To Akiko Graham, good food is an art form worthy of as much reverence as those found in any gallery. Restaurateurs agree: her pottery graces tables at dozens of presentation-focused restaurants, from high-end sushi bars to outposts of Wolfgang Puck's empire. Having imported her artisanal talents from Japan to Seattle two decades ago, Akiko now works in a rustic, vine-covered cottage where she both throws clay atop the wheel and uses slab-building techniques.
The resulting flowerpots, vases, and tableware stand up to the demands of hot food, dishwashers, and ovens without their Japanese characters changing into curse words. Intimate classes stoke the fires of inspiration with patient one-on-one attention that results in a solid grasp of technique.