Monday, June 13, 2011


With the simple thud of an apple, Sir Issac Newton, informed the world of what potters had know since the earliest times. As you throw a pot, something, let’s call it gravity, acts on the pot and tries to bring it all crashing down. It is in essence, just one of the physical principles that can be easily observed while engaged in making pottery. Gravity is just a law we must all just give into, like it or not. Newton may have formulated the principle, but lets face it, even a prehistoric kid knew when he tossed a rock up into the air and it bonked him on the head on the way down, what goes up, must come down.

That being said, gravity isn’t so bad. Illustrated is a tall cylindrical Iga vase by Kishimoto Kennin. The vase was wood fired in an anagama over a long period of time, perhaps 5 to 7 days. During the course of the firing, ash built up heavily on the shoulder and in time, together with sufficient heat, the dam burst and the ash began to cascade down the pot in rivers of green glaze, wonderful bidoro. Though there are a great many times that a potter may dislike and even battle with the laws of physics and gravity itself, this is not one of those times. In time, I think I can even learn to like gravity……………….

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