Kudos to Japanese-born University of Minnesota ceramics professor Tetsuya Yamada who this week won the grand prize at the Gyeonggi International Ceramix Biennalle. Considered the most prestigious award in contemporary ceramics, it comes with a $50,000 cash prize. Held in Gwangju, South Korea, the competition draws hundreds of entrants from more than 70 countries . Yamada earned his MFA at Alfred State College, the legendary ceramics center at the State University of New York, and has been on the U of Mn faculty since 2004. He’s exhibited locally in the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and has shown at galleries in New York and Basel, Switzerland. His 2010 sculpture "Heavenly Thought" is pictured above.