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!

1 comment:

  1. just glue it back together like your plate. again sorry about that