We took a day trip to the ancient city of Asuka near Nara the other day. Chihiro and I are doing a joint exhibition there next month and we went to have a chat with the gallery about that. On the way back we came across this place, named ‘Ishibutai’ which is apparently the largest square burial mound in Japan, dating back to the sixth century. Photos are of above and below ground. As you can see the size and placing of the stones is impressive, the largest of the rocks on top is estimated to weigh around 70 tons!
Last day of firing today – 3am late night selfie…
This not so little froggy was outside the workshop the other morning – giving me the beady eye – he didn’t flinch as I crept up to him and intruded with my iphone up close. So many frogs around here, Mango our dog, 6 months old, has taken it upon herself to bring at least one or two into the house everyday recently, unfortunately they are not left quite as robust as the fella up above…
Teapots are very time consuming to make; with a body, a lid, a handle and a spout to be made, trimmed and put together, they can fill up your week if not your workshop. I’ve made quite a lot this time round, playing around with small variables, different handles, lids etc. Yamada Jozan III made excellent and beautiful teapots in Tokoname, with a purity of design, function and elegance that kept the softness of the clay.
There are many directions you can go with a teapot, from fun and funky to monastically austere. They are an unusual pot because of the number of parts involved and the need to visualise those parts interrelating before you make. If I’m lucky I get to make about 20 in a day, parts and all, and then put them together the next day or the day after, depending on the weather.
This is a short vid of spiral kneading, kiku neri, or chrysanthemum kneading as it is called over here. It’s one of those techniques that is beautifully simple and marvelously effective at the same time. I have no idea how many times I must have done this over the last 15 years or so…but as the years go by I am happier to wedge a little less at one go ..! Potters aerobics.
Carving some bowls and plates recently, the one below is about 40cm wide…
These ones are a little smaller…
My wife, Chihiro is in a group exhibition in Mitsukoshi department store in Nihonbashi, Tokyo until August 24. She is showing a selection of shawls and scarves. Also exhibited are ceramics, glass, basketry, and woodwork. It should be a fine show!
Today was the sunflower festival in Yuzu. Yuzu is the village where my kiln and workshop are, and the festival takes place about 5 minutes walk away! I always put out a table of pots and it is always a fun day.
It’s an unusual festival in the sense that it has proved to be incredibly successful for a small village festival. Now in Its 13th year it pulls in hundreds if not thousands of people from all over the place just for the day. The organisers say they don’t want it to get any bigger as parking in the small village is difficult! My only complaint is that I didn’t use suncream on the back of my legs and am paying the price!
Moving on well with the woodsplitting and it was a gorgeous day today, very hot (32C) but a constant and strong breeze all day. Beautiful blue skies and wonderful clouds. It makes such a difference to your spirit when you’re working outside and the world is full of colour.
An evening snack Japanese style – as the weather heats up, freshly caught sazae and two small bottles of very chilled locally made sake. Strangely delicious!