An American Potter in Japan
John Dix has spent the last 25 of his 35 year career in clay primarily in Japan. This has led to works that show a strong Japanese influence but still retain elements of his early training in the West.
In 1995, the day before the Kobe Earthquake, John met David Jack and Sachiko Matsunaga in the ancient pottery region of Japan called Tamba. David and Sachiko were starting a rural studies foundation, and with their support, John was able to build an anagama kiln. The place has developed into Fieldwork Japan, which has ceramic facilities for people to experience rural Japan through pottery. While John works as an independent potter, he also encourages people from all walks of life to join him at Fieldwork.
"The word that best describes my approach to clay is 'serendipity.' I'll have a starting point without a clear destination, a familiar path (constructing a teapot, a sake bottle, etc) which I always give myself permission to diverge from. This freedom brings freshness to the work, and has sustained my practice over the years. Firing with wood takes the idea of 'serendipity' to a higher level. I don't know of any other art form where chance plays such a pivotal role." -John Dix
Loading the kiln with glazed and unglazed pots takes 5 days. Over the course of the one-week firings, copious amounts of ash are produced, giving each piece its own unique character. John describes this process in the following words: "It is physically and mentally draining. Years and years went by before I even started to understand what was happening in the kiln." While he still occasionally defers to the gods of chance, he recognizes he has succeeded in wresting control of the process and mastering all aspects of his firing.
John regularly exhibits at galleries and department stores in Tokyo, Kansai (Osaka/kyoto/Kobe) and also in the U.S.