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Art in the Garden

Northern Lights: Ceramic Art of Hokkaido Revisited

Katomi /Studio Eye

Northern Lights: Ceramic Arts of Hokkaido Revisited follows up on an exhibition held at the Portland Japanese Garden a decade ago and celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Hokkaido Pottery Society. A long sister-city relationship between the Hokkaido Pottery Society and the Oregon Pottery Association has resulted in numerous reciprocal exhibitions, and the bonds between these potters continues to flourish.

The exhibition, co-curated by Sachiko Matsuyama, features the major work by 20 established Hokkaido artists of the Hokkaido Potters Society, with additional work by all 35 members and students represented. It is held in conjunction with the Year of Hokkaido at Portland Japanese Garden which commemorates the 60th anniversary of the sister-city relationship between Portland and Sapporo.

During the Meiji period (1868 – 1912), abundant land and government support prompted artisans including papermakers, silk farmers, and potters to flock to Hokkaido from around the country. Almost all the existing kilns in Hokkaido were established following WWII. There are more than 400 potters in Hokkaido today, most of them working as individual artists.