Jill Fanshawe Kato’s enduring fascination with the natural world stems from her upbringing in the Devonshire countryside and her subsequent travels. She graduated in fine art from Chelsea School of Art and became an art teacher, later discovering the animistic world of fire and clay in Japan.
From 1973-1977 Jill studied ceramics in Tokyo, Japan with potter Yosei Itaka, also at the Musoan School of Karatsu Pottery, Tokyo. She subsequently worked at the studio of potter Ryoji Koie on numerous occasions in Gifu Prefecture, Japan. Besides many shows in the UK, Jill has had 46 exhibitions of her ceramics in Japan including 11 solo shows at Keio Department Store Gallery, Shinjuku, Tokyo. She has also exhibited in Korea, China, New Zealand, France, Spain and the USA. Her work is in the collections of Mashiko Museum if Ceramic Art, Japan, Yokohama National University (mural), Japan, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Wales, Escuela de Arte Talavera, (Spain), Nature in Art Museum, Gloucestershire and many international collections. Jill has lectured and demonstrated widely and for 17 years taught on the ceramics course at Goldsmiths college.
“Working in clay is a kind of alchemy. I like the unpredictable results of fuel burning kilns such as gas and the warmth this gives to the clay. I mostly hand build, coil and slab, but also throw, alter and assemble pieces, which are usually one-off. Imagery is added with coloured slips and fired to 1270c. I make large sculptures for walls and gardens, outdoor spaces present new challenges, technical and artistic.”
“Recently I established my new studio in Devon and have forests and wilderness on my doorstep which has given me a new freedom. Ancient stone circles, the South West Coast Path, the red and white clays of Devon are all touch points for my work, as is growing plants and seeing birds and other wildlife from day to day. It is a real journey of discovery as one inspiration leads to another.” – Jill Fanshawe Kato