primalmommy on fri 8 jul 05
Elizabeth, when I called your project "tea bowls" instead of rice bowls
it was a typo, just sloppiness in rushed writing -- not a reassessment
of your intention. Really, they are not very tea-bowlish, not even the
wide summer bowls. Mine, anyway, have more "belly" to them, and are very
wide and shallow -- I can hardly imagine using them for liquid. I will
send pix and mynotes/suggestions when I get back from Tennessee. My kids
will likely use them for ramen noodles with chopsticks.
Lee, I hope I didn't sound like I was being critical in my post. We all
sing the song we're living, and you're clear that you've found "a path",
not "the path". I was just kind of musing on translations and cultures
and all the little buttons they seem to push for everybody. I agree with
folks who said the internet gives us a lot of images and information
--(and posts like yours, from people on different paths) -- to make us
feel more connected to what goes on in the wider world. At the same
time, I see the point about the cross-fertilization not happening at a
deeper, daily level -- even in the day of info overload.
Sometimes these days a sound bite or a crawling CNN headline takes the
place of a more complicated story or a deeper understanding. Americans
in particular tend to spend a day or two walking through the Louvre and
getting their picture taken in front of the Tour Eiffel and then say,
'We DID Paris"... I learned more about France spending afternoons in the
rural kitchen of two elderly widow sisters, just drinking tea and poking
around and chatting, than I did in the obligatory whirlwind tour of
landmarks. And sometimes the internet is the whirlwind tour -- a
snapshot, a t-shirt.
So maybe that's part of the frustration -- getting it, but not "getting
it". The intentionality of "be here now", the dailiness of making and
use of pottery in Japan, the pace and feel of things don't always
translate well via the ether.
I have to laugh when I see those little "zen gardens" sold in upscale
catalogs, along with heated dog beds and cell phone cozies and
toothbrush sterilizers and other luxury cack. They look like a little
litter box, with a small rake and a couple of stones -- meant to be put
on the busy executive desktop to inject a little peace into one's
afternoon. See what I mean about stuff doesn't translate? Give us a
simple meditative process like yoga, we'll learn to make it into a
sports complex full of classes with piped in music, high prices and lots
of bright-colored expensive gear. The internet carries that kind of
On the other hand, the web does bring us images. As much as I want to
hold the pot and meet the potter, that foot on Tony's pot -- like Lee
said, free but not sloppy -- burned an image into my brain that has
stayed there for days. You have to love the intentionality and the
happenstance mixed together there.. and you have to love the five
fingerprints around the foot. As a potter that resonates. You feel the
weight in your forearm, the grip and stretch, having done it hundreds of
Off to pack myself for ACC/Josh DeWeese, pack my son for camp, and my
littler ones for a week at grandma's, and make some kind of meal plan
for Jeff, home alone... leaving a long list. Chickens out, feed the
guinea pig/rabbit/fish/frogs/lizard/spider/cats, gather eggs, shut the
henhouse at night to foil the possum who climbs down the vines past my
studio window every night...
Kelly in Ohio
Beginning to understand the potters who shrug at those of us who talk
the thing to death.. overthink, overread, overplan, overdiscuss. Maybe
it's time to "Just shut up and make pots!"
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Jennifer Boyer on sat 9 jul 05
Sort of OT but I had to share this:
Kelly's post reminded me of an exercise given to a design class I was
in years ago. It was called "zen pebble". It's REALLY fun: The people
in the group bring in a selection of a dozen pebbles each. Then they
are randomly paired up. 2 people sit on the floor facing each other and
take turns placing a pebble at a time on the floor. The idea is to
collaborate on the design that forms from the pebbles being placed, one
at a time and each in response to the previous pebble. No talking
allowed. It's amazing how different this experience is each time you
play it with a different person.
I take a walk that goes up a set of stairs next to a pebbly driveway.
I've found myself playing long term zen pebble with ?(who knows who)
since we all place pebbles on a certain step...Every time I take my
walk the pebbles have been added to and I do my part....
SO back to the design class: one participant was a pretty bossy person:
we found out later that everyone who played zen pebble with him had
been coerced into agreeing that he have the right of VETO over our
pebble placement! It was particularly funny in that he was a potter who
had spent years studying as an apprentice in Japan.....guess certain
things didn't rub off.. ;-) This poor guy sadly passed away about 10
years ago. He made amazing pots.....
Jennifer, whose favorite pebbles come from the Tennessee Valley beach
in Marin County CA. TINY. perfect.
> I have to laugh when I see those little "zen gardens" sold in upscale
> catalogs, along with heated dog beds and cell phone cozies and
> toothbrush sterilizers and other luxury cack. They look like a little
> litter box, with a small rake and a couple of stones -- meant to be put
> on the busy executive desktop to inject a little peace into one's
> afternoon. See what I mean about stuff doesn't translate? Give us a
> simple meditative process like yoga, we'll learn to make it into a
> sports complex full of classes with piped in music, high prices and
> of bright-colored expensive gear. The internet carries that kind of
> thing well.
Thistle Hill Pottery
Lee Love on sat 9 jul 05
>time, I see the point about the cross-fertilization not happening at a
>deeper, daily level -- even in the day of info overload.
One thing the internet does is spread English around. I found a Japanese
throwing demo online, searching for the kanji ロクロ成形 rokuro ｓeikei
and 水引 mizubiki. The URL includes the word "throwing." You can see it
http://hankos.blogspot.com/ click on the image.
Also, related to cross-fertilization: Lisa Skeen's friend Leanne Pizo
visited Mashiko a couple weeks ago. She gave me one of my favorite pots
I've received from a visiting potter. It is a scraffitoed shino bowl. I
don't know that Leanne knows that scraffito is a traditional technique
with shino, that is rarely used in America. She inspired me to do some
nezumi (blue/grey) shino scraffito that I will put in the next firing.
You can see this fine North Carolina shino bowl here (fired to cone 11
in a Flatop built by Mel):
>I have to laugh when I see those little "zen gardens" sold in upscale
>catalogs, along with heated dog beds and cell phone cozies and
>toothbrush sterilizers and other luxury cack.
Yes. In America, we often just skim the "veneer" of exotic cultures. We
look at a glossary and think we know a language. I did have a friend use
a miniature "zen garden" in her therapy practice. She also used dolls
and role play with her younger clients.
>Off to pack myself for ACC/Josh DeWeese,
Have a great time! The workshop system is something that is not well
developed here in Japan. Most of the workshops here in Mashiko are
created for foreign visitors. They have tradition here, but we have many
creative advantages in America.
in Mashiko, Japan http://mashiko.org
http://hankos.blogspot.com/ Visual Bookmarks
http://ikiru.blogspot.com/ Zen and Craft
"We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep."
-- Prospero The Tempest