The International School of the Sacred Heart
4-3-1 Hiroo, Shibuya Ku, Tel. 3400 3951
An exhibition of pottery made by British ceramicist and educator Steve Tootell. The proceeds will go directly to a project led by Peace Corp worker Keri McGeehan; the building of an arts facility at the Zion Secondary School, Old Tafo Village in Ghana, Africa.
The Exhibition Dates
September 1st -15th 8am-5pm Mon-Fri, closed Sat and Sunday
About the Ceramics
The ceramics on show represent the fruition of nine months making (wheel thrown and modified wares) and meticulous planning culminating in the firing of a traditional wood burning kiln in Mashiko (the potting town made world famous by Hamada and Leach). An international cast of potters alongside local Mashiko master potters were willing team members in support of this tremendous project. The firing of the giant two chambered kiln, called an “Anagama”, took six days of continual stoking with local pine logs and a further week to cool.
Within this furnace the intense temperatures, clouds of ash amid a
tempest of rushing air and billowing smoke have worked their magic to leave a stunning array of surfaces. Subtle ash glazes, muted iron brown and green hues are against clay textures resplendent from the effects of the flame and dotted with fine golden traces left by old tatami mat reeds packed around the wares.
On show are 1000 pieces ranging from small bowls and sake bottles to
large water style pots and table centrepiece platters. Each piece is a
unique treasure that will bring pleasure every time it is used, daily or
for special occasions.
"It was the biggest and most rewarding project of my life. As an educator,it was personally satisfying to be able to enrich not only the lives of those who took part in the project but also the lives of future students in Old Tafo, Ghana" -Steve Tootell
About the art school in Ghana
Construction has already begun to build the facility that will house three classrooms catering for 150 students. Traditional arts and crafts such as Batik, textiles, ceramics and basketry will be fostered alongside teaching design and general knowledge. The project has the full support of the school head and parents who are committed to its success and sustainability and also continuing assistance from the Peace Corp.
"I have come to understand the importance of education as a means to raise individual self actualisation and potential standard of living, and the
needs for local grassroots initiatives that could effect such change"- Keri McGeehan
Long time Head of Arts at the International School of the Sacred Heart ,Tootell has combined teaching ceramics with organising international ceramic workshops in Tokyo and Mashiko. He regularly exhibits work in aid of charities working in Vietnam, the homeless in Shinjuku and others and still finds time to play as a musician.
Twenty five year old Peace Corp volunteer and a graduate of The International School of the Sacred Heart, McGeehan has been teaching art at the Zion Secondary School for over a year and has personally initiated this project in response to her experiences there .
Written by Catherine Tajima Powell