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Artist: Takuro Shibata

Takuro Shibata, NORTH CAROLINA
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Takuro is a ceramic artist originally from Japan, who currently resides in Seagrove, NC. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Applied Chemistry from Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. After graduating, he became an apprentice of a potter in Shigaraki, one of Japan's oldest pottery villages. In 2005, he accepted a position as the director of STARworks Ceramics and moved to NC, where he began researching local clays and established a local clay-making facility and studio at STARworks. Takuro and his wife, Hitomi, have also set up their own pottery studio and built wood kilns at home. He actively participates in exhibitions and events, and regularly gives lectures, demonstrations, and workshops. As both a ceramic artist and clay specialist, he has developed a national reputation and has been featured in various media, publications, and conferences both nationally and internationally. Additionally, Takuro is a member of the International Academy of Ceramics.


Artist statement

As a ceramic artist, I am drawn to the earthy and natural qualities of clay. I primarily work with local clay, which allows me to have a deep connection to the material and the earth from which it came. This wild clay is unrefined, and often contains impurities and irregularities that create a unique texture and character in my work. Working with this unpredictable material inspires me to be creative, and to find new ways to express myself through clay.

My work takes on a variety of forms, ranging from functional pottery to sculptural pieces. I am fascinated by the idea of creating objects that are both beautiful and functional, and that can be integrated into people's daily lives. At the same time, I am also interested in exploring the boundaries of what is considered functional, and in creating works that push the boundaries of what is possible with clay.

One of the aspects of working with clay that I find most inspiring is the way it reflects the flow of time. Clay is formed over thousands of years through the slow accumulation of minerals and sediment, and this sense of gradual, incremental change is reflected in the process of working with it. Whether I am shaping a pot on the wheel or building a sculpture by hand, the process is one of slow and deliberate evolution, with each step building upon the last. This creates a sense of continuity and connectedness between past, present, and future, and imbues the work with a sense of history and meaning.

In addition to working with local clay, I am also influenced by the traditional Japanese potters who use wood firing techniques in their work. Wood firing is a labor-intensive and time-consuming process, but it produces results that are impossible to achieve through other means. The use of a wood kiln creates a range of natural variations in the glazes and surfaces of the work, and the subtle nuances of color and texture that result are unique to each piece. This creates a sense of individuality and personality in the work that cannot be replicated through mass production.

The use of a wood kiln also creates a strong connection between the work and the natural world. The process of firing the kiln requires a large amount of wood, and the heat generated by the fire is used to transform the clay into ceramic. This creates a strong link between the work, the materials it is made from, and the environment that surrounds it. I find this connection to be incredibly powerful, and it has become an important part of my practice.

Overall, my work is inspired by a deep love and respect for the materials I use, and by the creative process itself. I am constantly inspired by the endless possibilities that clay offers, and by the way that it connects us to the natural world and to the flow of time. Through my work, I hope to create objects that are both beautiful and meaningful, and that invite the viewer to engage with them on multiple levels.


Professional Background

 Since 2005 - Present   Director of STARworks Ceramics, Star, NC

 2009   Built Anagama plus salt chamber wood kiln next to the studio in Seagrove, NC

 2008   Set up pottery studio in Seagrove, NC

 2004 - 2005   Ceramic Studio Technical Instructor, Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, Japan

 2003   Artist in Residence, Cub Creek Foundation for the Ceramics Arts, Appomattox, VA

 2002   Artist in Residence, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, New Bedford, MA

 2002   Artist in Residence, Peters Valley School of Crafts, Layton, NJ

 2001   Work Exchange Artist, Worcester Center for Crafts, Worcester, MA

 2000 - 2001   Research and production Assistant, Yuto Glaze Company, Shigaraki, Japan

 1999 - 2001   Studio Potter, Shigaraki, Japan

 1996 - 2000   Apprenticeship and Production Potter, Tanikan-Gama Pottery Company, Shigaraki, Japan

Academic Degree

 1992 - 1996  Bachelor of Engineering, Applied Chemistry, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan


 2019-Present A member of International Academy of Ceramics (IAC)

 2019-2020 North Carolina Potters Conference, Committee, Seagrove, North Carolina, USA

 2017-Present NCECA Member, USA

 2015-Present North Carolina Wood Fire Conference, Main Committee, Star, North Carolina, USA                       

 2008-Present Seagrove Area Potters Association (SAPA) Member, Seagrove, North Carolina, USA

Award/ Selected Exhibition

 2019 Received the First Place Award “Art of Clay National juried Exhibition” Juried by Doug Fitch, North Carolina Pottery Center, North Carolina, USA
2018 Juried Exhibition, “The Clay Studio National”, Juried by Beth Ann Gerstein, Executive Director of the American Museum of Ceramic Art, The Clay Studio, Pennsylvania, USA
2018 Juried Exhibition, “Small Favors”, The Clay Studio, Pennsylvania, USA
2017 The Cup Show: The Hudgens 2nd National Juried & Invitational Cup Exhibition, Georgia, USA
2016  Juried Exhibition, the 24th, Strictly Functional Pottery National, Pennsylvania, USA

