Nakazawa moved to Southern California from her native Japan in 2005 to study English and ceramics. She majored in art in college, and taught art to junior high school students. But she had scarcely dabbled in ceramics, and it was something she wanted to try.
Since 2005, she’s taken at least 10 ceramics classes at Glendale Community College — sometimes repeating the same class more than once — and spent hours practicing the craft at the college’s ceramics studio.
More than 80 artists from 10 countries and a number of states around the U.S. entered the competition, Nakazawa said.
Nakazawa submitted a trio of teapots that she dubbed the “Tea Amigos.” Each of the three teapots is a different size, and each teapot is made of several circular pieces of clay that were made individually. Nakazawa made the body of each teapot by hand. The two legs and handle of the teapot are circular, and were crafted using a pottery wheel. The teapot’s spout, a cylinder, was also made with a wheel.
A teapot is a complicated ceramic object to create because the different components must fit together in good proportion to one another, said Mark Poore, who is the head of the ceramics department at Glendale Community College and has taught Nakazawa there.
“It’s a tough form to make,” he said.
Nakazawa’s work on the teapots began last spring, when she was given an assignment in an earthenware ceramics class at the college to create a ceramics object that emphasized a geometric shape.