Porcelain artist Yukari Kashihara, of Rocheport, was busy creating pots and vases upstairs in the Fine Arts Building Thursday. Her delicate hand-painted functional pieces are inspired by her love for nature.
Several artists-in residence will be featured during the Missouri State Fair this year, and Kashihara will be demonstrating through Monday.
MSF Fine Art Superintendent Alan Weaver said he was pleased to have Kashihara.
“Of the visiting artists, potters are always popular,” he noted. “People love to watch potters. We are trying to engage the public. Every year we try to have someone spinning pots … because it’s just really entertaining and popular.”
Kashihara, originally from Osaka, Japan, graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a major in ceramics and a minor in printmaking. She and her husband Tom Scharenborg, a professional photographer, have lived in Rocheport where they own Shirahaze Gallery since 2004.
Before becoming a potter she studied as a printmaker, but soon fell in love with clay.
“I just love how the clay feels on my hands,” she said while working on the pottery wheel. “I can change the shape.”
Although her hand-painted pieces seem to have a Japanese motif, she said her delicate floral designs are inspired by her love for nature. Kashihara said she doesn’t think about creating work with an Asian style, she only wants to make “beautiful” pottery.
“Something to brighten up somebody’s morning, a cup of coffee from a pretty mug,” she added smiling. “That’s one of my passions. I love traveling, I love going to National Parks and going backcountry camping and hiking.”
The couple usually travels two or three times a year.
“Camping out in the backcountry, to me it just cleanses my soul,” she added. “I feel like I can create more. Some of the painting is coming from those trips that I thought was beautiful. Right now I want to go back to Glacier National Park. I was there this summer and it was just amazing.”
“I like to watch her make Saki bottles” her husband said. “Because for example when you manipulate that work from a perfect aesthetic shape that’s all round, she’s able to carefully press and pull. The process of pressing and pulling the clay gives it more character, I think.
“It’s always a great challenge to obtain beauty and functionality simultaneously,” he added. “We’re married to art, so we collaborate on our work, we try to share themes which help us enjoy nature and the beauty of being in the outdoors.”
Yukaria Kashihara will continue to demonstrate from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today through Monday in the MSF Fine Arts Building. For more information about Kashihara’s pottery visit www.shirahaze.com.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.