Ralph lives and works in East Hawaii, operating the Shibui Ceramic Studio. Shibui translates to mean “simple but elegant”, and that can certainly be said of his work. His wish is that his vessels will become personal daily use items, touched and washed by human hands.
His interest in ceramics was sparked in 1975 by a garage sale purchase of a ceramic tool box. He subsequently bought a self-assemble potter’s wheel kit, and found that throwing came naturally. His formal education started at the Ceramics Department at the College of Marin in 1976, followed by the Berkeley Potter’s Studio, Ruby O’Neal 24th Street Studio in San Francisco, and The South Kona Education Association, with many workshops in between. He built his own full ceramic studio in Puna in 1979, using an Olympic up-draft propane kiln, as well as sharing a Raku kiln with a partner. He supports his lifestyle by also working as a painting contractor.
“My sense is that ﬁring is the ceramic version of an alchemist; turning clay, soft and ﬂexible, into hard waterproof ware, lasting hundreds of generations…and my name will be on the bottom of each one.”
All materials used in his work are non-toxic, food safe, and dishwasher safe.