Our first experience learning from Japanese craftsmen came working alongside famed 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 magazine whenever there was an issue that was dedicated to the use of clay.