Monday, August 23, 2010


As Fred Schneider may say, “it’s a dreary downtown day”, overcast, occasionally raining and a hard day to get motivated. Everything is thrown now and sanded and I just finished loading the kiln for a bisque. My original estimate of there being 20% too much for a glaze firing was way off especially considering I kept throwing. I now have at least enough for a kiln and a half and together with some large pitchers I’ll throw next week, well on to a quick turn around bisque/glaze firing. I’ll glaze this Weds. And Thursday, load and hopefully glaze fire on Friday. Makes for a busy week.

One of the interesting things about the internet is the number of individuals I have met over the last decade because of pottery, mine and Japanese pots. I am constantly carrying on conversations that can last weeks with individuals half way around the world or in differing time zones of the US. A conversation I have been having was about the nature of simplicity in pottery. There would seem to be an exceedingly fine line between an exciting kohiki chawan and a dull bowl. Most styles of pottery can be exciting and complex in their simplicity, but the truth is the simpler the pot, the greater the potter must be to articulate simple form and surface to engage the viewer.

Illustrated is a Shino chawan by master Japanese potter Okabe Mineo. At first glance it may almost seem innocuous in its appearance, but as you begin to study the form and the posture of the bowl, the undulation of the lip, the simple and abstract iron brush work under the glaze and the casually placed finger print in the glaze, you realize, this is no simple chawan. I have seen a number of Okabe Mineo pieces, and what is ever apparent, is that he has mastered the complex art of simplicity.