Cowry Tea Set
6.5 x 10 x 7.5 in.
Gift of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation
Joan Takayama-Ogawa’s family has been creating ceramics in the ancient kiln city of Tokoname, Japan since the 15th century. Her work often explores beauty, decoration, ornamentation, and narrative, with technically diverse blends of unexpected methods to create contemporary environmental, social, and political commentary. Cowry Teapot Set was inspired by ‘cowry sea shells,’ which are thought to be signs of good luck, femininity, and fertility.
Born and raised in Pasadena, California, Takayama-Ogawa is an accomplished sansei, or third-generation ceramic artist. Her father studied ceramics with Glen Lukens (see Lukens 1952 Bowl) while enrolled in University of Southern California’s School of Architecture. She began her extensive education at the International Christian University, Tokyo and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in East Asian studies and Geography from University of California Los Angeles in 1978; then her Master of Arts at Stanford in 1979. From 1985-1989, at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles she studied with renowned artist, Ralph Bacerra (see Bacerra 1998 Cloud Teapot). As Professor of Ceramics at Otis since 1985, she pushes students beyond traditional boundaries by integrating clay with digital and rapid prototyping technologies.
Billie Sessions, PhD.
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