Serendipity Art Center, Unzen, Japan

Serendipity Art Center, Unzen, Japan
Serendipity Art Center

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Serendipity receives generous help!

Serendipity is coming along more and more each visit! A lot of improvements since my last post. I'm so thankful to a lot of people for their extreme generosity!

New signs! Thanks, James!

Glenn Grishkoff's workshop in May 19 in the B.A.R. (bamboo art room)

Glenn's gorgeous mural in the bedroom in the main house. Fireflies.
Glenn taught the first workshop at Serendipity, and did the first residency here! He left his mark, literally! Thanks so much, my brother from another mother!

Tom, a Sierra Nevada University alum, was a tremendous help in November!

Tom built this railing for the loft area of the ceramics studio.

And these beautiful steps to get up to the loft. 

He also built out the back addition to the house, and much more. Thank you, Tom!

Kazuki with Kondo San, our generous sponsor, and SNU alums, 
Grant and Ian who helped hugely in January!

Grant and Ian replaced wood from leaky ceiling, and repaired leaky roof, and did so much more.

Next step is to install new to us flooring that we got at Kondo San's yard. 100 year old floor boards. Grant said, "Out with the old, in with the older!" Too funny!

Kondo San gave us these gorgeous wood panels, and more!

Suginaga San, another extremely generous man, gave us a lot of building materials and more. 
Domo Arigato Gozaimashta!!!

Pallets full of supplies and equipment shipped by Laguna Clay. They gave us a huge amount of materials and equipment! I was so overwhelmed! Thank you, Kazuki, and Kondo San, and others for getting it to Serendipity from the trucks on a forklift! 

Thanks so much, T, Rose, Romo, Bryan and everyone else who helped at Laguna Clay!!! 
I can't express how grateful I am!

Thank you, Morgan, for the Raku kiln!

Thank you, Bart, for the electric kiln!

I was able to organize the new glaze room in the ceramics barn in February.

It was beautiful in the area down the hill, with cherry blossoms blooming in some spots!

And the food...

And the company... 

Taiki, on the left, was a big help in February. 
The locals took Ian and Grant fishing in January, and we had a delicious dinner cooked on the barbecue in the "Hippie Hangout". A living space behind the house.

Masaki, Glenn's friend, a fellow Soldner tribesman, and now our friend, helped prepare amazing food when he visited in January. Oishee! Delicious! Small world.

It truly is Serendipity! Thank you very much to soooo many in America, and in Japan, who have helped and supported Kazuki and me in our collaboration: Serendipity Art Center! 

Most of all, thank you, my dear tomadachi, (friend), Kazuki, who I could never have done any of this without! That we met, and are building this art center together, is truly serendipitous, and EN! 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

August Visit 2019

Yasufumi San installed plumbing in the ceramics studio. 
Four faucets over the cow trough, which will be a great huge sink!

Cleared out the ceramics barn. Here's Kazuki burning the old straw before the typhoon hit!

I decorated the toilet room with all kinds of bamboo items.

This was the coolest bug ever! A stick bug that totally looked like a stick!

Went to the beach in Minamishimabara, not too far from Serendipity. It was beautiful!

Went to Costco in Fukuoka for studio shelving. 
It was very similar, but with some yummy Japanese food. 
I've been buying muffins for the workshops at SNC for over 20 years! So funny!

Going back this fall! Can't wait!! Thank you, Kazuki!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

The BAR is Open!

I owe my husband, Kelly, big time! He worked hard with the others to pour the concrete floor in the BAR, (Bamboo Art Room). We'll have our first workshop there with Glenn Grishkoff in late May. We'll make brushes with the bamboo at Serendipity!

This is how the BAR looked last May. We call it the BAR because wild bamboo was growing inside!

They also poured a sidewalk to the BAR.

BAR - before pic

We also put gravel on the driveway.

I'm am EXTREMELY grateful to Laguna Clay for their very generous donation to Serendipity!
Thanks sooooooo much, T, Bryan, and Jessica!
The ceramics studio will be up and running soon thanks to you!

T hung up the SNC workshop poster.
She'll be teaching a Paperclay workshop this summer at SNC in Tahoe!

T gave us an amazing tour of the Laguna factory. Here's a pic of their train kiln firing kiln shelves.

I'm also super thankful to Morgan and Bart for their gifts of ceramic equipment to Serendipity!

Here's a pic of my sister, Reisa, and me, enjoying lunch at Kazuki's restaurant
down the street in Tonasaka.
Oishi! Delicious! 16 different noodle preparations; so cool and yummy!

Kazuki is an awesome friend, and I'm so glad we met. It was "Serendipity"!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Making Progress!

I've been able to make several trips to work on Serendipity, and each time Kazuki surprises me with all the work he's done. It's looking great! 

 New kitchen! 
 My son Ryland Sweigard's drone photo of Serendipity.
 Love my log pillows. 
 Bought a small gas kiln and pugmill.
 Ceramics studio barn. Planning on making the trough a sink, putting wheels downstairs, and hand building tables upstairs in the loft.
Side view of the ceramics studio in the summer.
 Kazuki's rice field down the road in Tonasaka village. Drone photo by my son, Ryland Sweigard.
 Surrounding landscape down the hill from Serendipity. 
 I'm planning on making this area the glaze room.
 Kazuki's lawn mowers. 
 House has air conditioner / heater. Also has a washing machine that washes and dries in the same machine.
 Other view of house. It connects to the barn that we hope to turn into housing someday.
 Best renovation so far! I love the water saving sink and of course the "bells and whistles" of Japanese toilets. Control panel on the wall.

Massive improvement over the original toilet. 
Enclosing toilet room and shower.
Gorgeous rooster strutting his stuff. Had to keep the door closed, or he'd walk into the kitchen! 

A lot of people ask me when we're opening. My response is, "When it's Ready". I have no idea when that will be. Each time I'm there, I see excited progress, and get new ideas. I hope to open the ceramics studio first. Folks can stay in Unzen, and make ceramic work at Serendipity, a 10 minute scenic ride away. Kazuki has a small bus/large van, to transport folks.

I want to thank all the people that have helped us create this future art center.

I can't express my gratitude enough for Kazuki! My dear tomadachi - friend. This art center is truly: