Friday, March 30, 2012


Illustrated are two views of a "simple" chawan by legendary Mashiko potter; Shimaoka Tatsuzo (1919-2007).  The eye is immediately drawn to the ash covered lip and drawn into the bowl to be overwhelmed by the ash flow and thick pool of glass at the bottom of the bowl. Though the bowl would seem simple in design and execution, it was masterfully created and fired, to accentuate and animate the pot. The ridge that circles the chawan at mid-point, collects the ash as it runs down from the lip creating a line of deeply colored glass formed from the natural ash inside the kiln with the ridges of the foot also collecting ash to distinctly distinguish it from the body of the bowl. It speaks to the mastery of clay and fire, that a potter could understand how the chawan would transform, once it was fired. It would seem that any idea that can be done, can be stripped to the barest of essentials and made pure in its simplicity and this chawan is just such a pot. That so simple a pot could have some much energy to share with the viewer is truly a testament to any potter.

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