How working in miniature helps Japanese potter Yuta Segawa create

Staying at home in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis have you feeling like your inventive spark is snuffed out? Now's the time to ignite your inspiration: here's an excerpt from our bestselling title, Tom Morris' New Wave Clayabout potter Yuta Segawa.

When you hear Yuta Segawa explain why, it makes perfect sense that he makes pots rarely bigger than three centimeters tall. ‘What appeals the most to me with ceramics is the combination of form, glazing and texture,’ the London-based potter reasons. ‘Miniature pieces are usually enough to express these elements. And since it takes less time to make small pieces, it allows me more time to experiment with the variation of forms, glazes and clay.’

What Segawa saves in time he has to make up for in concentration. Throwing in miniature is a phenomenally fiddly business. The potter saves time by throwing many pieces out of one ball of clay ‘off the hump’, pulling pots of the top of a cone of clay in Russian doll effect.

The silhouettes of his dinky pots include every possible configuration: cylinders, urns, rimmed spheres, even teapots. He has a menu of over 1,000 original glaze recipes to call upon to decorate them. ‘I pick one suited for each shape of the pot,’ he says. Segawa has also been known to throw with his feet and his mouth in the tradition of the postwar Japanese art movement, Gutai, which saw artists make novel work using their bodies. It should be pointed out that he does so in real size.

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