Friday, July 31, 2009

Jomon Boat, Ikebana Container

This boat shape is based on an image of an ancient Jomon Boat which is part of Japanese history. I love making boats out of slabs of clay and they become such wonderful Ikebana containers. In Japan, boats like this are also used to serve food.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Unusual Ikebana Container

This unusual Ikebana container looks wonderful when arranged with flowers. The spherical base was thrown then the square cylinder was built with slabs of clay and added. The wonderful colours come from the long firing in our anagama kiln. This piece in still in my gallery priced at NZ$550.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Shigaraki Style Tsubo

This is on e of my pots in the Shigaraki style. It is said of Shigaraki wares: "The creation of these objects mirrored the creation of the world, which also involved the fierce confrontation of elemental forces and the fusion of water, clay and fire." Shigaraki ceramics are a fusion of nature, forged from earth and flame. This quote is from writing on the Miho Museum's website on their Shigaraki Exhibition. I am unable to acknowledge the author as no name has been given.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Frosty Foggy Morning

This morning dawned fine but very frosty and a light covering of fog. The air temperature was -4 degrees so the frost must have been at least -6 degrees.

Monday, July 27, 2009


This is one of my platters and one of the last ones left. It has been fired under the ash spill from the side stoking when the kiln was fired. The price is NZ$350 with no extra for packing and sending within New Zealand. For overseas freight and insurance please ask and I will get an accurate costing.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Workshop and Gallery

Our workshop and display gallery was designed and built at the same time as our house. There cannot be many potters who have had an architecturally designed workspace. The workshop consists of a large storage and drying area, a large glaze room with tables for handwork, a wooden floored area for wheel work and a large display area. The wooden floor makes cleaning up much easier than a concrete floor.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Evening Photo of House

An evening photograph of my John Scott designed house. This shows only one wing of the house - the wing on the left side has bedrooms and a large lounge. John designed this house for Estelle and me in 1969 and it was built in 1970. It has been given a Catagory One Historic Places Trust registration

Friday, July 24, 2009

Large Ovoid Vase

This Ovoid Vase of Estelles was made with a white-firing Shigaraki type clay and fired in our anagama for nine - ten days.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Large Bizen Style Tsubo

This large Bizen style Tsubo (storage jar) is one of mine fired in our large anagama for nine days. It is made of a high iron bearing clay and has been thrown in two parts and then joined.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Footprint Vase

This vase is from our first anagama firing and is a unique piece made by Estelle. We had problems with our first firing which resulted in the unusual colours and textures in this vase.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Autumn Leaves

Although Spring is on its way this picture was taken recently at the Botanical Gardens in Napier. Sometimes the leaves hold their colour and brighten up the cold days.

Monday, July 20, 2009

View into Kiln During Firing

This view into the hot kiln was taken just before the start of reduction after which it is very difficult to see anything. What fun it all was!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Old Traction Engine

This old-time traction engine was working in my neighbour's field recently trying to smooth out some of the bumps so that they could taxi their aeroplanes more easily.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


This lovely little bird follows me up to the gate and back every day. They are hard to photograph as they are always moving. This one had its tail open but I was just not quick enough to capture that image.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Kamaka Anagama

We built this kiln and had our first firing in 1982. It is based on a modern Japanese design where the kiln is only partially buried in the ground and is built with brick. The average length of our firings was 9.5 days. No glaze or slip was used on the pots. All the colours are from the ash combined with the surface of the clay.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

KAMAKA; The Ceramics of Bruce and Estelle Martin

This book was written by Peter Shaw as a catalogue for a retrospective exhibition of our work. Peter's essay extends from early New Zealand contacts with Japanese pottery to some of the history of our progress over a long potting career leading up to our Joint Exhibition with Fujii Sanyo Sensei in Osaka, Japan. Copies of this lovely book with it's many colour photographs and interesting articles are still available at NZ$20. Please email me to order a copy.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"Arrow Pot"

Estelle got the idea for this pot from a picture of a Korean "Arrow Pot" which is not for holding arrows but is a target. The original was made of copper and placed on the ground some distance away from the archer who fired his arrow into the air and tried to land it in the narrow neck of the pot. Great skill or much luck must have been involved. The shape makes a superb flower container.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


These shadows on my kitchen wall made by the early morning sun this morning reminded me of the small book "In Praise of Shadows" by Tanizaki.

Monday, July 13, 2009


This morning after the rain I saw these raindrops on the Indian Bead tree and thought you might like to see them.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Estelle with Master Potter Fujii Sensei

This picture of Estelle with the Japanese Master Potter, Sanyo Fujii, was taken after our second firing of our large anagama. They are examining one of my bucket vases that had just been unloaded from the kiln.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Plough Share Vase

This sculptural Ikebana Container was fired in our Anagama Kiln for nine days. My arrangement of pomegranates does not do the container justice except that the colours match so well. The idea for this vase came from an old plough share found under a willow tree on our property.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Large Bowl by Estelle Martin

Large decorated bowl by my late wife Estelle. This was fired in our earlier oil kiln and is now in the collection of the Hawke's Bay Museum and Art Gallery.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


These Pomegranates are from my garden. They are a North African and West Asian fruit. I do occasionally eat some of the inside pulp which has a wonderful taste but is full of seeds.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


The last of this season's persimmons - they taste great.

Monday, July 6, 2009


This morning I scanned this image to put with my Japan Dairy Images.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Kakehana, Hanging Flower Vase

This Kakehana or Hanging Flower Vase is in the shape of "An old man snoozing". It is a traditional Japanese type vase used in the Tea Ceremony n would contain some wild flowers arranged to overhang the lip of the vase.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Tea Bowl

Tea Bowl made from white clay and fired for nine days in the Kamaka Anagama. All natural ash colouring.

Today's Pot

This pot was fired in the Kamaka Anagama and was shown in the Kamaka Retrospective Exhibition. This photo was taken after it was arranged with flowers at the showing at the Brett McDowell Gallery in Dunedin early in 2008.