After his apprenticeship with Richard, Samuel was invited as a guest artist at the Danish Design School, in Denmark. It was by chance that around this time Takashi Nakazato was at the Royal Porcelain Factory in Copenhagen as an artist in residence. Having found this out, Samuel was able to make the arrangements to finally meet Takashi in person. Was it by coincidence? Or luck? To see Takashi work and his technique first-hand was to see self confidence, swift simplicity, and grace. Overcome by this encounter, Samuel would never be able to let it go. This was during the winter of 2000.
After Denmark, Samuel headed to Japan where he would work with Ryoji Koie in Mashiko. To better understand the roots of Takashi's Tanegashima-yaki, he went to Tanegashima in Kyushu, but without any specific plans. He communicated with the people of Tanegashima using hand gestures to ask, "Where is your pottery made?". A group of young boys playing baseball knew the place that Samuel must have been talking about. They led him to the Tanegashima kiln built by Takashi Nakazato.
This is where he met Etsuji Noguchi. They talked about Tanegashima-yaki, and Samuel saw Takashi's earlier works. These raw, abandoned, and unfiltered pieces had a strong impact on Sam. Afterwards, Samuel traveled north of Kyushu to reunite with Takashi in Karatsu, visiting Takashi's “Ryutagama” studio.
”This trip was about chasing down a myth. I heard many stories about Takashi and his work in Karatsu and on Tanegashima during my apprenticeship. I felt his influence through the tools, techniques, and forms that I was learning to make at Richard’s studio. While in Japan I realized two things: the first was that the stories that I had heard had grown to mythic proportions; the stories seemed unreal; the place was not a place. The second thing occurred to me in a flash – I could go. I could buy a ticket and go to see Tanegashima for myself. I could go and meet Takashi and speak with him about his work and the various stories that I had heard. Visiting Tanegashima and Ryutagama was very important to me because it made the stories real. I could see for myself the clay, tools, and techniques. I could ask questions. I could decide for myself what it meant to me.”
In 1971, With the suggestion from Fujio Koyama, Takashi Nakazato traveled from Karatsu to Tanegashima with the intention of revitalizing an old technique and created a new one; Unglazed pottery. After returning to Karatsu, it became known as Karatsu-Nanban.
This time, Samuel engages with Tanegashima-yaki. Using clay with greater iron content, he produces pieces where the surface color and shading changes at every particular angle. It has been his dream for many years, and it is a pleasure for us to show you how far he has come in realizing his admiration for this technique.