Visit La Maison Yoshimi | Vézénobres ● français
● 日本語
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Chisato Yoshimi

The earth, the infinity

 I'm from Kyoto, Japan.

西山に夕焼けが落ちた頃、静まり返った街中を歩く。 着飾った貴族たちが、牛車に揺られて、御所にある家路に急ぎ足で私を過ぎてゆく。 六角堂の夕刻の鐘が聞こえ、京町家の路地を、幕末の有志たちが走り去る。 京都、800年続いた古都が私の中によみがえる。
— When the sunset falls on Nishiyama, I walk through the lonely streets... so peaceful again. Elegant nobles rushing, swayed in their carriages, they head to the Imperial Palace. I hear the evening bell of the temple, and observe the alleys, the typical houses of Kyoto. The last fighters flee, spelling the end of the Samurais' era. Kyoto, the ancient capital - 800 years of history - I feel them rising in my soul.

Most of Japanese art expressions flourished there. I am delighted to notice that those traditions are inherited in present days Kyoto by its artists and craftspeople: painting, Tea ceremony, Ikebana, pottery, lacquer ware, performing arts... This is the place I was born and brought up. When I was little, I was not specially interested in Arts, my family was not even particularly artistic.

However, when I was in my teens, I started to appreciate every forms of art surrounding me, including European art. At 25, I left Kyoto and went to Europe to study Arts, a voyage in the pursuit of my own art form. After my studies in London, I became a theatre designer in Dublin where I lived and worked for over 35 years.

One day I fell into working as a potter. I am very glad I was born in Kyoto and spent my early times there. I do feel I was breathing - naturally and unconsciously - the essence of those wonderful traditional arts. Though, Kyoto is not only my past. I still have the privilege to spend my time there and do my pottery work as all my family still live in Kyoto. I have a workshop space in my mother’s house and also practice at my pottery master’s studio to learn from him. Kyoto is my home.

 I live in Vézénobres, France.

In southern France, on a top of a hill, there is a charming medieval village with a breathtaking view, called Vézénobres. Yes, I fell in love with this place! Here, we are different from “Provence", we are called Cévenols. This is where the Cévennes mountains meet golden limestone walls with a rural Occitan atmosphere. It is still savage - just the way I like. I have chosen a traditional stone house in the heart of the village, with a splendid view, a terrace facing the south where I enjoy sunrise and sunset every day. In the basement, a beautiful 12th century wall...
Next to my place, there is the Boulangerie, just across the street, the Cafe and a Restaurant. And how about my voisins? They are so kind and of course authentically French! This is the place I live and work.

 My passion, pottery.

My workshop is in the basement, facing an 12th century wall in the cellar, just recently renovated. This is the place where I meet my inspiration. A unique site for a Japanese potter: in complete immersion, I turn the clay on my wheel instinctively. It can be only for a few minutes, or countless moments... My mind and body float within the neutral, spiritual space, joining the universe, the world of infinity. Why am I fascinated about working on wheels ? I love the feeling of working in fusion with the clay, my mind and my hands in sync, spontaneously, but gently. My passion : my will to find the absolute "pure" form.
 I had nearly forgotten, but it did happen to me once, far before I left Japan. In fact, this neutral, spiritual feeling when I wheel my clay, came first to me a long long time ago…
One day, a friend invited me to her workshop and showed me how to work on the wheel. I sat down beside the wheel - it was my first time with the clay. Suddenly I fell into a world I had never been before. My real world surrounding me had disappeared. I was somewhere else…. In a new perception of space-time where I felt so ecstatic and blissful! I was totally astonished and filled with exaltation.
Kyoto, London, Dublin and now here in Vézénobres… Since I left Japan, I performed numerous projects in several countries for over 40 years. Over those years, I had nearly forgotten this feeling, this spiritual space... Now that I sit down in my medieval cellar, it does come back to me.

 My works in portfolio page

These potteries are made mainly in Vézénobres, France and Kyoto, Japan. My pottery is Earth ware (磁器) normally fired at 1280 degrees in an electric Kiln. Some are fired with a reduction process with real flame. I've always found complex to show my work through photography, since there is less perception of the thinness, the weight, or the texture of the surface. Not only to see, but to feel my work, please come and meet the real ones here in Vézénobres!
Chisato Yoshimi: Poterie Portfolio

 Pottery classes

My workshop is open to anybody, absolute beginners are also welcome ! I normally work on one to one basis, teaching maximum 2 or 3 people in one session, specially with those who want to experience the fantasy of the wheeling. It is not that difficult to make your bowl on the wheel, I will assist you while you are wheeling. I can guarantee that you will get your first bowl from my atelier. I invite you to immerge in the movement in this 12th century cellar atmosphere, to live and share the bliss of creating an artwork, fly from the cellar to the terrace to enjoy the stunning view of the nature. This is where it happens. Choose between a private and friendly class for just a few hours, or stay in my B&B, cooking together (Japanese food, if you like!), eating, chatting about Japanese culture etc, as you wish.

A) 3 hours private base lesson-Price: 60 € (guarantee for 1 piece of your own work).

B) over night stay in my B&B + 6 hours private based lesson-Price: 100 € (guarantee for 2 piece of your own work).

C) Optional: Japanese meals from around 10-15 €

For further details, please contact me.


Phone: 0466 24 27 62/06 85 98 97 62
Adresse: 19 Place de la Mairie, 30360 Vézénobres, France

Come to see me at Vézénobres!  LA MAISON YOSHIMI

Translation: Cristina Kawamoto
Photo: Emmanuel Douay
Web design: Reiko Méry