Monday, January 04, 2010

a sense of occasion

Australian expatriate potter living in Japan, Euan Craig recently posted a blog on the Japanese tradition of boxing special works . Works of special significance are boxed in paulownia boxes, resistant to fire, and rot and marked with calligraphy denoting the contents and the maker's kanji. The bowl itself is wrapped in yellow tumeric dyed cloth, also marked, and placed inside the box. This subtle and poetic tradition leads to a sense of occasion, and anticipation when the owner of the pieces uses the vessel. Using a pot boxed in this way involves an active decision about which moment calls for the pot.

Although I am a strong advocate of handmade pots for everyday use, there is something special about getting a pot from a cupboard, admiring it as you indulge in the private sensory moment of unpacking, running your hands over the vessel, reacquainting yourself with the curves, foot and maker's marks on the underside. This private moment leads to a sense of celebration when the table is set with the "best china", it is something I remember vividly from childhood. I loved going to the china cabinet and choosing which of the special pieces to use, it smelled dusty and sharp.......and exciting.
The images are all of Euan Craig's teabowls you can see more of these and read his gentle and illuminating explorations of these pieces here

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