Friday, July 8, 2011


“ ‘I want to learn about pottery. What book should I read?’ I am sometimes asked. ‘I want to see a pretty girl, what book should I read?’ That’s what the Zen monk Sengai (1750-1837) would retort if he were alive.” Kitaoji Rosanjin (1883-1959)

I have often found this quote by Rosanjin particularly interesting. In over two decades of making pots, I have been asked that question more times than I care to recount, but the irony is that was the very same question I asked many years back. While engaged in writing an article on modern Japanese pottery, I met with Bill Klock and one of the first questions I asked was; “what book should I read to learn how pottery is made?”. Though Bill is not Rosanjin, he simply smiled and replied; “all of them”. With a grin still on his face, he suggested I come down and get my bearings by watching people make pots and trying it out myself. I am still not sure if going to the pottery studio for that first time was a good idea or not. The verdict is still not in.

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