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on talent, again

updated tue 24 aug 04


Gay Judson on mon 23 aug 04

I can't resist sending this poem by Ann Holmes from her collection =
Shards. The poems are reflections and rememberances from her years =
spent as
an apprentice potter in Mashiko and from an earlier period when she
interviewed Japanese potters. This poem is written in the voice of Gen
Murata (1905-1988), apprentice to Hamada?


Hamada said "make the same teacup again and again."

I didn't think I could. For ten years

I made teacups. Even now

I practice on the cup

to get the clay used to my hands.

as sketching is for the artist, the cup

is basic to know and to practice.


One day I asked Hamada if I had talent.

I remember him standing there, his arms

folded around my question.

He pointed to an old man, hunched over the wheel,

turning one flawless vase after another.


"We cannot match the skill

of this worker's many-many years.

Your pottery is off-balance-too much=20

of something-too little

of something else. Form

is proportion. Repeat

what you do now."


Gen Murata has recently been receiving some recognition for his work. I =
seen a exhibition of his work on the web recently.

Ann Holmes used italics where I have inserted quotation marks for email


Gay Judson