Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Sorry for the delay in any postings recently. I've actually been fairly active in the studio, BUT Blogger has thrown a bit of a thorn before me in saying that I have filled my photo file limit. This just means I have to pay an annoying little fee to keep posting photos on this here blog. . . . Between work, and mulling over thoughts of jumping the Blogger ship in favor of some other, freer, option. I just havn't had time to write. Thinking shall continue. Enjoy your week folks.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Play with FIRE

Happy holiday Monday! So, last week I posted a link with a video of a man throwing HUGE pots, as well as the first shots of my first attempts at working larger. Well, on Friday whilst trimming I might have (to my utter horror) trimmed through the bottom of my huge pot. This yielded a squeal of terror and the quick hunt for a means to fix said mistake. The answer came from Tabe Sensei (who surprised me by hanging out in the studio as I worked and taking all these lovely photos). So, a patch of wet clay, some creative paddling with small wooden anvil, and some tender blowtorch love later and my bread bowl seems patched and as good as new. Only the eventual firing will tell.
Tomorrow is a day off from work to make up for a Saturday worked last week, and I mean to enjoy it by sleeping in, cleaning, and in general just being a homebody. If you live in Kochi I hope the rains of this weekend didn't keep you from adventures and joy. Go out and make something with you hands! DO IT!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


The week's come and gone like a flash of lightning, and as between the cracks of thunder I managed to have a wonderfully productive week in the studio. I finished trimming the dessert bowls I made last week, and am quite happy with the way they ended up. Two days ago my father sent me this a fantastic video of a man making HUGE pots. This, naturally, led to me wondering how I would do if I tried my hand at working in larger quantities of clay. I've always been a bit scared of bigger work, but this week I made some steps in the right direction for making my work big. I'm especially excited for the large bread bowl I threw today. Also finished a lovely salad or serving bowl.
The nights are starting to cool slightly, but the days remain hot. As the they roll on bye I plan on just keeping on keeping on with the work that my hands find their way into. Have just the best weekends possible!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Crossing Seas with Charles

Not much time for a big update. Tomorrow is my busy day of lessons, and I've cookies to finish baking for the English Club's surprise party for our president. I got news this week that my first international customer had successfully received his sake set. Chuck and I went to The College of Wooster together, although he was a year ahead of me.
I spent my first night ever at Wooster under the watchful eyes of he and his friends (have to credit David Wigger with being my official overnight host turned greatest of friends). In a way, the times I had with these fine gentlemen led to Wooster being my final choice. So, naturally when he sent me an e-mail asking if he could order a sake set I jumped all over it like a bear on honeycomb. Chuck forwarded me some pictures of the set in use with another mutual friend of ours Rob.
Chuck I hope the set brings you great joy! As for the rest of you I'm hoping to step back into the studio this week and finish up the bowls I threw last week as well as start on some more forms to help shake my hands back to their former selves. Have a great week folks. We'll see you on Thursday.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Back to Basics

Of all the beautiful places I've frequented in my time in Japan this view is the one where I continue to find the most peace. With the wheel before me, my neon orange apron on, and my hands submerged in a slurry of earth and water. It is such a great space. Finally had a productive day in the studio after my long vacation. Threw 12 pots of those 12 you can see the 5 that made the final cut. I'm sticking with very basic bowl forms until I've fully shaken my finger's coating of rust from these joints. It's just good to be back and working at it again. I also managed to dry and wedge about 2 or 3 kilograms of reclaim clay, and prepped the studio for the pottery class tomorrow afternoon. We'll see you all on Monday! Have a great weekend, and go out and make something! This guy watched me work all afternoon. I couldn't resist posting a photo of him.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Reboot and the Father of Inspiration

The nights are finally starting to cool from subtropical sauna to mildly warm, and I'm reflecting on a blissful but busy summer of old friends and new, travels, and adventures. I've been gone for so long it seems my hands have even developed a mild coating of rust that must be shaken off to return to making the pots I would like to be making. The coating of rust about my joints should perhaps more accurately be likened to build up of dust and grime from miles traveled because in just a short sumer I've managed to go all up and down the coast of Kochi, to Tokyo and back, up mount Fuji in the dead of night only to see the sun rise in radiant yellows and reds from it's peak. BUT! you're here to read about mud and fire.

In my various travels I managed to two absolutely lovely potter exhibits. The first was a small exhibit at the Kochi City Art Museum dedicated to functional local potters. The glazes were simple, and the work a bit heavy at times, but the I will always love any exhibit that includes a table of artists work you are allowed to touch. Picking up a piece adds so much to my appreciation of it. When I turn it over to inspect the foot and feel the weight of it's walls in my hands I feel a more direct connection to the maker. So that was a very nice touch to add into the exhibit.

And then there is the real star of this summer's ceramics findings. I went to the Japan Folk Crafts Museum, mingeikan, to see an exhibition of Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada's work. It was just a such an experience. Their works were all displayed on simple hand made furniture, and the colors, brush work, and power their pots held for me was an almost indescribable sensation. Leach's writings on pottery are borderline biblical in my minds eye. To see them in Japan was simple fantastic. The unfortunate thing about museums is that you can almost never photograph the collections. To carry his imagines to you I brought home a beautiful book of his work. I have a host of new ideas and goals, one of which is to return to sketching and drawing. Leach's brushwork and designs (specifically his animals and trees) just stuck with me as I never thought a plate with a ram or bird would. I've never even especially enjoyed ceramics with actual imagery on it. I'm much more attracted to patterns, splashes of color, fire marks, and in general things that seem a bit like fantastically controlled chaos, OCD, or nature working through man's guidance. BUT Leach's imagery and brush work hit a chord with me, and I think the only way to work on those skills is to try them. So, ready yourselves for some clumsily brushed pots in my future as I embark on a new adventure. Unfortunately, the exhibit has come and gone, but the Mingeikan is a truly inspirational museum, and I can't recommend paying it a visit with enough enthusiasm. 

And for all those fantastic things it seems there had to be a bit of an evening of the old karmic scales. 

We are gathered here today friends, to bid farewell to a personal favorite of my personal collection. It was a mistake turned into a wonderful work. It has a rim of charred copper about it's foot that gave it something far different than any of my other pots. It ruined a kiln shelf, and was one of the first pots I glazed with my current favorite iron red. It slipped from my hands whilst doing dishes Saturday morning, and I am still in mourning for it's loss.

I'm quite busy this week with the return of teaching and normal classes, but I'm really going to push to get into the studio and shake this caking rust off from my joint.

Glad to be back!