31 October 2018

Cross-cultural Identity Through Clay, Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, Japan. 4th of October to 4th of November 2018 (Visitors, artists and staff at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park pressing their fingers into unfired clay tiles)
























Visitors, artists and staff pushing their fingers into unfired clay tiles.

A video of visitors, artists and staff pushing their fingers into unfired clay tiles.

Myself and my project partner continued our mission by inviting visitors, artists and staff at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park to press their fingers into unfired clay tiles. This took place between the 12-13th of October 2018. These tiles will be used to form a sculptural path to be installed in the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park. 

We also invited
 visitors, staff and artists to complete our questionnaire that included: What does a fingerprint mean for the you? What represents Japanese Cultural Identity?
In total from this project we managed to collect 24 questionaries. We hope these questionaries can give an idea of how international and Japanese people view Japanese culture. Hopefully we can publish these answers soon.

26 October 2018

Cross-cultural Identity Through Clay, Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, Japan. 4th of October to 4th of November 2018 (Local Japanese People pressing their fingers into tiles)

Wen-Hsi standing outside the supermarket with the unfired clay tiles ready for people to press their fingers into the clay.

Interacting with local Japanese people. As we can not speak Japanese we had a Japanese translation of the project written on paper that included a questionnaire.





Japanese people pressing their fingers into the clay tiles.

This video documents part of Martin and Wen-Hsi Harman's artist residency project in Shigaraki Japan.

The questionnaire written in Japanese
On the 14th of October 2018 we went to a local supermarket in Shigaraki to invite local Japanese people to press their fingers into unfired clay tiles. We also took with us a written Japanese description of the project that included a questionnaire that asked people questions. These questions included: What does a fingerprint mean for the them? What represents Japanese Cultural Identity?

These tiles will be used to form a sculptural path to be installed in the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park.

It was an interesting experience as we had the opportunity to interact with the public and watch their reactions to this interactive project. We found young people were more willing to have a go more than older people. Some people used allot of pressure to press their fingers into the clay, others were more gentle and others took a curious approach by thinking about their action.

14 October 2018

Cross-cultural Identity Through Clay, Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, Japan. 4/10/18 to 4/11/18 (Making the Tiles)

Setting up the studio.

Pressing clay into wooden moulds to produce sculptural tiles.

Removing the wooden mould to reveal the piece once the clay has dried slightly.


After the sculptural tile has been removed wooden boards are place around the piece to keep the form square whilst the clay is drying.


Sculptural tiles removed from the moulds and wooden boards and continuing to dry on the shelves.

All the tile pieces arranged to form a path to give us an idea of the progression.

For this project myself and my wife Wen-Hsi Harman have teamed up to create a sculptural tile project to be installed in the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park.

The idea behind this project is to create an artwork to symbolise a path. A path to act as a metaphor to cross into different countries and cultures from our experiences such as Taiwan, UK, Japan and Germany.

This project particularly refrences to Wen-Hsi's experience of living in between the UK and Taiwan. As a Taiwanese person living in the UK she can feel like she is not fully accepted within society in the UK. This distance can be because of ethnicity, accent and attitude. Likewise when she goes back home to Taiwan she can feel outside of the society as she has been living in the UK for nine years. Therefore her behaviour has taken on some British customs and her Taiwanese language has also changed too because of her length of stay in the UK. When Taiwanse people interact with her in Taiwan they often see her as not being completely Taiwanese.

As a result of her experience of living in-between two countries we would like to also talk about the gap an individual faces and because of this the sense of confusion of identity and belonging.

With regards to my own thoughts I appreciate the opportunity to explore different cultures but I also understand the challenges of a globalised world. How can a country keep hold of its cultual identity yet embrace people from other countries with different cultural backgrounds? What is the impact international companies have on the country of residence?

8 October 2018

Cross-cultural Identity Through Clay, Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, Japan. 4/10/18 to 4/11/18 (Arriving)

Shigaraki Town Poster at Kibukawa train station 

Small traditional looking train that goes to Shigaraki leaving from Kibukawa train station.

A welcoming Japanese racooon dog known as a tanuki. A very popular ceramic statue found everyware in Shigaraki.

The sign to the front entrance of the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park were myself and Wen-Hsi Harman will be undertaking our residency.

A view of Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park.

The local clay store were we purchased our clays.

The local Clay Factory apart of the same comapny of the Clay Shop.

The local Tool and Glaze Materials Shop.


We could not resist buying a glaze so we purchased a red and purple glaze and we are looking forward to trying it.

It has been a couple of days now into the residency at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in Japan. Myself and my project partner Wen-Hsi have jumped rite into action as we have one month so time is precious so we will do our best to keep our news updated.

So far we have arranged our studio space, visited the clay shop and I was amazed by the huge variety of clays, very natural looking with different colour variations. Not to mention the clay factory being interesting too as we got a glimpse into how they produce their clay. Then there was a stop off at the tool and glaze shop with so many colourful glazes, and again I really noticed I kind of natural or raw like quality. I guess this runs with the ceramic aesthetic of Japan.

We are a couple of days into the making of our project, we will upload some images of our progress soon.