Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I have always been amazed how a simple line, mark, cut or throwing gesture can alter the entire perspective of a pot. With or without these additions, a pot can either sink or swim and in some cases, it is the casualness of a line that elevates a pot to greatness. The issue with any of these additions to a pot is that they need to be natural and not fussed over and certainly not seemed contrived or superfluous. I can think of a great many potters who have proven track records for their additions to a pot, but potters like Hamada Shoji and Kawai Kanjiro are certainly at the top of the list.

Sometimes it is not the addition of a mark or a line that articulates a pot, sometimes it is what is removed. Illustrated is a close up of a take-zu, bamboo form hanaire by Shigaraki & Iga master, Furutani Michio. Working with a conventional archetype, Furutani ever so casually and skillfully removed a "window" from the form. The cuts are fast and casual, the opening neither precise nor sloppy. With four delft strokes, he altered the pot and created a negative space that allows shadow and depth to provoke the eye to seeing into the soul of the pot. In the firing, the pot sags just a bit where there is no area to support the lip and collar above, further accentuating the gesture of the space and pot. The frozen drops of bidoro off the top cut, just adds to the drama and tension created by the form and firing. It is simply amazing, that so little can end up saying so much.

"The whole is simpler than the sum of the parts."    Willard Gibbs (1839-1903)

(Used with the kind permission of a collector)