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Ceramics show opens at Plaza House gallery

Date Posted: 2010-04-09

An American artisan who’s been studying and competing in ceramics exhibitions in Japan for more than eight years is scheduled to have an exhibition at the Plaza House Global Gallery.

Fresh off a win at the 2010 Okiten Art Festival, wood-fire ceramics specialist Nicholas Centala opened his exhibition at Global Gallery yesterday. The exhibit features not only ceramics, including items from his newly-built five-meter wood burning kiln constructed with 3,200 fire bricks, and also a photo-documentary of his experiences of clearing the northern Okinawa forest to unloading of the kiln after its firing.

The Global Gallery exhibition, entitled “Jidai” or Era, features works based on organic and industrial themes. More than 100 pieces of ceramic sculptures are on display. The exhibition is free and open to the public. The Global Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. until April 18th. Centala, who’s been living on Okinawa for more than five years, often invites Camp Hansen-based Marines to volunteer their time with wood cutting and manning the kiln. Centala spent time in Okinawa with the Navy in 1993, and says “I’m always happy to allow our American guests to enjoy this cultural experience and to get up to the jungles of Nago and enjoy the culture outside the American bases.”

Centala says the kiln is capable of firing to 1,250C for three days, a heat about 1/10th the temperature of the sun. Centala will also be hosting discussions of the history of wood-fired ceramics, as well as his personal experiences as a foreign artist training, studying and working in Japan. Apart from his Global Gallery exhibition, Centala has three ceramic pieces on display at the Urasoe Art Museum through April 11th.

The American is also offering visits, tours and discussions at his kiln site and workshop in Nago. By appointment only, the discussions are constructed in a way to permit guests to even create and fire their own ceramics. Originally designed as an NPO, the kiln and workshop for wood-fired ceramics takes place in English and in Japanese. There are special free workshops available for individuals and groups, particularly for children and adults with mental handicaps.

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