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Kaname Takada Brings His Ceramic Work to His Fifth Columbus Arts Festival

By Nicholas Dekker, marketing, communications & events administrator for the Greater Columbus Arts Council

Kaname Takada is a ceramic artist living and working in Upper Arlington. He has appeared regularly at the Columbus Arts Festival, and will return for his fifth venture at this year’s Festival, June 7-9 on the downtown riverfront. We chatted with him about his inspirations and his processes.

Nick: How did you first get interested in your art form?
Kaname: Visiting my uncle’s studio who was a full-time potter in Japan got me into ceramics. It took around four or five hours by train, but I visited his studio whenever I could during high school. Even after I came to the U.S., I went to see him and his family every time I visited Japan. He was the most influential person who guided me to become who I am now.

Nick: How many years have you been selling your work at the Columbus Arts Festival?
Kaname: 2024 will be my fifth year participating in Columbus Arts Festival. I took part in the festival as a juror as well. My wife, Sumiko, also participated in the festival five times from 2012 to 2016.

Nick: What do you enjoy most about appearing at festivals in general?
Kaname: Meeting my customers in person, especially the returning customers. Interactions with them provide me with hints to make my pieces better, or on a few occasions led me to totally new bodies of work.

Nick: Do you have a favorite memory from the Columbus Arts Festival?
Kaname: My being local and having taught at Columbus College of Art & Design since 1992, it’s a joy to see current and former students of mine as well as my classmates, colleagues and friends.

Nick: What is your process for creating?
Kaname: Wheel throwing is my primary forming method. My decorative and functional work utilizes various slip and glaze decoration techniques on earthenware and stoneware. Designs are hand crafted first on greenware with colored slips and other decorative techniques, and then glaze fired to various temperatures depending on the clay body/glazes used.

Nick: What question do you get asked most often about your art, and how do you answer?
Kaname: I have been getting asked about the functionality/utility of my work most. Much of my functional stoneware work has openings/holes and I have been asked for the purpose of them often. Answering as they are for air circulation and water drainage seems to satisfy their curiosities. My earthenware work is decorative not functional, however. My explanation as such isn’t enough for some of those who ask the functionality of the pieces until they come up with their own ideas of how they can use them regardless of what I say.

Nick: What do you do to relax or unwind?
Kaname: I take rides on my bicycles whenever I can. Also, my main mode commuting to CCAD where I teach is cycling. I love my ride in the early morning’s crisp air as I usually arrive at the school around 6 o’clock in the morning.

Nick: What are some of your favorite things about Columbus?
Kaname: Metro Parks and trails. I have been cycling around Columbus for the past 20 or so years; I am happy to see the great expansion of trail system in Columbus and beyond. I use the Scioto Trail to commute and when I have a few hours of free time I hit the Camp Chase Trail.

See Takada and more than 250 artists – as well as artist demonstrations, multiple performance stages, hands-on activities, great food and drink – at the Columbus Arts Festival, June 7-9 on the downtown riverfront.

This article is part of a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council as part of the Art Makes Columbus campaign. Explore a calendar of events, public art database and artist stories at columbusmakesart.com. To learn more about GCAC grants visit gcac.org.

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