Thank you for visiting our website. Here you can find some more information about our new artist in residence program in the historical town of Arita, the birthplace of Japanese porcelain, located in Saga prefecture Japan.

In 1616 the first porcelain of Japan was fired in this area thanks to the find of porcelain stone at Izumiyama by Ri Sampei, a skilled craftsman who was brought to Japan at the end of the 16th century. He was the one that introduced the production techniques the craftsmen here in the town are still using today. 

With the passing of time the quality of the porcelain produced went up and it was noticed by the rest of Japan and not long after that by the Dutch VOC (Dutch East India Company), who transported vast amounts of it to the European market during the 17th and 18th century. In Europe it was welcomed with great enthusiasm by the royal families and the upperclass, who decorated their ‘pronkkamers’ (reception rooms elaborately decorated with porcelain) with it. It also sparked a curiosity for that mysterious, far away, and at that time still very closed off country that was able to produce so many beautiful items. 

Even in modern times Japan and its culture were often a source of inspiration for great artists. After the reopening of Japan in 1858 the craze of Japonism swept through the Western world of art and design. Designers and architects got inspired by Japanese culture, but foremost European painters were inspired by the Japanese ukiyo-e prints, amongst them great artists like Vincent van Gogh and Gustav Klimt. 

Today Japan still inspires many with its anime and manga, its cosplay and kawaii culture. From traditional to modern anything can go when it comes to culture in Japan. This is also the case when it comes to our residency here in Arita.