Connections


A lot has changed as far as the needs of ceramics. We have cheap and plentiful, but mostly soulless, daily use pottery. I think that because we have so much mass produced ware that it has given us a desire and a fantastic opportunity to breathe new life into ceramics. We are a connected world but we are so often missing those intimate connections. What is more intimate than a cup or a bowl and an offering of food or drink to a friend or a family member?

It occurred to me, a while back, that eating together is a very intimate act. Eating with a stranger is a primal and meaningful act that allows people to come together. You learn a lot just by partaking in this simple action and the inevitable conversation that comes with it.

Using a cup or bowl also involves the maker. If you drink from a cup made by someone you know, they are with you in a way. Even if you dont know the maker personally you know that the intention is there. If it is an honest vessel it comes not only with the clay and glaze but also with the intention of that connection. Clay is a way to connect with your fellow human beings in a way that no other medium allows you to achieve.

Cooling Water for Green Tea

An important process for brewing green tea is cooling the water to the correct temperature. I was recently asked to create a samashi / chahai or cooling bowl.

In Korean this is called an ulshikim sabal

IMG_5735

This is a beautiful example, minimal and elegant and completely functional. I have some ideas and cant wait to get started. I think it is going to be pointless to create one vessel alone when they are to be used together in the process. I have a lot of work to do 🙂

Here is a fantastic video on brewing green tea using the Hohin and the Samashi. It is important to use the same material for both vessels.

I also found a very interesting article about oxidation firing versus reduction firing affecting the taste of the tea.

http://hojotea.com/en/posts-53/

Motif

From Wikipedia – In music, a motif or motive is a short musical idea, a salient recurring figure, musical fragment or succession of notes that has some special importance in or is characteristic of a composition: “The motive is the smallest structural unit possessing thematic identity”.

In my last firing I started thinking about decoration of my vessels. After a decade in photography I realized that I had an enormous amount of knowledge and was able to solve just about anything that came along. I had my own language.

So now I have a template to go by for learning and mastering what I want to create in ceramics. The template is repetition, the ability to solve problems and exercising your imagination. Once you  get it rolling you are able to create a motif of your own with infinite variations.

Small guinomi / shot glass from the recent firing. Nuka over Temmoku on white clay body in cone 10 reduction.

“Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.”
– Zig Ziglar

You start with the basics: Color & Texture.

  • Single Solid Color
  • Blending of two or more solid colors
  • Floating colors
  • Creating Breaks
  • Where do you create the delineations of colors / textures / shapes
  • Color Combinations – What looks good together
  • The breaks can be on any part of the vessel, what parts look good?
  • Patterns, both in color and or texture
  • Other things I cant think of at the moment

The sketchbook is out and I’ll try on paper each variation and combination and see what suits me. The happy accidents are the deviations that can lead you down a new path.