Connie Norman
Connie Norman

Posts Tagged ‘Yoko Sekino Bove’

Western Table Manners – NCECA Houston

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

NCECA is coming up FAST!  I’m having a really hard time keeping up!  Mike Olson and I coordinated a group show for NCECA of mostly western ceramic artists.  Our show is called Western Table Manners, and it’s all over the table in what will be in the show.

Houston Community College – South East

6815 Rustic

Houston, Texas

 I will post pictures when I get to NCECA, but for now, here is the PR that the HCC put out for all the shows that are going on at the college.

Here is a list of who’s in our show. 

Kurt Anderson

Elaine DeBuhr

Danny Brown

Rod Dugal

Lynn Munns

Connie Norman

Ryan Olsen

Mike Olson

Lisa Pedolsky

Yoko Sekino-Bove

Ted Vogel

Below you can see a list of all the shows at Houston Community College – Southeast

Congratulations to Yoko Sekino-Bove and Kip O’Krongly

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Ceramics Monthly just announced the Emerging Artists for this year!  And two of the 15 have been featured on this blog!!  Check out all the winners, tons of amazing work to feast the eyes. You can cast your vote for your favorite.  I think it will be a really hard choice. 

Read Kip O’Krongly’s interview here.


 Read Yoko Sekino-Bove’s interview here.

Yoko Sekino-Bove’s Workshop!

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011


Yoko’s Sekino-Bove’s workshop at Plinth Gallery was amazing.  Her generosity was incredible.  It was great learning all her “Japanese, Korean and Chinese Pottery” secrets.  She told all!  Yoko has a grand sense of humor and we were laughing the entire workshop.  I know we all loved it!  If you ever have a chance to take a workshop from Yoko, do it!!!  I really loved her work before and then during the workshop, I really fell in LOVE.  She can paint and draw like nobody’s business!  Wow! Thank you Yoko for everything!!

Plinth Gallery really treated us right for the workshop, they catered a lunch for us from Fuel Café again and it was delicious.

The only thing now, I wish I hadn’t gone to Yoko’s workshop because… show and workshop is next.  Yoko really set the bar high; I don’t know if I can live up to what she did.  Now, I’m really nervous.

Well, here is Yoko’s workshop…..

After the workshop we made origami cranes  for OshKosh B’Gosh, they are donating to the children of Japan, an article of clothing for every crane that they collect.

Yoko Sekino-Bove–Plinth Gallery Artist Interview

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011


  Plinth Gallery introduces the fine porcelain of Yoko Sekino-Bove in her exhibition, “Fragile Immortality”.  Yoko’s colorful drawings and delicate carvings illuminate the graceful porcelain forms that are somewhat reminiscent of historical Asian exports.  Yoko, originally from Osaka, Japan, entwines surface designs of plants and wildlife, with practical forms to create a story and an identity. –Jonathan Kaplan

 Yoko will be giving a workshop at Plinth Gallery on Saturday April 2, Yoko Sekino-Bove will demonstrate decoration techniques including sgraffito, carving, stamping, and a variety of glaze painting, as well as wet clay surface techniques such as mishima and slip painting.  Students who participate in this workshop will make a variety of clay stamps to use on their own work.  Cost for this workshop is $85 which includes lunch. Space is limited to 20 students and advance registration and payment will guarantee a space. Please contact Plinth Gallery (303) 295-0717 or for additional information and to register.

A portion of all Gallery sales made during Yoko Sekino-Bove’s exhibition will be donated to The Mashiko Potter’s Fund, to assist ceramic artists in the Mashiko region of Japan who have been impacted by the recent earthquake.  We extend our sincere appreciation to Plinth Gallery artists who have agreed to participate in this effort, and we thank everyone for your support.

Reception with the Artist –First Friday, April 1st, 6 – 9pm  also open Second Saturday, April 9, 2011  noon-9pm

For more information go to Plinth Gallery. 


Tell us a little about yourself!

I came to the United States sixteen years ago, following a boy I was in love at that time. Though the love part didn’t work out, I found life in the States exciting and decided to stay here. Since then, it has been a great adventure with lots of ups and downs. I now live in a small town in Pennsylvania with my husband and a black cat (she is also a survivor), making ceramic pieces in my home studio. Life is full of surprises.


How did you become an artist?

My first college degree was in graphic design and I took pride in being a graphic designer until computer technology hijacked the art and craft of graphic design. While being frustrated by the transition in the design industries, ceramic classes in a community college comforted and reminded me the joy of creating work with my own hands. It was a giant leap to apply to a graduate school for Ceramics, but ironically the money I saved up from the design job supported me and allowed me to survive the toughest years. After my graduation, I spent a year as an artist-in-residence at the Armory Art Center in Florida. I have been a full-time studio artist since then.


How would you describe your style? One of the hardest things for artists to do is to stand apart from everyone else. How long did it take you to come up with your own style and signature look?

I believe it’s a great privilege to create functional work for people to use at their home. Because my work will be a part of their daily life and become a part of them in that way, I want to create something personal and honest for them. So each of my work has a story to tell, whether people can understand the story in the imagery or not. It is my hope that people can feel the whispers behind the pieces.

I use the sgraffito technique a great deal in my work. The sgraffito technique (applying black underglaze painting, then scratching the details off on the wet clay surface) was passed along to me by a friend in a ceramic class at a community college in Los Angeles about fifteen years ago. The technique offers endless possibilities, and a fond memory of wonderful friends in those classes.


What is your inspiration for your pieces?

Stories about nature, myth, people, and everything else. Usually the inspiration comes from a snippet of conversation, stories, news, interviews and other media. The plant and animal motifs are used as a metaphor, mainly because I don’t feel ready to use human figures (saving fun for later), sometimes suggestions work better than actual descriptions.

