Colors reminiscent of Southern Europe Shiho Tanaka

Shiho Tanaka's works are full of attractive works that attract the hearts of those who see them with delicate and soft curves created with a potter's wheel and flowers drawn in a relaxed manner. We visited the workshop of Ms. Tanaka , who studied art and pottery in Italy and is currently making pottery in Toki City, Gifu Prefecture .

Shiho Tanaka's container mail order

“When I was working, I wanted to go to the East Coast of the United States to study art, so I was preparing for it. When it was closed, my best friend who was in Italy couldn't stand it and asked me if I could come and relax for a while because one of my roommates had just moved out .

Her first impression of Italy was, "For the time being, it's a very strange place!" In Japan, "weird" and "weirdo" are not often used as compliments, but in other countries it is considered good to have "individuality", so the meaning is slightly different. In that sense, Ms. Tanaka fell in love with the “weird” charm of Italy.

“Buildings, Italian people, lifestyles, etc. Everything is different from Japan, so I decided to study here,” says Tanaka. His personality and gentle atmosphere are the very image of the work. But when I hear the story, I feel a very strong sensitivity and will.

Florence, Italy, is known as a city of leather and metal engraving, so at first he thought of learning metal engraving, but he thought that detailed work was not for her, so she decided to pursue the path of pottery, which he was interested in. will be It seems that the pottery he saw in the same Spanish area (Latin) Mexico, which he visited before, remained in her heart.

Ms. Tanaka is actually not good at painting. "Painting is the basis of everything, so no matter how good you are at the potter's wheel, you won't be able to do what you want unless you have a certain level of other skills." At first, she was reluctant, but now very grateful.

I studied pottery at an art school for four and a half years, but if I were to do pottery in Tuscany, where I was living at the time, it would be Montelupo, so I wanted to learn the potter’s wheel there. "Why are you becoming a tea bowl maker?" I think that was the reaction because in Italy the position of craftsman and artist is completely different."

The National Montelupo Pottery Vocational Training School is a craft school located about 30 minutes by train from Florence. At the time, Italy was in the midst of a recession. It was a time when the government-funded national schools stopped accepting new applications. In the end, Mr. Tanaka waited for three and a half years in Italy to get into the school he had always dreamed of!

“I was looking forward to it for a long time, so while I was waiting, I almost got a job, but I was frustrated because of visa issues. However, I got into Montelupo. At school, I was just doing the assignments given by the teacher. The training in pulling a long object made me the best on the potter's wheel. In order to be able to do simple things, only the typical Italian jar Albarello (traditional medicine jar with a lid) was made. It seems that young Italians thought it was old-fashioned and boring. , I liked Albarello and was single-mindedly wanting to get better,” says Tanaka.

The recession in Italy continued while I was still in school, there were no new student recruitments, and the factories where most of our graduates found employment were going out of business. It seems that the principal of Montelupo asked professionals such as accountants and lawyers to incorporate legal classes so that the students could start their own businesses and make a living. Ms. Tanaka said that he was a respected principal who thought about the students and wanted them to become independent, even though it would be easier to protect themselves. After graduating, I decided to create and sell my own works together with an Italian woman I know.

Shiho Tanaka mail order

“It was a very good experience. However, foreigners are not allowed to stand in front of the store without permission, but no matter how long I wait, there is no response at all, which is strange."

Finally this is too late even in Italy! When I questioned him, it turned out that he had deliberately not submitted the application documents. I found out that she was trying to sell her own work to customers who came looking for Tanaka's products.

“I was really shocked. But there were people who told me that it was strange, and my classmates in Montelupo supported me like sisters.

During my stay in Italy, I had many experiences and encounters, but after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, I decided to return to Japan. I want to be in Japan! It seems that I strongly thought. The owner was also living in Hong Kong at the time, so I remember feeling the same when I saw the video of Japan collapsing.

After returning to Japan, she completed the design course at the Aichi Prefectural Ceramics Technical College, and is currently making pottery in Toki, Gifu Prefecture.

Shiho Tanaka's workshop
The soil is porcelain soil from Seto. Both semi-porcelain (Seto Intrusion Clay) and porcelain (Seto Porcelain Clay) are used. Lime matte glaze is applied, and although some items are intrusive, silicone is applied to prevent stains.

Nakabachi by Shiho Tanaka
Shiho Tanaka's pottery sales

I paint in a free style, so no two are the same. With the motif of majolica, a traditional Italian pottery, the gentle and soft brushwork and vivid colors of the painting are impressive, but as I mentioned in the previous section, Mr. Tanaka says that he is not very good at painting even now. About. That's why the process was said to take time.

This piece was named ghirlanda di fiori (flower crown) by an Italian friend. What a lovely name!

Flower crown small plate by Shiho Tanaka

A salt and pepper shaker that was very popular in Italian shops

Shiho Tanaka's salt and pepper mail order

In addition, although the work is made of porcelain or semi-porcelain, it is thinly drawn on the potter's wheel, so we do not recommend using a microwave oven or dishwasher.

When he first came back to Japan, he wanted to make something that was somewhere between Japan and Italy. But now, because of the coronavirus, I spend a lot of time thinking about my friends in Italy, and he said that the work might be coming to Italy.

Shiho Tanaka's flower mail order
Online sales of Shiho Tanaka's vases

Above all, she loves to play on the potter's wheel, and when he talks about it, I can feel his excitement. When she uses the potter's wheel, she keeps in mind the words of Montelupo's former teacher, "Feel the harmony." There are still many things that cannot be done properly, but I am sure that Ms. Tanaka will continue to create wonderful works that can only be expressed by Ms. Tanaka, aiming for the beautiful shape inherited from her teacher. 

Click here for Shiho Tanaka's work
Mail order of Shiho Tanaka

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