Thunder Bay Arts Council will celebrate artists Michael and Mieko Kahn of Greenbush at an open house reception set for Dec. 2 from 5-7 p.m. in the TBAC Gallery, located at 127 W Chisholm, Alpena.
Pottery by this husband-wife duo will be featured, along with the music of Windsong. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.
Michael was born in Alpena and grew up in Mikado. He holds an art degree from Central Michigan University. Mieko was born in Hokaido and lived in Tokyo. She attended school at Juyu Gakuen.
Michael spent seven years in Japan, where he and Mieko studied pottery at Nihon Togei in Tokyo, Japan. He was also an apprentice under Toyo Kobayashi in Kasama, Japan, and studied under Junichi Takahashi in Kasama.
The couple was married in 1975. They left Japan in 1977 and set up a pottery on a farm in Mikado owned by Michael's brother. In 1979, they moved to Greenbush where they opened a small shop and set up another studio.
In 1985, the Kahns moved to the San Francisco area where they bought a home in Albany, Calif., and set up a winter studio in the basement of their home, although they came back to Greenbush every summer. Since 2009, the couple has lived in Greenbush year-around, where they expanded the studio and opened a small shop.
At present they sell their work at their shop, through galleries, and at art and craft fairs throughout the Midwest, Florida and California.
All of their work is high fire porcelain. Michael throws all of the work and Mieko does all the slab work. However, they collaborate in some way on almost every piece.
"We use an English Grolleg porcelain body and apply underglaze oxide drawings with fine brushes and also carve into the slips with a needle tool," said Michael. "Much of our work has an insect motif."
They do not use stencils or decals, but when they do multiple drawings of an insect they will draw on a piece of card stock and cut out the body shape and use it as a template to make pencil outlines to help in the final painting.
"I find insects offer an infinite variety of designs and realize that for many it requires one to go beyond their negative feelings concerning 'bugs' and see their wonderful designs," Michael said.
For more information about the TBAC Gallery and the upcoming reception, call the TBAC office at 356-6678.