CAL KATO

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cal kato

Hometown: San Juan Capistrano, CA

How did you find ceramics?

My first introduction to ceramics was during the summer of 1966 when I took a class at the University of Southern California’s Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts. My first instructor was Fred Olsen and I became absolutely hooked on pottery.

Who are your influences?

At USC’s ISOMATA, I learned from Fred Olsen, Susan Peterson, and Gertrude and Otto Natzler. Incredible potters. Later at Rio Hondo College in Whittier, CA I studied under Martin Chodos and F. Carlton Ball. After serving in the US Army, I returned to study at Cal State Fullerton under Jerry Rothman. Life has it's ups and downs, so I needed to forsake my pottery career and went into regular business. Upon retirement, I returned to ceramics wholeheartedly, immersing myself in hand building at Saddleback College. The instructors and facilities there are just incredible.

How would you describe your work?

In thrown pottery, it could be described as Scandinavian/Japanese. In hand budding, it more contemporary sculpture.

Why do you love/what do you love about ceramics?

It allows me to use my entire body and mind to create. Working with clay is so very basic and fundamental. Possibly only second to wood in finding usefulness, humans discovered making forms from clay centuries ago. We use earth, wind, water and fire to complete each piece. Despite being basic, one needs to learn so very much to accomplish work and that journey keeps it very interesting. With all of the technical information, one gets to introduce their style of art.

If you had to choose one, Handbuilding or Wheel-Throwing? Why?

Until the Fall of 2017, I had not attempted any hand building. After two years of intense hand building instruction, it has made a wonderful impression on me. It allows so many forms to be made that one cannot create on a wheel. Actually, I love both.