools. That was our beginning, however, the problem remained that we didn’t know what to do with most of them and awaited someone to train us further.
During that same visit, we also were befriended by editor of the Japanese home magazine Confort, Kimie Tada. Our relationship with her served to be a very valuable source of inspiration in that she continued to send us copies of the magazine whenever there was an issue that was dedicated to the use of clay.
Canelo, AZ – 2004 & 2007 Pojoaque, NM – 2007
After our first contact with Japanese plaster craftsman Akira Kusumi, it took repeated efforts over a number of years to find another craftsman who would agree to travel to Canelo for training. Finally, a very innovative contemporary craftsman named Syuhei Hasado, agreed to come and do a 10-day training session. His visit was invaluable providing us with an invaluable foundation in Japanese methods and tools.
He returned several years later for a shorter time and a trip to New Mexico to view the work at Athena’s sister, Roxanne’s gallery and to give a demonstration there. We remain in contact with him as well as a woman named Kimie Tada, who is the editor of the Japanese home magazine Confort. She was the one who made the contact for us with Syuhei and arranged for his trips to the States, we are deeply indebted to her.
Canelo, AZ – 2012
We were lucky to host Koboyashi to teach a Art of Japanese Plaster Workshop in September 2012. He is a clay and lime craftsmen noted for his ornamental polished plasters and Kamado clay ovens.
Canelo, AZ – December 2009
Our third opportunity to work with Japanese craftsmen with the visit of a young man named Keisuke Noda who was brought to us by young American, Kyle Holzhueter, who was studying in Japan, to complete a PhD in Sustainable Development.
A great thing about the Japanese is that their plastering skills are truly marvelous and their understanding of clay very thorough. You really can’t watch them enough, their application skills are unequaled. Noda-san did not disappoint in providing us a great demonstration of basic plastering skills as well as revealing a number of very finely finished and highly polished lime plasters.