Connecting people, culture and nature

Laguna Pueblo, NM
Canelo, AZ  2000

In addition to the skills we gained while working with Mexican builders, we have benefited by working with other craftsmen from around the world.  In particular, due to their excellence in utilizing clay as a building material, we have worked with and learned a tremendous amount from several Japanese craftsmen.

Our first experience came working alongside famed Japanese craftsman Akira Kusumi on a project sponsored by Cornerstones at the old mission in the Native American Pueblo of Laguna in New Mexico.  After the Laguna event, Kusumi-san came to Canelo along with a group that included several Japanese architects, magazine editors and our good friends, photographer Yoshio Komatsu and his wife Eiko.  In response to hospitality we extended to him on his visit, which included a private tour of lime-plastered San Xavier mission in Tucson, Az, he presented us with a collection of Japanese trowels and plastering tools.  That was our beginning, however, the problem remained that we didn’t know what to do with most of them and awaited someone to train us further.

During that same visit, we also were befriended by editor of the Japanese home magazine Confort, Kimie Tada.  Our relationship with her served to be a very valuable source of inspiration in that she continued to send us copies of the magaine whenever there was an issue that was dedicated to the use of clay.