Special Spotlight Insert
instructor fires up art students
Hikidashi style explored
Japan, Michael Ceschiat wrapped wet towels around his face before
pulling pots and ceramic pieces from the kiln. At UNM-Valencia,
he wears a welding helmet and firemans suit. Even with
that, the heat from a hikidashi firing (2200+ 0 F) is extreme.
who received his MFA at UNM, has been exploring new methods
and uses of a 16th Century Japanese kiln firing technique, hikidashi,
for the past few years. He spent several years in Japan
and keeps returning to further explore this old technique.
He is one of an elite group of artists using it.
Japan they like to take an old technique, revitalize it and
make it new, he said. He and a few friends learned the
technique from a Japanese master and have been exploring its
Ceschiat said he keeps in constant touch, via the Internet,
with his friends who are still in Japan.
Black, whom Ceschiat met as an undergraduate at the Columbus
College of Art and Design, and Aaron Scythe, from New Zealand,
are currently the only artists traveling to Japan to explore
styles are so completely different and yet you can see the connection
in our pieces, Ceschiat said.
believes he, and a few of his students at UNM-Valencia, are
the only artists working with hikidashi in the United States.
means to open drawer and remove. In 16th Century
Japanese Mino kilns, the artist used to place tea bowls near
the spy holes of the kilns. The bowls would be plucked out at
the height of the firing to gauge if the kiln had reached the
mature temperature. Hikidashi is a rapid firing process, a cone
9 (roughly 23700 F), that is followed by a rapid cooling of
the ware by air or by submersion in water or rice husks.
in this glazing process is demarcations that occur because of
rapid, intense heat followed by the quick cooling. The firing
process can be as much as 400 degrees higher than other processes.
artist, Ceschiat is a part-time instructor at UNM-Valencia,
where he has taught since graduating from UNM in 1996.
shown his work extensively throughout the Southwest, and has
had two solo exhibits in Japan his latest last summer.
and his friends are convinced that their approaches to hikidashi
are innovative in the ceramics world.
Japanese talk of finding the imperfection within the perfection
when that happens, you have created art.
ceramics, it is important to merge both concept and technique,
Ceschiat explained. It takes something like hikidashi
to achieve that.
of hikidashi, and some hard-working students, Ceschiat is sure
that the ceramics program at UNM-Valencia will soon be known
for this innovative technique and a connection to Japan.