The Journey to Japan: with Sofie Neuendorf

by Jayde Gibbards

 

In light of our brand new, Japanese-inspired pottery workshops, we wanted to share the inspiration behind it all. So what sparked this cool idea? We sat down with our beloved pottery teacher, Sofie Neuendorf, to chat to us about her upcoming trip to Japan that started it all. 

 

Sofie Neuendorf has dedicated years of learning, honing in on her craft and expanding her skills and knowledge in the art of ceramics. Graduating with a degree in Fine Arts, she started her ceramics business in 2014, Lunio by Sofie, and has delved into various mentoring opportunities, including her three month artist residency in Onishi, Japan back in 2022. Next month, Sofie prepares to set out for another adventure to Japan to continue to deepen her craft. 

 

 

Q: So, tell us about your upcoming trip to Japan! What sparked this idea, and who's tagging along?

At the end of 2022, I spent three months living in Japan. During this time, I embarked on a wood firing artist residency while also connecting with other potters.

Since returning to Australia, I have longed to share those experiences with others. That is why I organised a trip for seven fellow potters to participate in a wood firing in Tamba-Sasayama. Some of the staff from Stone Studio are joining the trip, along with others from the broader Northern Rivers clay community.



Q: What do you have planned for this trip? What are you hoping to get out of it?

The group will spend two and a half weeks with a potter staying on-site, where he has his studio, small gallery and two wood kilns. During this time, we will make work, load the kiln and fire for around three days. We will also take some side trips to Kyoto and two Ancient Kiln towns, Shigaraki and Tamba, (these towns are designated with this title as pottery has been continuously made there for at least 1000 years).

 

I'm excited to share my love of Japanese ceramics with the group while also using this time as an opportunity to develop my ceramic practice.

 

 

Q: What are you most looking forward to on this trip?

For me, it will be spending time with potter friends and immersing myself in ceramics day in and day out, for several weeks. And of course, eating all the Japanese food that I can!

 

 

Q: Your ceramic style is heavily influenced by Japanese culture, what about it inspires you?

The Japanese dedication to craft and the continued history for millennia is fascinating to me. I so deeply respect Japanese craftspeople, their attention to detail and their desire to excel at what they do. There is that continued history, yet the great makers push these boundaries to further their skills and work. Japan is one of the first homes of wood fired ceramics as we know it today. This is a particular interest of mine that I have been educating myself on for the past several years.

 

 

 Q: What excites you the most about our Autumn workshops?

I have a special place in my heart for the Kurinuki technique. It's quite different to many of the other ways you can create work out of clay. I'm excited to learn more about its origins and the variety of approaches people have when using it while in Japan.

 

Join us as we capture the essence of Japan in our special beginner pottery classes. You can find these limited workshops here. 

 

 

  

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