An Interview with Dawn of Tagawa Pottery
When did you first start your craft?
Officially I began creating pottery for sale in 2001. I took classes in high school and later at the Cultural Center in Greensboro while working in Advertising.
How did you discover your talent?
In high school I remember my teacher asking if I would help a fellow student on the wheel and I was amazed. I loved making a bowl or whatever at the time, but I think that’s when I realized "Hey, maybe I'm good at this?!"
How did Tagawa Collection come about? The name is pretty cool, what made you decide on this?
Tagawa is my family name. In Japanese it translates to “field” and “stream” or loosely “river farmer” which to me is very appropriate as earth and water are the two main elements of pottery. I chose "collection" in case I ever wanted to expand beyond pottery as I love photography & painting as well.
What drives you to create?
I LOVE opening the kiln! Every once in a while everything will just come together to form this beautiful piece of pottery and to me that is just magical.
How do you get inspired?
Sometimes I look through photos of my past work. Sometimes I sit and sketch. Taking little trips, even if directly unrelated to art seem to help return to the studio with a fresh perspective. Also, I've been very lucky to visit the Met a couple times in the last year and the pottery section in the Americas is very inspiring!
How would you describe your style?
That’s a tough one! I’d like to say “organic” but that word is over-used. I love color and I do a lot of nature, beach & sea life carvings so I would say “fun, colorful pottery in the spirit of the earth”.
What is your favorite part about your creative process?
Carving. Technically I believe it’s called piercing. That is my absolute favorite. Everything I do is completely free-hand carved. I am asked this all the time so I would like to emphasize I work using my trusty X-acto without the use of patterns or stencils!
What are your favorite items?
My staples that I use daily are my colander to keep fresh fruit, a celadon leaf lidded luminary to burn a candle on the deck, my yellow hibiscus luminary in the bathroom for our toothbrushes and of course, my cattail coffee mug (black with honey)! :)
What environment do you like to work in?
There’s an ebb and flow to everything. I think I work best in solitude. I used to work in a shop with a lot of commotion. I always had a great time but I feel now that I do work alone I’m more easily able to get in the creative zone. However, I wouldn't mind finding a co-op or somewhere similar to work in occasionally.
Do you listen to music while you work, and if so what do you listen to?
I listen to music while I glaze & I listen to podcasts while I carve. I love to listen to anything funny like “Car Talk”, “Wait, Wait”, & “Stop Podcasting Yourself” to name a few. “Freakonomics” is great, those guys are so smart and I love their dialogue. With music it’s generally my Jack Johnson station on Pandora.
How much time do you spend in the studio?
I have the sweetest little cutie-pie who just turned three. I work before he wakes up in the morning and during naptime. So I'm a part-time potter, full-time mom for sure! :)
Who are some of your biggest influences, artistically or personally?
My Grandmother. She dabbled in all sorts of artsy ventures and was a supporter of the arts. She had beautiful pieces that she passed down to her grandchildren. I was always very impressed by a porcelain piece made by Hiroshi Seuyoshi who is now resident potter at Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, NC. I describe my favorite piece of his in the Tagawa Pottery “Welcome” section on Etsy.
What are you currently working on?
My focus these last few months have been special orders. I have been stacked up, which is fantastic!!
What are your plans for the near future?
Saturday August 24th I'm participating in the Lazy Daze Arts & Crafts festival in Cary, NC. This is always a fun, big show so I work towards that for several months prior.
This is totally indirect but I love Andy Warhol’s famous quote, “Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”
Who would play you in the movie version of your life?
Man, that’s something I've never ever thought about in my whole life! Mila Kunis, she seems fun and a little quirky – and gorgeous so that would be totally flattering.
Describe your work in three words.
Bright, light & fun.