Byrdcliffe will be holding an ARTIST SPOTLIGHT for ceramic artist Ben Suga on Saturday, June 15, noon to 6:00 pm at the Byrdcliffe Shop on 36 Tinker Street in Woodstock, NY. The Artist Spotlight will focus on Ben’s work, and everybody will be able to meet him at the Byrdcliffe Shop and find out more about the skills and fine artistry involved in his functional and sculptural ceramic works.
Ben Suga was born in 1981 in Yankton, South Dakota. In 2005, an interest in his paternal ancestry and Japan’s rich ceramic culture led him to the Japanese port city of Karatsu, where his formal training in pottery began. His two main teachers there were Takahide Ochiae, a master of porcelain brushwork, and Taki Nakazato, a 15th generation potter and son of one of Ben’s main inspirations, Takashi Nakazato. After his time in Japan, Ben moved to St. John’s Monastery in Minnesota to complete a two-year apprenticeship under Richard Bresnahan, Takashi’s first American student. The apprenticeship consisted of up to six hours per day throwing traditional Karatsu-style forms on a kick wheel. It was only after a high level of proficiency had been attained that work would be kept and fired. It was a process that fostered a deep sensitivity between body and clay that remains, to this day, the foundation of Ben’s work. After his apprenticeship, Ben spent five years working in the ceramics department at Augustana College in Sioux Falls. In 2015, he received his MFA in Studio Art from Rutgers University. Since then, he has been living and working in the Catskill Mountains, New York.
Suga Pottery was founded in December of 2016 by Ben and his partner, Lyndsey Harrington, as a meeting ground for a love of beautiful everyday objects as well as more sculptural, dreamlike creations. Each piece is handmade by Ben and built to last, so that the recipient may find comfort and joy in it for many years to come.