Akira Satake, a Japanese-born potter who wood-fires his ceramics, is coming to Arkansas to speak to the Friends of Contemporary Craft and others about his work on Sunday, March 10, at the Arkansas Arts Center. The “FOCC Conversation” starts at 5 p.m.; a reception will follow.

Here’s what Satake, whose work is in the collections of the Mint Museum in Charlotte, N.C. (headed up by former AAC Director Todd Herman), and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., says about working with clay:


For me, the act of creation is a collaboration between myself, the clay and the fire. Collaboration means finding what the clay wants to be and bringing out its beauty in the way that the beauty of our surroundings is created through natural forces. Undulations in sand that has been moved by the wind, rock formations caused by landslides, the crackle and patina in the wall of an old house; all these owe their special beauty to the random hand of Nature. The fire is the ultimate random part of the collaborative equation. I hope the fire will be my ally, but I know it will always transform the clay in ways I cannot anticipate.

That transformation, the clay’s contribution to the potter’s design, is surely what fires the love affair between maker and made, the equivalent of the painter’s pour.

Satake now lives in Swannanoa, N.C., and is the owner of Gallery Mugen in the River Arts District in Asheville, NC. He was featured in the PBS program “A Craftsman’s Legacy” in 2014.


The talk is free to FOCC members and students; $10 for nonmembers.