Seimei and Kyo Tsuji were both potters and their studio was near Renkoji, a neighborhood in Tama, a suburb of Tokyo. Theirs was one of two studios we had arranged to work at while we were in Japan. For that reason we rented a house in Nishi-Chofu, between Tama and Shinjuku Station.
We learned many things with the Tsujis: we learned how to select clay and how to process it; we learned about firing in a wood burning kiln; and learned about cooking. As a result of the last, we were able to actually use all the beautiful cookware and tableware they had made. Through the Tsujis we learned many things we needed to know about Japa-nese, Korean, and Chinese pottery. What we received from them was an understanding of the essence of ceramic art.
Tsuji-san possessed a vast knowledge, not only of ceramics, but of craftsmanship in general and of contemporary art. He also possessed a great joie de vivre—when he was happy, it showed, not only in his face but in his entire body.
Tsuji-san had the knack of making visitors feel at home. When we met him, he was an accomplished and respected artist, but he lived very modestly. The Tsujis possessed little in the way of material wealth but their lives were rich in experience. A meal at their house might consist of simple noodles made by Tsuji-san himself, or delicate and exotic seafood cooked over charcoal. In 1979, they came to visit us in Way’s Mills, and here they shared our way of life as we had shared theirs in Japan. They kept talking about their visit years afterwards. They both died within the past decade but whenever we think of them, we feel happy.
Semei and Kyo Tsuji