Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

More from Bizen

This is another beautiful old pot from the Imbe Museum collection. While in Tokyo we were given a letter of introduction to Fujiwara Rakusai-san of Imbe. We found his place without too much trouble and spent a most wonderful afternoon with him. He could not understand English any more than Estelle or I could understand Japanese.
With the language of potters we seemed to communicate extremely well and he showed us many of his ceramic treasures as well as his kilns and workshop. He was a wonderful gentleman.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Two Bizen Pots

These two photographs were taken at Imbe in Japan in 1978. We have always loved Bizen ware and understood the process used to produce it. On later visits, when we were viewing the Bizen pots in the department store collections, we would be approached by the manager or one of his staff, and told of the methods used. They were often somewhat confused about the process and, having succeeded ourselves with producing Bizen wares, we had to smile at their confusion.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Different Salt Glazing

In 1978 Estelle and I visited Tokoname and in a small gallery saw these pots made by Masaaki Shibata-san. We thought they had been salt glazed but somehow seemed different from the usual salt glazing. On talking with the gallery owner we were told that the pots had been fired with rippings from logs that had been rafted for a long distance through the sea. The outside of the logs had absorbed salt from the water and, when used in their firings, had released the salt giving these unusual effects.

Monday, December 19, 2011

With Friends in Japan

My friend Kanji-san feeding a swan on one of the hydro dams we visited after which we went to a fish shop to get a fresh fish for tea. Harumi-san, Kanji's wife, had just caught a fresh fish from this tank, knocked it on the head, and taken it into the shop. Kanji looks as shocked as Estelle and I were at seeing this but the sashimi we had for tea was delicious.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Kenzan Dish and Thinking of Christmas

A comment posted by Cambria Pottery about an earlier posting of some Kenzan dishes reminded me of this picture of another unusual Kenzan serving dish. The other picture is of Estelle and me talking with Kumau Ohta in his home with the newly formed garden in the background. Somehow it reminds me of Christmas as it was mid summer in Japan when we were there and, in New Zealand, Christmas is our summer time.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lions and Dolphins

These pieces were being made at the Daibutsu Tile Factory in Kyoto for the refurbishment of the Heian Shrine in Kyoto. Even larger dolphins were made for temples like the Todaiji in Nara. Wonderful clay work.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Large Ceramic Sculptures

This small castle is at Hirosaki and, although not shown in this image, has wonderful ceramic sculptured "Lion's Head" and "Dolphin" ornamentation on the end tiles and roof finials. We visited the factory and saw these large pieces being very skilfully made.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Having spoken of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in my last blog, I wondered how the beauty spot of Matsushima had fared. Considered by the Japanese as being one of the three best beauty spots in Japan. It would have been in the path of the tsunami although the shape of the inlet may have protected many of its features. There has been no mention of damage that I have seen but, of course, there were so many other things damaged that were more important at the time.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Aizu Wakamatsu

We visited Koichi Takita-san when we were in Japan and found him to be such a friendly and generous person as well as a very good potter. He had worked as an instructor in Colombo and his English was excellent. A mutual friend and I have tried to contact him following the earthquake and tsunami without success. He seems to have moved away from Aizu Wakamatsu. I was wondering whether anyone has any information regarding his where-abouts and how much he was affected by the March disaster.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Couple of Snakes

Jets seem to fly over Hawke's Bay from Chile to Australia as there are no New Zealand airports in either direction indicated by this contrail. The "Snake" container is made from a very long extruded tube twisted back in its-self. On our first visit to Japan we were waiting at the airport in Okinawa to return to New Zealand. Two customs officers came and spoke with us asking whether NZ was a very mountainous country. They seemed to know quite a lot about NZ and that we were from there. We said that NZ was much like Japan with lots of mountains. They then wanted to know whether we had snakes in NZ - which we don't. They then told us that in Japan there is a saying that "Every mountain has it's snake" so why did NZ have mountains but no snakes?

Monday, December 5, 2011

More Pond Pictures

A couple more pictures of my Iris and Water lilies. I must try and find some more pot images but I have already posted all the best ones on my blog and I am not making new work.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Iris and Water lilies

Nothing like Monet's Garden but I do enjoy the Iris and Water lilies at this time of the year.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

More Flowers from My Garden

Here is another picture of iris from my garden. These are water iris and are most prolific but only flower for a short time each year. The other is an earlier photograph of the cystus by the steps with the house in the background.