Monday, August 31, 2009

Aalia in Cube Container

This lovely branch of Azalea is so easy to arrange in this cube container and will last for a long time which suits me fine.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cut Sided Mizusashi

This is another special piece that was fired adjacent to the fire grate in our anagama. Not always do cut sided pieces survive such harsh firing conditions as the thickness of each facet can vary. Pieces like this, when used in the Tea Ceremony, make for a wonderful experience.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Little Grass Orchids

Someone told me these were grass orchids but I am not at all sure as they do not have an orchid shape. They flower this time of year in sunny situations and are only about one cm. in size. I am reluctant to mow the lawns when they are flowering.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kakehana with Camellia

Here is one of my cut-sided kakehana with the miniature camellia that I showed on Tuesday. There are too many leaves left on the arrangement but if I take them off I run the risk of loosing the flowers.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Iga Style Hanaire

I thought it was time to show another pot! This Iga style piece was thrown on the wheel then scored vertically with a small tool and then pressed with a piece of bamboo to flatten it on six faces. It has been fired in our anagama beside the main stoking area where the embers have built up to produce the dark colouring towards the bottom.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Miniature Camellia

This lovely prostrate camellia is now flowering beautifully and, although it falls quickly, it looks wonderful when used in a kakehana - a small hanging flower vase.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lichen Covered Tree

Today is lovely and sunny but when it was wet this blossom tree showed up quite spectacularly with its coating of lichen. Hawke's Bay is usually so dry that it always amazes me how many trees have lichen coated branches.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Flower Arrangement

My friend has arranged these magnolia flowers in one of my boats and called it "Boat in the Wind". The boat was made with a dark clay and has fired to a reddish purple which is ideal with these flowers. It is so nice to see our work used for the purpose for which it was intended and not just left sitting on a shelf. Harry Davis said that "He didn't make pots for museums, he made pots to be used". Our pieces were never complete until they were arranged.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sue Pottery

The Sue Era of Japan was related closely to the early Shilla Era of Korea and the pots made and the firing techniques are very similar. The kilns were anagama type but were not fired long or hot enough to give the colourful pieces of later times. These lids are from Japan and were being excavated from a school playground and were given to us when we were there in 1982.
I'm sorry I cannot put the mark over the 'e' of Sue to give the proper pronunciation.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Korean Bowl Chard

This Korean bowl chard was given to us when we were in Japan. We had been discussing the finishing of the foot ring, or kodai in Japanese, on bowls. This example shows what is most admired by the Japanese - the simple, clean lines and the slight dragging of the clay as it was removed with one simple scoop with a bamboo tool.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Early Mishima Bowl

The note that was written for me when I was given this rice bowl reads: "Found at Kwangju, which was the ancient capital of Chosun. Unearthed by some farmers in the temple area. Belongs to the Yi Dynasty which dates from 1392. This was a Golden Age similar to the Elizabethan era in England, and during this period art and pottery flourished. Noting the markings on the bowl it is estimated to be in the vicinity 1400 - 1500 [C.E.] Comparing with some of the pottery pieces of the later part of the Dynasty." I can only take their word for this but would love to know more as I feel it is from an even earlier age.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jomon Chards

The comment to yesterday's blog was whether we had seen any chards? We did not see any and being a Heritage Site we would not have been allowed to take any away. These Jomon chards, however, were given to us by people who lived where there were thousands of pieces of broken pottery. They lived in Chiba which is East of Tokyo and these pieces would have been from the very early Jomon era and would date back from about 7000 or more years ago.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ancient Anagama Kiln, Seto, Japan

I was able to photograph this ancient anagama kiln when we visited Seto in 1978. It was protected as being a Cultural Treasure and reputed to be from the fifteenth century. It had originally been dug out of the clay bank and the first firing would have vitrified the clay and thus formed the kiln. Less expensive but probably more physical work than using fire brick.

