Chyako is a native of Japan, teacher, artist, and potter. She has taught ceramics for more than twenty years, and owned YUNOMI Pottery Studio for the last thirteen years. As a young person, she didn't plan to become a potter, but the fateful moment came when she decided to go to college in America. Her first ceramics teacher, David Hunt, taught clay as a metaphor of life, and introduced her to the life of an artist. To further her understanding, she studied with many master potters including Biz Littell, Judy Day, Tom Coleman, Randy Broadnax, Meira Mathison, and Matt Long at Laloba Ranch Clay Center in Steamboat Springs where she was an Artist in Residence between 2000 - 2004. Earlier in her career, Chyako exhibited in galleries in Durango, Steamboat Springs and Santa Fe. Over the last twelve years, she has found teaching and making functional pottery her work and joy. She holds a regular class schedule at YUNOMI, and people can buy her work at Durango Farmer's Market three times a summer and at the Christmas Market. She has also been a meditation teacher and had led a meditation group for twelve years. She finds the philosophy of making pottery and meditation practice a perfect fit. Clay has always been a teacher for Chyako. The metaphor of "Centering" is something that stretches into all aspects of her life. "Clay asks me to be wiser.", she says, "It demands me to slow down, focus, and be patient.” She is grateful to be able to share her passion and gift with many people through the studio.
What is it like to dedicate your life to something that you love? That was the question I asked myself when I was a young person wondering what I should do with my life. In college, I wrote in an Artist's Statement, "To keep the joy alive is my goal." I went through many incarnations as a ceramic artist, but running and owning YUNOMI Pottery Studio has been an interesting twist in my career. I realized as much as I love being alone diving deep into my own artistic process, I need to share with people. This small studio is a perfect format for teaching, mentoring, and making my own pottery. I keep it small and personal to allow time for relationship and solitude.
There is a concrete reality to clay. You have to touch it, feel it, and learn from it. Clay teaches us to slow down and be patient - this is a humbling experience at first as we have to learn by mistakes and crash many pots. You don't think about other things when you are throwing (or else it will let you know), and you can enter into the present moment. It’s great to have a small group of people who are having a similar experience: that makes it joyous, and eases the struggles and frustrations. -Chyako