Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wisteria on Pole

My wisteria are looking magnificent at the moment. This one is growing on a pole and I have contained it so that it does not grow into the nearby trees. I should prune back some of the trees to give the lovely ball shape of the wisteria more space. This, and another one on my shade house, were given to us by John Scott when he designed our house in 1970.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sake Cups

These small sake cups never did much to fill the large anagama kiln but I enjoyed making them. When thrown they are left spinning slowly on the wheel and the lip is tapped three times with the index finger. This distorts them badly but it can be repaired by smoothing the lip with a small piece of chamois cloth. However, clay has a memory and the distortion returns, to some degree, when the piece is fired, making for an interesting shape. The foot is cut the same way as a larger tea bowl with three cuts on the outside of the foot then one scoop to take out the centre. The edges of the foot are then tapped up and pressed onto a flat surface to finish.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Unusual Cloud Formation

I took this photo of clouds a short time ago. We only see clouds like this very occasionally. As yet it has not started to rain and most of this cloud formation has dissipated.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Another View from the front of my house.

This is another view from the front of my house. The yellow shrub is a maple and the reddish tree is a flowering plum. When Estelle and I laid out the gardens we always tried to leave space for the eye to travel - we had no wish to be completely closed in.

Friday, September 25, 2009

One of my Bizen style pots

This jar was fired under the side stoking and has ash spill on both sides and some lovely flame marks on the front. After Iga pots, these dark Bizen pots are amongst my favourites.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

View from My Dining Room

This image was taken last week and is now gone. The blossom is finished as it only lasts a very short time. I have about twenty different blossom trees so their flowering period extends over quite a long time and so I can enjoy an extended Spring.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Estelle's Salt Kit

This salt kit, made by Estelle, was fired in one of our first anagama firings and has been in constant use since then. The shape is pretty original and the colours are just wonderful. It is a pleasure to pick it up to use.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Blue Rhododendron

This "blue" rhododendron is just coming into flower, but, like all so-called "blue" flowers, is a somewhat in between colour that is hard to describe. Never mind though as it is really beautiful at the moment.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Old Shigaraki Pot

This old Shigaraki pot I found in Wellington earlier this year. How it got to New Zealand or how old it may be is anyone's guess. There are no marks to indicate a maker but I'm sure it is from the Shigaraki area and it does appear to be old.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Another Teapot from our collection.

The story behind this teapot is too involved to write up here but was purchased in Japan at the time of the Korean war. It is signed with a very authentic looking Kenzan signature but may be by one of his followers. It has lovely decoration in the Kenzan style so who cares whether it is genuine or not.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Kyo-yaki Teapot

We bought this tea pot when we were in Kyoto in 1978. It is bright and happy and works very well. I do not have it out for everyday use, which is rather a shame, but it did get damaged in transit so I would rather keep it for show.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Azalea's by Pond

These Azaleas are looking particularly lovely at the moment. This smaller flowered one is the one we saw so frequently in Japan but there they often clip the bushes into a ball shape and keep them small. I rather like them when they are left to form their own shape.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Estelle's Bottle

This bottle was fired next to the main grate in the anagama. I have spoken before that this is a "risk all" area but one for wonderful colours. In Japan it would be filled with lacquer so that it could be used - it is certainly too nice to throw away. Our teacher, Sanyo Fujii, said to us that pots were like your children and, just because they may have something wrong, you do not abandon them.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sakura Blossom

A close up picture of my Sakura Blossom

Monday, September 14, 2009

Japanese Serving Bowls

These bowls are called "Hari-zansho" and used to serve small portions of vegetables. During a Japanese meal as many as fourteen or more different shaped dishes may be used to serve the many varieties of vegetables or fish and the rice. There is no attempt to use similar patterns or shapes but they are always beautiful and appropriate to what is being served. The amount of dish-washing never seems to be a problem either. Although only one shows in this photograph there are three small balls of clay to make a stable footing.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Grape Hyacinths

Just another aspect of my garden. There are more blossom trees coming out as well and it is lovely to have so many spring flowers together with the warmer weather.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sakura Blossom

This tree is looking magnificent at the moment but, like all Sakura, will soon start to loose it's blossoms. Some years ago we had a visit by a young Japanese man travelling through New Zealand on a motor bike. When he saw this tree in blossom he asked if he may sit under it for awhile as he had missed the Cherry Blossom Season in Japan and was really feeling very homesick.

Felling of Neighbour's Gum Tree

This morning the contractors arrived onto my property to remove this huge gum tree. It took forty years to grow but was removed in just half a day. Not a job for the feint hearted!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Boat Shaped Kogo

This boat or "fune" kogo was also made by hand. A piece of clay is moulded into shape and left to stiffen. The lid piece is then cut free and the inside scooped out to make the receptacle for the incense. The lid is also scooped out and a small rim made with thin slabs of clay attached inside to secure the lid to the hull of the boat.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kogo in the shape of a Store House

These little boxes are used to hold incense for the Tea Ceremony. This one is in the form of a Kura, or Japanese store-house. They are usually made by hand and not much more than 5cm. in any dimension. During the Tea Ceremony two of the three small triangular flakes of incense are put onto the charcoal fire to perfume the room. The last piece of incense is left in the box and at a certain point during the ceremony the guest may ask to view and admire the box and its contents. Tomorrow I will post another of my kogo for you to see.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pond Flowers

These Marsh Mallow growing in my pond are looking very bright an happy at the moment. Soon the water iris and a little later the water lilies will be flowering so long as the ducks and pukeko don't pull them all up first.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Very Pretty Maple

This is a very pretty maple but is, unfortunately, very easily damaged by the wind. This one is reasonably sheltered and is looking at its best right now.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Fallen Acacia

The wind last week felled this acacia which I cleaned up yesterday. There are three other trunks to this tree all of which have a tremendous lean. Maybe they will be next Winter's firewood.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The last of the Winter Fires

It was cold enough last night to light my fire. This wonderful fireplace was designed by John Scott when he designed our house. The inner brick arch is reminiscent of a pottery kiln and gives a full view of the flame and is also wonderful for warming all of one's back.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cream Magnolia

This magnolia was one of Estelle's favourites. The plant is still not very big and has taken years to grow. This year it has a lovely show of flowers that haven't been spoilt by frost and has been sheltered from the sever winds we have had lately.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Kodai of Japanese Tea Bowl

The foot ring or "kodai" of this Japanese Tea Bowl was cut by hand and is, therefore, much softer and beautiful than one turned on a potters wheel. I am not sure where this chard would be from but probably from the Mino area in Japan.