Kazu Oba

Born in Kobe, Kazu Oba spent his early years in Japan. He moved to Colorado in the 90's and has called the Boulder area home ever since. He has continued to travel throughout the world for assistantships, workshops, and exhibitions. Kazu apprenticed under two masters, Jerry Wingren, a sculptor in stone and wood, then another master Takashi Nakazato, one of the world's most renowned potters from Karatsu, one of the ceramic centers of Japan. Kazu's pottery is dedicated to functional, everyday ware to be used in home. His background as a chef distinctly influences his work, as he maintains a constant focus on the relationship between his pots and the food that will occupy them.

Oba. Originally from Japan and inspired to come to America by the movie Grease, Oba made his way to Colorado in 1989 when an exchange program

apprenticeship with sculptor Jerry Wingren

including 13th generation potter Takashi Nakazato of Japan who had a small apartment at the ranch. After meeting Takashi there, it was agreed that he would become an apprentice of Nakazato’s back in his studio in Japan.

Because I was trained in Japan, many things I do are different than what is done here. In the West, people throw counterclockwise. But in Japan we throw clockwise. This is because in the West, they have the dominate hand on the outside, usually the right hand. In Japan, they throw with dominate hand on the inside of the pottery. For making bowls and plates, we don’t really worry about the outside of the pottery, while in the West, the silhouette and shape of the outside of the pottery is more important. Visual a Grecian urn - they perfected and refined shapes. You never look at the inside! Jim Lorio shared with us in a class that it’s about which one we consider more important- the inside or the outside." 

The wheel direction moving clockwise requires the potter to use the dominant hand to focus on the interior surface of the pot. With all the attention there, the exterior line is second to the interior form, sometimes I refer to the inside as “the service end” or “the function of the vessel”.

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