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Japanese wood firing ceramics with Masakazu Kusakabe

Japanese wood firing ceramics with Masakazu Kusakabe

Upcoming dates: 22 July 2017 – 28 July 2017

This is our special week to immerse in ceramics and Japanese culture. To work and learn with Sensei Masakazu Kusakabe is a privilege.

Getting to know the history of Japanese ceramics, the ash glazes, making tea bowls on the potter’s wheel or small sculptures from clay and deliver them to the power of the wood fire.

Yes, in this ARTIST WEEK you have also the opportunity to fire your art pieces in our SASUKENEI- SMOKELESS KILN, designed by Masakazu Kusakabe and built in Cerdeira in 2015.


The master dominates the fire and the art of wood firing like no one else due to almost 50 years of wood firing experience. Although in each firing he’s still looking for new challenges!

Beside his deep knowledge of ceramics and wood firing, Japanese ceramist Masakazu Kusakabe is a true master in every sense. His workshops are not limited to pottery, but also include other elements of Japanese culture, including tea ceremonies, sushi making, the “Wabi Sabi” philosophy, and music. In short, workshops with Masakazu Kusakabe are full days, complete with hard work, learning and exchange, that bring out the best of each one of us, as an artist and a human being.

Masakazu Kusakabe

Born in Miharu/Japan in 1946 where he still lives and works, his curriculum is filled with international exhibitions and with the implementation of a smokeless ceramic kiln, designed by him, all over the world.

In 2005, he published the book “Secrets of Japanese Ceramic Wood Fire” in collaboration with the ceramist Marc Lancet.

Japanese Wood Fire Ceramic

This is how Masakazu Kusakabe describes his work:

I always consider Japanese traditional culture when I do my work. The history of ceramics, the flow of change, and local specialities are also very important.

I use five principles when I work:

1. Having a “Friendly and Lovely” shape, welcoming shape and texture, when we look and touch. Accepting it like our beautiful body. Comfortable to touch or handle and its weight.

2. The shape of “Powerful and Wild Feelings”. The Kamakura era, Momoyama era and the Samurai spirits produce designs that are sharp, succinct and are powerful to touch, like a tool or a saber.

3. The materials of the earth, “Nature, Land, Mountains, and Rocks”, the feeling of time in nature through rocks, crystals and jewels.

4.The shape of “Historical feelings or ancestry” to sense the memories and the goodness of an old shape through the piece.

5. The feeling of a “Romantic and Fantastic” space, to feel the prose or poetry through the piece and observe the mysterious colours, shapes and materials.

For me the kiln is a part of the universe. Inside is the big bang where bright firelight, galaxies, and stars (my pieces) are born.

Firing is like the explosion of a volcano, and my pieces are like its lava rock. Pottery is like alchemy, we can create many jewels with clay, flames, and ash? I am the servant of a fire god.

Masakazu Kusakabe

 Total in private house: 1490 €
 Total in a twin room (private house): 990 €
 Total in shared accommodation in our residencies: 780 €
* If you bring companions, there is an additional cost of 380€ per adult and 250€ per child (only for accommodation and welcome dinner)

As well as the course, the following are included in the program:

ARTIST WEEK includes 25 hours of instructions and guided work. You will also have free access to the studios to keep working if you so desire. Portuguese and English are spoken on the course.

The price of ARTIST WEEK includes 6 nights of accommodation in Cerdeira with breakfast, 5 buffet lunches and a daily snack with fruit, coffee and tea. The welcome dinner and the dinner in Coimbra, as well as the Fado concert, are also included.

As well as the course, the following are included in the program:

– A guided walk in the hills to the neighbouring village of Candal. This was the path that the village children would once have taken to school. In Candal, next to a small pool, we will cool down and try a few regional delicacies as part of our picnic.

– A study visit to the historical part of Coimbra, rich in architectural and cultural sights, classified as World Heritage by UNESCO in 2013. We will walk through the narrow streets from the University to the lower part of the city, sit on the terrace of the historic Cafe Santa Crux, enjoy coffee and watch the world go by. We will visit the Machado and Castro museums, and then enjoy a delicious dinner in one of the city's historical taverns. At the end of the day we will attend a Fado concert. Fado was also classfied as Intangible World Heritage in 2011. Hearing Fado is a great way of finding out more about Portugal.

The groups are always small!

The basic materials for the course are also included. However, if you already have your preferred products or brands, feel free to bring them with you.