Monday, August 17, 2009


This shrub is flowering beautifully at the moment. It still has many of last seasons dried leaves attached so to see the flowers it needs to be trimmed. The other name for this flower is Witch Hazel. My plants are all this orange colour but were originally more yellow which is its proper colour I think.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ikebana Containers

These two Ikebana containers were made from a high iron bearing clay and have a lovely rich silvery brown colour. I have added a few pieces of dried material just to give an idea how they might be used. The idea for the plough share came from a rusty old one I found which I thought would make a good container. The prow piece was made to represent an old shipwreck with only its bow pointing up out of the sand. The two pieces seem to go together to make a larger arrangement.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Stellata Magnolia

This tree is flowering beautifully at the moment. When we planted it about forty years ago we were told that it would only grow to about two meters high. It is at least nine meters tall now and still growing

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Large Bizen Style Tsubo

This rich dark coloured tsubo was made with English "Ivanhoe" clay and stands 400 mm. tall and is 360 mm in diameter. POA.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Seven Sided Bizen Type Platter

This platter was made from 12mm thick slabs of clay and has a 25mm. high foot in the same seven sided configuration. The clay used was an English clay that we imported and has been fired with another pot on top, separated with some straw, and placed under the side stoking area. Not easy to make but wonderful to use.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

August Cloud Formation

The clouds at this time of the year are often fascinating and different. This one last week was so bright that I couldn't resist taking a photograph to share with you.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Another Interior Photo of my House

Another interior photo of my house showing the "floating" shelves John Scott designed to show some of our collection of pots. The three coloured glass pieces on the top shelf are by Brendon Sole of Wanganui. There is a nice comment in the latest "Home New Zealand" magazine with regard to the design of this house being an important aesthetic touchstone for Nicholas Stevens when he designed the wonderful house for Bill and Johanna Mouat at Havelock North. I would have liked to have seen this Stevens Lawson house chosen as the 2009 House of the Year.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Cut Sided Hanaire

This hanaire (flower container) was thrown as a cylinder and then the sides were cut with a wire to give the angular shape. Fired in our anagama for about nine days to give the natural colours.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

August Full Moon

What a lovely sight the August full moon makes. I tried several times and they all made interesting pictures. Would be nice to have a longer focal length lens.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hoffman Kiln at Palmerston North

If you are interested in very large kilns this one is tremendous. The book "Nine Thousand Bricks a Day" by the late Jim Lundy and published by the Manawatu Branch of the Historic Places Trust gives a wonderful history of this kiln. These photographs are ones I took some time ago but the ones in the book give even more detail.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Foxes Wedding

This mizusashi of Estelles has the most wonderful colours for which this photograph does not do justice. In Japan when the sun shines through the clouds following rain and creates a rainbow it is called Kitsune no Yomeiri "The time for the foxes' wedding". Estelle thought the colours on this pot to be like a rainbow so hence the title.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Flower Arrangement

This background was made with dark clay fired in our anagama. The circle of clay was beaten randomly with a piece of wood and a hole made for the flowers. There is a small pot behind to hold water.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Large Hexagonal Jar

This large hexagonal jar in the Bizen style was made with slabs of clay but the foot ring, shoulders and gallery for the lid were all thrown. It is great fun trying to throw an even circle onto the six sided body of the pot. P.O.A.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Video of 2nd. Firing of Kamaka Anagama

Japonica Blossom

It is such a lovely Spring morning and I could not resist photographing these flowers and posting it for you to see. The colour of these flowers is quite orange on the bush but when it is picked it fades until it looks more like apple blossom. I hope you enjoy.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Another Interior Photo of my House

Not many modern houses have double hung windows. This one is wonderful in the Summer when it can be opened and I can step straight out onto the deck. It was through this window that I photographed the frost the other morning - it was too cold to go outside.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Interior of My House

It was suggested that I should show some interior views of my house. Here is the first which shows the unusual shape our John Scott designed fireplace. Above the fireplace is a Japanese Ramma panel, carved from wood and normally used as a ventilation partition between rooms.