 2000  Asahi Contemporary Crafts Awards, Osaka, Japan

 1999  Shigaraki Ceramic Award, Shigaraki, Shiga Japan

Judge, Juried, Curated the Exhibition

 2019 Juried  “Table Top Exhibition” The Art League, Alexandria, VA

 2022 Juried “ Tea bowl National Exhibition” KC clay guild, Kansas City, MO


 2022 “Wild Clay” by Matt Levy, Hitomi Shibata, Takuro Shibata, Bloomsbury Publishing, London, UK

 2020 “Then and Now” by Barbara Wiedemann, Published by NC Pottery Center, NC, USA

 2018 “Co-Lecture: Wild Clays Yesterday Tomorrow”, by Steven Blankenbeker, Takuro Shibata, NCECA Journal Volume 39, Colorado, USA

 2017 “Controlled Burn” by Barbara Wiedemann, Published by NC Pottery Center, NC, USA 

 2017 “Working Potters” Ceramics Monthly, Jun-August Issue. Ohio, USA 

 2003 “Cub Creek Workshop at Longwood University with Takuro and Hitomi Shibata” by Randy Edmonson, Studio Potter Network, USA 

Public Collection

 2003   Richmond University, Richmond, VA, USA

 2003   Longwood Center for the Visual Arts, Farmville, VA, USA

Ceramic Workshop and Lecture


 2022 NC State University, School of architecture, a lecture with Hitomi Shibata and Takuro Shibata, , Raleigh, NC

 2022 South Carolina Clay Conference 2022, a presenter, Newberry, SC

 2022 THE BASCOM, Co-Workshop, Highlands, NC

 2022 Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Co-workshop with Hitomi Shibata, Deer Isle, ME

 2022 Wood fire NC conference, Organizer, Panelist, STARworks, Star, NC

 2022 Wood Fire NC pre-conference, Seagrove, NC

 2022 NCECA Sacramento, “Clay Doctors”with Josh Deweese, Link Henderson and Takuro Shibata, Sacramento, CA

 2022 NCECA Sacramento, panel discussion, Explorations In Art and Material Science, Sacramento, CA

 2022 Georgian Ceramics Artists, Online Lecture, Echoes in Clay project, Georgia, the country

 2022 Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Presenter, Virtual demonstration, Deer Isle, ME

 2021 THE BASCOM, The Three Potters Symposium , Presenter, Highlands, NC

 2021 Presenter, Functional Ceramics Workshop, Ohio Designer Craftsmen, Columbus, Ohio

 2020 Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, Lecture and Panel Discussion , Shigaraki Japan

 2019 Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC / Co-Workshop with Hitomi Shibata

