Our home, which is built into the side of a hill, faces south and takes full advantage of the sun as it crosses from east to west. In the back corner of the house is a room, at one time a bedroom, we have converted to a library and display area. At just the right time each day, the sun washes into the room from a rather oblique angle lighting up pots as it moves ever more westward. This is one of my favorite times of day to look at a pot that is up on a storage tansu as the sun baths the pot in light. The pot, moves as the sun moves with varying effects highlighted and dramatic reflections and shadows created that are unique each and every day. This instance is one of those moments that conveys the beauty, majesty and essence of the piece and is just another of the myriad of conversations that I can have with a pot. These are some of the moments why I am grateful to live with pottery.
Illustrated is a rather large, O-tsubo by master, veteran Shigaraki potter, Okano Noriyo (b.1937). Having first studied with Kyoto salt firing pioneer, Iwabuchi Shigeya, once finishing his apprenticeship he founded his own studio/kiln specializing in anagama fired Shigaraki pottery. This pot was fired with the mouth slightly tilted toward the fire and the entire shoulder was covered with ash which over time built up, melted and blazed it own series of trails down the circumference of the pot. From my perspective, this pot is truly majestic as it is illuminated by the incoming sunlight in the late afternoon.