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Tradition and Beyond

  • Japanese Friendship Garden 2215 Pan American Road E San Diego, CA 92101 (map)

Live Demonstration @ JFG | Sunday, March 10 @ 2:30 PM
Join potters Minako Yamane Lee, David Cuzick, and Ellen Fager as they demonstrate a variety of hand-building and forming techniques in the Activity Room at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Demonstration is free with admission into the Japanese Friendship Garden.

The Japanese Friendship Garden presents five San Diego potters who have built their own distinctive styles and practices in continuing dialogue with the traditional ceramic arts of Japan. Throughout their careers, they have borrowed forms, techniques and glazes, and drawn inspiration from the characteristically Japanese embrace of accident and imperfection. Longtime friends and colleagues, between them they have spent two centuries working, studying and experimenting with the humble, changeable, frustrating and endlessly seductive medium that is clay.

All five potters are members of the San Diego Potters’ Guild and of the Allied Craftsmen of San Diego.

Minako Yamane Lee was born and raised in Japan, but only started working in clay after she came to the United States as an adult. Her work is filled with references to traditional Japanese domestic artifacts, architectural elements and representations of the natural world, all refracted through an aesthetic that is unmistakably her own.

Dot Kimura grew up in Hawaii, surrounded by lava formations and green river valleys carved by abundant water. In her work she creates surfaces that mimic geological processes, the weathering of stone, the encrustations that develop on objects in the ocean. The Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi, imperfection and impermanence, is central to her work.

David Cuzick combines superlative technical skills with wide-ranging interests, from unassuming traditional Japanese storage jars to early 20th century American Art Pottery. He often fires his work in a soda kiln into which chemicals are sprayed at high temperature to form variably glazed surfaces reminiscent of the ash deposits on wares from Shigaraki and Bizen.

Julie Thompson makes pots for use, layered in a profusion of luscious multicolored glazes. She draws inspiration from Japanese textiles, and from the historical stoneware and porcelain traditions of China and Japan, applying ancient celadon, temmoku, underglazes and overglazes in ways that are completely contemporary.

Ellen Fager paddles, hammers, cuts and pastes components thrown on the potter’s wheel to achieve pots that are asymmetrical and dynamic. She favors glazes like the American variants on shino that crack and crawl and develop color unpredictably in response to their experiences inside the kiln.

February 1, 2019 –April 28, 2019
Exhibition Hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
JFG General Admission Fee … $12.00
Students, seniors, active-duty military … $10.00

Opening Reception: February 1 | 4:30 – 6:30 pm | Exhibition Hall
$5 admission Includes JFG entrance fee. RSVP required.

Contact info: Emiko Scudder (619) 232-2784 or

Earlier Event: February 1
Rocco's Amazing Space
Later Event: May 3
First Sight Kyoto, Ichigo Ichie