Friday, November 25, 2016

INTIMACY

I was recently exchanging photos and emails with a fellow collector when they asked, where are the big pieces? I had to remark that we actually have very few large pots and have instead concentrated on pieces that circle around the sphere of the tea ceremony. These pots are mostly comprised of chawan, mizusashi, chaire and flower vases with some kogo, tokkuri, guinomi and yunomi thrown in for good measure and a certain degree of happenstance. In reality, our collecting has been mostly about the intimacy of objects that can be easily handled, fondled even and studied at arms length to get the fullest sense of the aesthetic and purpose. I am not excluding larger pieces intentionally, it is just that more often than not large pieces just lack the intimate nature of a chawan and surely the scale becomes imposing to handle, display or store and after years of being around potters and other artist who I have collected from and traded with, storage and display space is at a Ginza like premium in our small home.
Creating an intimate connection, this low, rounded Iga chawan feels right at home in the cupped hand, as if it were made to to fit me alone, though it fits equally as well in the hand of my wife and a few others who have handled it. The ability to finish a chawan so that the bottom and kodai work well together and are pleasing not only to the touch but to the eye is a well practiced skill won through years of trial, error, experience and dedicated patient observation and in this case it was created at the hands of the Iga specialist, Kojima Kenji. For this low and open chawan, Kojima first place a healthy swath of slip glaze around the mouth of the bowl which opens to a fire flashed rear where the face and back of the interior is covered in a coat of all natural ash glaze accumulated through an intense, near week long firing of his anagama kiln. Though simple in form and foot this bowl gives off a rather comforting intimacy that creates that sense of having know the piece for a very long time and what could be better than that?

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