Fire on Tuesday

I have finished closing the kiln and will start the fire on Tuesday.

This firing has taken me longer than any I have done. The main reason for that is that for quite a long time I was considering if I should give up ceramics.  I didn’t feel the passion I have always felt for making things and it had become a chore.  I have never sold that much so making and firing has never been a question of need of income.  The thing that changed was the discovery that what I like help doing best of all is helping people.  I really enjoy helping people figure out how to do kintsugi. I run this site, kintsugi and I like the interaction with people who are trying to figure out the technical aspects of kintsugi and also the metaphor of kintsugi.  The entire time I have been doing ceramics, about 18 years, I have never had that connection, helping people, that is essential for me to find meaning in any work. I like making work, love firing it, but don’t enjoy talking about my work, any of the metaphor behind it, especially don’t enjoy dealing with galleries.   I decided that if I couldn’t find that connection to making ceramics then I would give it up. I spent about 1-2 months with that thought and truthfully felt sad about the thought of completely giving them up.  I finally realized that the way I am helping people is that there are a lot of people who want work like I am making and I am helping them get that work by making it and firing it.  Duh, you might say.  You are right. It is just that making/firing and selling to me have been 2 different islands.  I have just imagined a 3rd. island which includes people happy with what I have made.

door closed (1) door closed (2)

Nobori firing, first room.

I have been stumped with this firing trying to figure out what to put into the first room. That is backwards from the usual dilemma where the second room needs things.  In 2011, in the Tohoku region of Japan there was a 9.0 magnitude earthquake that left over 18,000 people dead and missing.  It was the strongest earthquake to every hit Japan and the 4th. strongest anywhere in the world.

I made over 2,000 tiles with a plan to make some kind of memorial to those who lost their lives and tried to fund it through a Kickstarter project. The project failed to reach the goal and I didn’t finish the project.

In the first room I am going to bisque fire the tiles and then will think about what to do with them. The photos show less than 1/2 of them in the stacks in the first room.

Tiles (1) Tiles (2) Tiles (3)

Real nanban ceramics

I recently bought this antique pot. It is referred to as Nanban in Japan. Nanban has always been a slippery term to ‘translate’. The term covers everything that came in to Japan through Dejima, the port around Nagasaki.  It also includes the Portuguese, Dutch,  and other foreigners that the Japanese saw as uncivilized and wild looking.

This pot is Nanban, fired somewhere in South East Asia.  Completely unassuming. It is perfect for tea or ikebana.

Nanban (1) Nanban (2) Nanban (3) Nanban (4) Nanban (5) Nanban (6) Nanban (7) Nanban (8)