Robert Yellin's Japanese Pottery Blog

Greetings from Kyoto, We've just moved our gallery into a magnificent old Sukiya style home located very near the Silver Pavilion; a stunning area and setting for the inspired ceramic art we share with the world. Please visit us if ever in Kyoto or online at and

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Yakimono and Bonsai in Italy

In northern Italy is the lovely city of Turino, surrounded by the Italian Alps and home to many wonderful museums and churches. The most prestigious museum in Turino is the Palazzo Bricherasio( and until January 6th, 2008 it's hosting an exhibition featuring bonsai made by local Bonsai master Massimo Bandera( and ceramic art by Italian potter Alessandro Beghini(, American ceramic artist Jeff Shapiro( and Tokyo-based tougeika Higashida Shigemasa( I flew there for a press conference and the opening on Dec.13th; the opening was very well attended and I hear about 1000 persons a day are continuing to visit the exhibit. Outside of the regal museum is where the bonsai are displayed and one has to cross over a traditional Japanese arched bridge to view them. Inside on the second floor is where the ceramics are, both foreign potters deeply influenced by Japanese pottery and of course Higashida being a Shino and Oribe master. On Dec.16th at a local hotel was held a conference in which I gave a brief talk on the yakimono scene here in Japan and also introduced a few important contemporary ceramic artists. A video was made and I hope to be able to offer that. In the meantime, please enjoy some photos from the exhibit; if you happen to be so lucky as to be in Torino, by all means go! The event was sponsored by many local entities, yet the main one is an incredible local martial arts center headed by Cesare Turtoro; the name is Yoshin Ryu:
May 2008 be a year of deep joy in each moment and continual inner light that shines the road for you with each step......

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Shimaoka Tatsuzo--A True Treasure--R.I.P.

Upon my return from Italy I was very saddened to hear of the passing away of Shimaoka Tatsuzo. From an email from Matsuzaki Ken: 'Shimaoka-sensei was hospitalized due to the
cerebral infarction on November 13. He seemed to recover once; however, I
am sorry to say, in spite of a cordial treatment, he passed away at 23:05
on December 11 from the chronic heart disease. Shimaoka-sensei's exhibition started at
Ginza, Tokyo, from December 5. It was a regret that he could not see
it. He had been concerned about the show to the last day, December 11, and he passed away quietly after knowing it was over successfully. I truly admire his mental
power. Shimaoka Kei will take over the studio.'
I had the honor of visiting Shimaoka-sensei on many occasion and he was always very cordial even with his extremely busy schedule. The end of an era for Mashiko. From the New York Times: