Small Talk

Form & Function

June 3rd, 2013

[youtube wu2ixk3Y2go]

Videojournalism and editing by Sisto Domingo of Hawaii New Media.

If this video isn't uploading in your player here is the direct link:


From this simple lump of mud, artist Dustin Miyakawa creates art. “The wheel is a unique instrument. I like that it happens so quickly and so dynamically. Form just is born out of clay and speed,” he explains.


The 26 year old University of Hawaii art student throws towering vessels, tiny teacups, useful bowls: Beautiful -yet functional -objects for the home.

“I’d like to think people can look at everyday objects and see art and beauty in them,” he hopes.

His main tool: The potter’s wheel. This most ancient of crafts - believed to have been developed in Mesopotamia more than 3,000 years before Christ- today produces modern works of art.

Sisto shooting Dustin

Sisto shooting Dustin

“It’s just a moving experience, and I want people to feel the same way I do,” Miyakawa says. And it still fascinates with its hypnotic spinning, both for the audience, and the artist.

“Many of us look for that transcendent experience, that zone space when you’re completely engaged in a task,” he continues. “It’s a very personal space within myself that I can only access through throwing.”

Diane interviewing Dustin

Diane interviewing Dustin

The process of giving life to a lump of clay can take minutes – or days. Miyakawa shapes it, fires it, glazes it, and fires it a second time. What he likes most is the journey, not the destination.

“On a good day, it seems I’m not dictating to the clay, but entering a dialogue on the wheel. It gives me feedback on what it wants to do,” he reflects. “Controlling that is a large part of my process. It’s built solely around controlling the materials.”

Particularly, he likes the challenge of making large objects. “It has a lot to do with the relationship between the scale of an object and us as people. Something that’s 20 inches tall isn’t so threatening. But once you get into something that’s taller than you, it has a different effect. It makes you feel power,” he details. “That’s what I want to convey in my work. I want people to feel the same power as I feel when I watch something throw or when I’m on the wheel.

Sisto, Dustin, Diane

Sisto, Dustin, Diane

Miyakawa would also like to shape something else- the dialogue in the arts community. “The current dialogue in the art world is that between art and craft. That art is something that must have concept, convey meaning. But at heart, I’m a craftsman. I’m not an artist. I want people to understand that concept can be made from craft. And craft can express just as many ideas as sculpture,” shares Miyakawa.

At KITV4: Jill, Dustin, Paul

At KITV4: Jill, Dustin, Paul

Miyakawa wants to bridge the gap between form and function. “A simple cup can say just as much as a sculpture,” he insists.

If Miyakawa has his way, his pieces will say something more. They’ll tell the world to look out for the next big name in ceramics.

With many thanks to Sisto Domingo of Hawaii New Media (808) 554-6968 for videography and editing.

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