Swanica explores Japan

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The cherry blossoms were in full bloom in the beginning of April in the Tokyo area. It is a beautiful sight!

Cherry blossoms, SAKURA, are the most beloved flowers by the Japanese. They symbolize the transience of life which is meshed well with the teachings of Buddhism, because of their short blooming time and fragility. Also, since cherry trees blossom en masse, they have also been used as a metaphor for clouds.

This is the Dankatsura Main Street in Kamakura, a path adorned on both sides with cherry trees.

Close-up of the "Sakura" flower.

The falling of the blossoms resembles the falling of snow and signifies being blessed in life. So, people sit in groups of family, friends or companies on blue tarps on the ground having a good time with each other with food and of course beer and sake. When the wind blows the little blossom leaves will fall on them.

This is in Ueno Park in Tokyo. So many people coming out to see and enjoy the "Sakura" flower.

A branch heavy from all the flowers.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

I made this "Oribe"plate at the Nippon Tougei Club.

In the mid-sixteenth century, the taste of ceramics changed from Chinese ceramics to domestically manufactured wares, or "wamono".
Sen no Rikyuo refined this change: the aesthetic of "wabi-cha": the spirit of simplicity of the tea ceremony. This unique world of "chado" (tea ceremony) used ceramic vessels and utensils rooted in Japanese aesthetics, especially Shino and Oribe ware from the Mino kilns.

Oribe ware was technically exquisite in its use of colored glaze, design, and shape. A variety of innovative ceramic wares, were manufactured, and an overglaze polychrome enamel was created that combined the new copper-green glaze, the most characteristic glaze of Oribe, with the traditional iron glaze.
In addition to the traditional round shape, we see objects with geometric shapes or those based on traditional designs, such as fan shapes and shapes that are purposely distorted.
The designs reflect those of mainly textiles: classical Japanese designs that were popular during the Heian period.
Oribe ware was fired in a multi-chamber climbing kiln, "Noborigama". This type of kiln made it possible to fire ceramics more effectively.

Some new results from my work in America.

Glazed horsehair, fumed,crazed Raku bowl.

The other side, front or back of the glazed horsehair Raku bowl.

The foot of the glazed horsehair Raku bowl.

Glazed, fumed decorated horsehair bowl.

The foot of the bowl.