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March 30, 2010 Clementina

                       Pair of tea bowls, wheel-thrown distorted


“The autumn’s approach,            

not yet is it apparent
for the eyes to behold;
yet the sharpness of the wind
gives a sudden feeling of it.
                     FUJIWARA TOSHIYUKI
                            Yesterday’s freshly thrown teabowls...

                        Final series of tea bowls
“Wherever I look                                        
cherry blossom, crimson leaves
nowhere to be seen;
a rush-thatched hut by the cove
in the twilight of autumn.”

A continuation of my exploration of spontaneity, I have been throwing on the wheel, making teabowls for an exhibition in April at The Clay Museum. ‘Zen in the art of the tea ceremony’ by Horst Hammitzsch, a book I have owned for decades, refreshed my interest in this discipline and provided a timely inspiration for the current concerns in my work. Mainly a sense of freedom, going with the flow, just ‘being there’. This may all seem a bit anachronistic in some ways, a throw back to the trends of the 70’s in the west, but the principles remain timeless and remain for me , always, something to strive (or not strive as it were!) for..

I use a charcoal earthenware throwing clay to make irregular shapes, dipped randomly into a cream slip and then incised, and later accents of red underglaze added. Also a bit of underglaze pencil drawing and here and there some poetic lines…
“Why must it be here
that you would spread your fragrance,
you maiden-flower,
where vulgar gossip spreads
its poison in this world?”
There is an interesting article in the Ceramic Review no.225 May/June 2007 “The Beauty of Imperfection” by Bonnie Kemkse in which she brings her experiences of ceramics and the Japanese tea ceremony to reflect on the abiding influence of the tea bowl in the west. 

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