 2019 The Art League, Alexandria, VA / Co-Workshop with Hitomi Shibata

 2019 Carolina Clay Guild, Greensboro, NC/ Co-lecture with Hitomi Shibata

 2018 James Madison University, Co-Workshop with Hitomi Shibata, Virginia, USA

 2018 NCECA /Co-Lecture with Steven Blnakenbeker “Wild Clay Yesterday and Tomorrow” Pennsylvania USA

 2017 North Carolina State University Craft Center/ Lecture and Demonstration, North Carolina, USA

 2017 Art Alliance in Greensboro / Workshop and slide presentation, North Carolina, USA

 2017 Peter’s Valley School of Crafts / Workshop and Slide Presentation, New Jersey, USA

 2017 NC Wood Fire Conference / Presenter in Panel discussion, North Carolina, USA

 2015 North Carolina Potter’s Pre-Conference / Lecture, North Carolina, USA

 2015 University of North Carolina Chapel Hill / Lecture, North Carolina, USA

 2008 Penland School of Craft/ Slide Presentation, North Carolina, USA

 2007 East Carolina University/ Workshop and Slide Presentation, North Carolina, USA

 2006 Cornell University/ Workshop and Slide Presentation, New York, USA

 2003 Longwood University/ Workshop and Slide Presentation, Virginia, USA

 2003 University of Richmond/ Slide Presentation, Virginia, USA

 2003 Longwood Center for the Visual Arts/ Workshop, Virginia, USA

 2003 Cub Creek Foundation for the Ceramic Arts/ Workshop , Virginia, USA

 2002 Longwood University / Workshop and Slide Presentation, Virginia, USA

Exhibition Record

 2023 Wild Clay, Studio Touya Solo Show, Schaller Gallery, Baroda, MI

 2023 “COLLABORATION IN CRAFT”, Green Hill Center for NC Art, Greensboro, NC

 2023 The Luner Project, curated by Adam Chau, Baltimore clayworks, Baltimore, MD

 2022 Woodfire NC Conference Exhibition, Star, NC 

 2022 NCECA Sacramento “Sown” Exhibition, Sacramento CA

 2021 “47th Annual Pottery Show”, The Art School at Old Church in Demarest, NJ

 2021 “Pottery on the Hill” Hill Center, Washington DC

 2021 “Fluid Expression” Red Lodge Clay Center, Red Lodge, MO

 2021 “Annual Pottery Invitational” Worcester Center for Craft, Worcester, MA

 2021 “Functional Ceramics Exhibition” Ohio Craft Museum, Columbus Ohio

 2020 “46th Annual Pottery Show”, The Art School at Old Church in Demarest, NJ

 2020 “Americano” Clay Akar, Iowa City, IA

 2020 “Pottery on the Hill” Hill Center, Washington DC

 2020 “Spruce Pine Pottery Show” Spruce Pine, NC, Online

 2020 “CubCreek: Twenty years together” The Branch Museum, Richmond, VA

 2019 “Then and Now, Woodfire pottery Exhibition” NC Pottery Center, Seagrove, NC

 2019 “Pottery On the Hill Fredericksburg” LibertyTown Arts, Fredericksburg, VA

 2019 “The 13th Yunomi Invitational” Clay Akar, Iowa City, IA

 2019 “45th Annual Pottery Show”, The Art School at Old Church in Demarest, NJ

 2019 “Pottery on the Hill” Hill Center, Washington DC

 2019 “Sake Vessel Exhibition” The Stratford Gallery, Stratford on Avon, Warwickshire, UK

 2019 “CubCreek Show” Hood Collage, Whitaker Gallery, Frederick, MD

 2019 “Madison County Potters Market”, Marshall, NC

 2019 “Everyday Ordinary: Art of the People is an exhibition held at the NCECA in Minneapolis, MN

 2019 “Functional Ceramics 2019” Wayne Center for the Arts, Wooster, OH

 2019 “Evolution: Seagrove Pottery” February 1 – April 14, 2019. GreenHill Gallery, Greensboro, NC

 2018 “44th Annual Pottery Show”, The Art School at Old Church in Demarest, New Jersey, USA

 2018 “Wild Collaborations” The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

 2018 “Intercultural Connection” NCECA Exhibition, Pennsylvania, USA

 2018 “Exquisite Form” Charlie Cummings Gallery, Florida, USA

 2017 “Spectra: A Survey of American Wood Fired Ceramics” Morean Center for Clay, Florida, USA

 2017 “Making Matters”, Peter’s Valley School of Crafts Gallery, New Jersey, USA

 2017 “Wild clay :The Story of NC Clay”, STARworks, North Carolina, USA

 2017 “Confluence”, NC Wood Fire Conference, STARworks, North Carolina, USA

 2017 “Shaping a New South”, the Hudgens Art Center Georgia, USA

 2017 “New Times Three”, Blue Spiral1, North Carolina, USA

 2016 “Studio Touya”, Ackland Museum Store, North Carolina, USA

 2016 “John Jessiman—A Life in Clay”, Atrium Gallery, Ball State University, Indiana, USA

 2015 “Wild clay: The Story of NC Clay”, North Carolina Pottery Center, Seagrove, NC USA

 2015 “The 5th the Community College of Rhode Island invitational”, Warwick Museum of Art, RI, USA

 2015 “Quiet Inspiration, Japanese Influence on NC Potters”, NC Pottery Center, NC, USA

 2014 “Ceramicists of Seagrove, NC” East Tennessee State University, Tennessee, USA

 2013 “Connection” Meredith College, North Carolina, USA

 2011 “Winter Exhibition: Hard and Soft”, Japan Center, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA

 2010 “Cub Creek Show” Coe College, Iowa, USA

 2010 “DIRECTion Native Clay” Meredith College, North Carolina, USA

 2009 “Asian Ceramics Trunk Show” Freer Gallery in Smithsonian’s Museum , Washington DC, USA

 2007 “Three Japanese Wood-Firers” Harlequin Gallery, London, UK

 2006 “Mixed Teabowls Exhibition” Harlequin Gallery, London, UK

 2005 “Teabowls &Yunomis” Harlequin Gallery, London, UK

 2004 “Teabowls &Yunomis” Harlequin Gallery, London, UK

 2002 “Anagama Fired” Harlequin Gallery, London, UK

 2001 “Foot” Gallery Gloss & Coffee, Okayama, Japan

 2000 “Pots in Autumn” Gallery Toumu, Shigaraki, Shiga, Japan

 1999 “UTAGE” Tanikan-gama Gallery, Shigaraki, Shiga Japan

 1999 “Wave&Wave” Dento-sangyou-kaikan Gallery, Shigaraki, Shiga Japan

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