Teapot Wins Ceramics Student Trip to China

Sharese Mirzakhanyan

A ceramics student at GCC won the grand prize, a trip to China- in the third International Small Teapot Show at Saddleback College on Feb. 21.

Her first time entering a contest, Serina Nakazawa said, “I couldn’t believe I won. The first couple days felt like a dream.”

She was in shock that her teapot won the grand prize over all the other 115 teapots from the show. It took some time for the news to sink in. More than 300 teapots were entered, but only 115 were accepted from 10 different countries.

Nakazawa will leave for her all-expense-paid trip at the end of May. She will be accompanied by the top judge of the contest. The trip will last about 16 days, during which she will participate in workshops and visit museums.

She began working on her teapot during the summer session. It took her the whole semester to complete the design for her teapot. During the bisque stage, she took it home in order to return during fall and complete it. The chair she had placed her piece on fell and shattered her teapot into thousands of pieces.

“I was about to cry when my teapot broke as the chair fell down,” Nakazawa said.

But she did not give up and was able to make an even better teapot. She had more experience and was able to use enhanced techniques to complete her second teapot. It took her the whole fall semester to complete the teapot, but she does not regret even one second.

“I consider myself a perfectionist,” she said. “I like to have everything done in the best possible way.”
She said that she would start everything over and over again until she had everything right. Even the slightest mistake frustrated her.

She said that her own bedroom inspired her design of the teapot. She described her room as funky and unique. Nakazawa said that she is always on the look for new ideas for her pieces.

Nakazawa, 26, moved to L.A. from Japan eager to pursue her interest in ceramics. After some research she chose to attend GCC over Newport Beach. The variety of classes, along with the exceptional professors won Nakazawa over. She is an international student.

She began taking ceramics in 2004-2005. Nakazawa has always had a passion for art and will continue to follow her enjoyment for years to come.

Mark Poore, Nakazawa’s ceramics teacher, has been teaching at GCC for about 25 years. He gained interest in ceramics in high school and never gave it up. Poore said that Nakazawa is a dedicated student who puts in a great deal of time into her work and she is open to criticism and new ideas.

“I am exceedingly proud of Serina; it couldn’t have gone to a better person,” said Poore.

Even though she has left her family in Japan, Nakazawa is thrilled to have such an opportunity to follow her dream. She visits her family back in Japan once or twice a year. Nakazawa parents are very proud of their daughter and will support her decisions no matter what.