Once I was listening to the book on CD “Fruit Hunter” by Adam Leith Gollner, and it was so inspiring I had to make a teapot out of his descriptions of tropical fruits before the book ended. His writing about the people’s passion for exotic, goosy, fragrant, rare and forbidden fruits were so vivid, it was a fun challenge for myself.


What keeps you motivated?

There are so many interesting and exciting stories going around in this world, I have been having a hard time keeping up with them to create new work out of them. I want to share all the stories with people, in the form of ceramics.


Are you a full-time artist? How do you come up with your creations? Can you walk us through your creative process when dreaming up new pieces?

I have a part-time teaching job, but spend most of my time in my studio.

My process usually starts with a snippet of word or sentence from somewhere, for example from a radio, book or conversation with friends. The word jumps into my brain and starts whirling until I decide to give it a shape. Then I start looking for a good function, size, motif, and all the other details. When all the elements are combined in my head, I can start testing the possibilities with clay to actualize it. Usually it takes a few months from the word to the finished piece. So even though many of my ceramic work are functional, a concept comes first.


What or who inspires you?

My husband/metalsmith “Man-muse” Jim always provides inspirations.

Also in general, anything in my daily life can trigger my attentions as long as I keep my eyes and mind open. There are so many artists, scientists and scholars who have been challenging and expanding our horizon, successfully or not. At this point of my life, my interest goes to learning how they live/lived and what they make/made. I want to learn how their choices in their life altered or directed their work.


How do you maintain a healthy work and life balance?

According to my husband and friends, I am completely neglecting them and failing to maintain the healthy balance. I am terribly sorry. Making artwork takes time and there are many tests to be done even before creating something.

After the great earthquake in Japan, I have been talking to my pottery friends in Japan and one potter said that the disaster made her realize how precious and valuable her daily life is and how important for her to spend it with her family and friends. I should remind it to myself everyday.

YSBsekino bove birds

You, like most people enjoy the process of making and crafting and didn’t get into it for the sake of “business”. But eventually you found yourself having to make the transition from crafter to a businessperson. What have you learned so far and what advice can you give others in the same situation?

I think a big part of craft business is in the transition, from indoor/outdoor art fairs and shows with physical connections to more digital transactions and virtual shopping. As the economy shrunk in the last few years and the good old time-tested craft business methods are no longer reliable, it became clear that no one knows what will be the most successful art business format for the next decade.

My personal and heavily biased suggestion, especially for younger artists, would be to have a plan B or some other skills to support our life. There are so many young artists who have never considered having any other skills or degrees than visual art, it may be a good idea not to keep all the eggs in one art nest if you still have some time to learn. Not just for the financial reasons, but a real working experience may give us a wider view about the world and inspirations as well as an opportunity to learn about business management. More appreciation of the actual studio time would be a bonus.

And about where to learn the art of business, I highly recommend taking Thomas Mann’s “Design for Survival” workshop. He has a long, outstanding career as a craft artist and a business owner and the workshop covers the ins and outs of craft business, from studio safety codes to pricing methods, portfolio package preparation and personal consultations. He always adds more information about the newer digital technology and current issues, so I keep taking his workshop when I have a chance.

YSBsekino bove celadon loto

What advice can you give aspiring artists struggling to find their own voice and look?

It takes a long time to find our voices and I think it is important that we spend enough time to search and experiment. It’s frustrating, but the journey itself may be the answer. Many artists go through phases, and later on wonder why they made what they made. But at least to me, creating and completing the test pieces is a fun part and the best way to determine if the idea can survive in this world.

Having a good circle of friends and mentors helps artists greatly too. They don’t need to be an artist, but someone whose judgment you trust. They help you as a wall to bounce ideas off of, and as an evaluation board as well as cheerleaders and role models. Those friends are the first ones to see my new work and give me feedback, suggestions and honest critiques.

Also, sometimes I go back to an idea/method later, long after abandoning it initially. For that reason, I have a giant collection of sketchbooks from the last ten years, and go through them whenever I need a fresh idea. Not only sketches, but also comments, questions, print outs, a little bit of a diary, everything is packed in it like a time capsule. Good ideas tend to evaporate quickly; it’s better to write everything down for the future reference. You never know!

What I learned on the way was that setting your short-term and long-term goal is important to keep your emotions healthy. Comparing yourself with other artists and their successes are something that easily makes us vulnerable and scared, but it’s so hard to avoid, especially if you are still in your development stage and not sure about yourself, this could be really painful. When it happens to me, I just have to tell myself that I have my own goals to achieve; they are on the way, everything’s cool. Rejections will keep happening, but we can develop a way to accept it.

Artist statement for the Genuine Fake China Series

It has been sixteen years since I moved to the United States.

As I grow older and stopped caring all the small things I used to worry, translating one culture to other and uniting them within my limited vocabulary became my hobby.  Then I decided to take this approach to Ceramics. How can I create ceramic work that unite us, create a bridge, and serve us all? Can I create craftwork that offers hope to people? Hopefully and possibly in a subtle, personal way?

This series is my quiet resistant against the current political situation in our time, of isolation and confrontation. Seems like we can use more of those reminders about how similar we are now than ever by using small conversations instead of abstract fear and anger.

So my fake China teapots come with two sides: one in Chinese/Japanese proverb, another in English equivalent (or a saying that has the precisely same nuance). It is my attempt to construct a little shaky bridge over the gap and start conversations about so many profound ideas we share even in different languages and cultures. I hope this series of work will be a good reminder to everyone that no matter where the origin was, things that appeal to us will become universal eventually, if they have a good use. So please use my teapot to serve a cup of green tea, maybe from Starbucks.  


Thanks Yoko, I’m really looking forward to meeting you and taking your workshop!!