Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pottery at Fukui, Japan

When we traveled to Echizen, Japan in 1978 we went to Fukui and were warmly welcomed by Zeikan Hatekeyama-san and his wife. This is just one of his beautiful pots fired in the kiln shown here. Hatekeyama-san maintained that when pots came out of the firing they were extremely dry so he soaked his in a drain for six months so that they would absorb some moisture and enliven the colours. I am sure that pots do improve as they adjust to atmospheric moisture.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Raindrops a pretty things as long as you don't have too many all at once.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Last of Autumn

Before we forget how beautiful our autumn colours were this year here are two photos of trees taken recently. The birds are already eating the persimmons and the frosts have started with ice on my pond the last two mornings.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Unusual Colours

The cylinder is one of Estelle's showing some carbon trap purple which we did obtain occasionally. More unusual is the white edging shown on my hexagonal jar. This is considered very special in Japan. The jar was made using a combination of slab building and thrown elements. Tricky to make but lots of fun.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Two More Pots By Fukudenji Sensei.

These two pots by Fukudenji Sensei show the unusual murasaki, or purple, colour which we could only achieve on a few occasions. These were on pots stacked close to the fire where embers built up over them and only slowly burned away. Trouble was that in this area pots often got broken with the wood spreading too far sideways when we stoked. Anagama kilns can produce wonderful colours but not without risk.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Musashi-gama, Hyogo, Japan.

These pots were made by Fukudenji Daiei Sensei at his Musashi-gama in Himeji Japan. The white markings were made by soaking fishing net in white slip and placing over the piece before firing. The second photograph was taken at an Ikenobo Ikebana exhibition in Kyoto showing how this pot was used by a Master of Ikebana. We never heard what happened but Fukudenji Sensei was, at the time (1982), building a kiln in Versailles, France, which was also to be called Musashi-gama.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Slab Building

When we were in Japan we saw no slab building techniques that were anything like those that I had developed. These salt herring pots that we saw at Aizu Hongo were the closest but were assembled using wooden formers to hold the sides together during the joining process. The slab bottle shapes we saw were press molded in two parts and then joined along the diagonal edges as was this lovely little bottle we bought in Mashiko.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

These Torii pathways are wonderful to see and walk through. The top picture is at the main Inari Shrine shown in my last blog. It goes for hundreds of meters up the hill - each torii having been donated to the shrine. The second image was taken at Izushi which is a lovely small town in the Tottori Prefecture.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Fox in Japan

In Japan the fox is revered as a mystical and mischievos animal. Many stories are told about the fox and many shrines are to be seen in all sorts of strange places. The top picture was taken just a few steps away from the hotel we were staying at in Aoyama, Tokyo. The other picture is of one of a pair of fox statues in front of the Inari Taisha Shrine at Inari City. A wonderful place to buy Inari Sushi, one of my favorites.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

This poor Kingfisher slammed into the glass of one of my windows and was very poorly for about 20 minutes but slowly recovered and finally flew away. I hope it learned from the experience. The nest is of a New Zealand Fantail and I love the use it has made of lichen. Fantails are very small and active and so are very hard to photograph. One day I will get a good pictire to show.