- Artist-in-Residence, Ceramics Instructor, Dorm Sponsor
BA Archeology, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
MFA Art/Ceramics, University of Iowa
Shumpei Yamaki was born and raised in Kamakura, Japan. He moved to the United States in 1996 to study a passion of his: Hip-Hop culture, specifically “House” dance and music. He lived in Philadelphia and danced with the troupe Rennie Harris: Pure Movement.
Shumpei then decided to pursue a Bachelors Degree in Archaeology at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. In 1999, while a student at UW La Crosse, Shumpei was involved in an automobile accident. His left knee and right arm were both seriously injured. When he was able to return to school, Shumpei enrolled in a ceramics class as a form of rehabilitation for his arm. Under the tutelage of Karen Terpstra, he discovered his passion for Ceramics, and decided to continue his education and exploration of Ceramics upon his graduation from UW La Crosse.
In January of 2001, Shumpei began an apprenticeship with Richard Bresnahan, artist in Residence at St. John’s University, in Collegeville, Minnesota. From Richard, Shumpei was able to learn traditional Japanese pottery techniques. Richard’s interests lie in use of local resources, conservation of resources, and wood-firing.
In the fall of 2002, Shumpei began his graduate studies at the University of Iowa. His professors there included Chuck Hindes and Bunny McBride. He was also mentored by Reagan Yoder, and grew tremendously as an artist through his interactions with his peers. While at Iowa, Shumpei took full advantage of the strong wood-fire program and his interest in wood-firing only increased.
In August of 2005, Shumpei moved to Brooklyn, NY, where he worked as the Ceramics Studio Manager for the Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University. Having primarily used wood-firing for his surface decoration in the past, he enjoyed the challenge of finding his own electric-firing style while experimenting with cone-six oxidation glazes. While living in New York, Shumpei participated in wood-firings in upstate New York with Tim Rowan and Roger Baumann.
In May of 2009, Shumpei returned to Iowa five miles south of West Branch. He has been experimenting with the use of local clay and has been pleased with the results thus far. He has built a wood kiln for the Scattergood Friends School campus and continues to pursue his endeavor as wood fired potter.