Decoration and Calligraphy

Ok so this will be a short post but necessary for me to keep the ideas coming and stored away for future reference.

So in the past month I’ve learned more about ceramics and pottery through Ohi Toshio and Jay Benzel than in the past 2 years combined. Youtube and friends on Facebook are nice for ideas and can steer you in a general direction but there is no substitute for hands on watching an 11th generation master at work or working hands on with someone who has thrown over 100,000 pots in the past two decades or so.

I worked with Jay from Benzel Pottery yesterday and made a few Yunomi and some mugs. Very excited that my throwing skills are improving. I have shied away from the wheel so that I didn’t pick up any bad habits and just been doing pinched vessels and slab construction and just playing around with some ideas so that I can stay in it with the clay.

We did some basic decoration with porcelain slip and it got me thinking about Calligraphy and the pens and brushes that they use. Straight up and down with a calligraphy pen and you get a straight narrow line. Then side to side gives you a thick line. Now add in the variables of curls and motion and you get the graceful transformation of thick and thin. This is not the best example in the world but it demonstrates the point.

calligraphica

So I want to go and get some finger paints. ALWAYS back to the basics. Back to childhood where life was simple and direct and the true spirit of the creative desire lives without complication. Closer to the “source”. Which in my mind, means pure potential.

finger painting

So one finger can go in any direction leaving a single line, thicker or thinner. Introduce another finger and you have another dynamic to deal with how far the fingers are apart. Introduce a third and a fourth or a fifth and the variables grow considerably. Now, I’m not looking for “too much”. Never, ever too much. Always “just enough” is where I want to be. As much done as needs doing and no more.

This leads into a conversation with my wife about a collection of pottery being like an album. A cohesive whole. I completely understand that and I want to focus on a few standard shapes and designs of my own so that I can repeatedly throw them and have a cohesive collection. This in addition to experimentation of course.

This is something that you can never complete. You can never truly be done. In a conversation I had with Jay last night. “Why would you want to get into something you’d never finish?” A very hard question indeed and one that warrants its own post I guess. I’ll work on that sometime 😉

Jay Benzel & Ohi Toshio

So excited! So when it rains, it pours. After visiting the Mason-Scharfenstein Museum of Art and viewing the Japanese Pottery Exhibit currently on display I made a few connections and found out that Ohi Toshio not only will be giving a lecture at the end of the exhibit on Jan 22nd at 5pm but also teaching a class on the 21st during the day of the 22nd as well. The first day will be working the clay and the second day will be some firings.

https://www.facebook.com/events/354204131447021/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

Promo Flyer – Toshio Ohi Workshop

Ohi_1

Just got into a class with Jay Benzel to help me get my skills up to level! I went in and bought a tumbler (the southern term for yunomi haha) and recognized his Asian influences. I emailed him last night. He gave me a ring this morning and we chatted for a while. He started throwing out the names that have influenced me and sort of feeling me out: Phil Rogers, Shoji Hamada, Bernard Leach and mentioned his preference to local materials. I was just thinking the same things about being true to your local materials and letting the beauty of your direct geographical influences come through.

One of Jay’s works