Whether working in clay, wood, stone, or iron, a sculptor must learn the characteristics and handling of the material. For example, just as a tree has tree rings, stone has stone striations. Even hard stone can be easily split along such fissures or grain lines. Each different material has its own specific characteristics, and even within the same kind of material, each piece cannot be carved in exactly the same way. In order to understand the rich diversity of material qualities, the sculptor must face the material, getting right up next to it. Those works that are created from an intrinsic understanding of materials are works with a solid basis and can never be considered flimsy insubstantial works.
Going out into the mountains, entering nature and learning about where the source materials come from is an important part of creating art. Wood, like a human being, is a material with just one life. There is the unique shape to each tree’s trunk and the lines of the land under its spreading branches. Calculating where to stand, and putting one’s whole weight behind the axe―this is to experience cutting one’s own wood.
Students display their works at the gallery on campus, and in addition there are times when this gallery is used for university-sponsored exhibitions of works by famous sculptors. Nishi Masaaki was invited to hold an exhibition in 2006, and Funakoshi Katsura was invited in 2007 for his exhibition.