Toshiko Takaezu, 1922-2011

   Toshiko Takaezu, Artist, Teacher and Friend

She loved the Camden children’s artwork. One year a class of fifth graders at Yorkship School did individual color drawings of pots with freeform designs in Toshiko’s style. They were assembled together in a large mural, a copy of which was sent to her.

Toshiko was the force behind Art Aware applying for and being awarded a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation grant.

I first met her in the 1970’s and that is when she gave me this pot with the strong brush stroke circling around, and, tantalizingly, not quite meeting itself on the other side. For over twenty years I have been going to her Open Houses in Quakertown, NJ to be in her land of organic gardening and ceramics. She made no distinction between the two, as to which was the most important to her.

In 2004, I wrote:

What I want for Camden kids,
(and for all the people of the world really)
is for them to realize that they’re their own beautiful persons,
(like each leaf on my Honey Locust tree)
responding to what is.

And one way for them to do that is
to do art
and keep doing it
and doing it,
the way Toshiko Takaezu does.

In the same year I wrote this meditation:

All her little pots
Sitting together on shelves
Each making statements.

And all the big pots –
Personalities, strong, subtle,
Emanating spirit.

She was such a good, caring person. I miss her tremendously. She’ll always be close to my heart.

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