Today, I finally got my first decent sized batch of works out from the kiln! ^^ It always starts out incredibly hopeful… but after seeing some of the results, I realised there were tons of little mistakes I’d made with the underglazes. Mainly with them having been painted on way too thickly. A lot of the Cobalt and Iron oxide underglazes I’d painted on had dribbled due to the runny Ofuke glaze and gotten stuck to the kiln shelves. I felt so bad! Since I’d painted them a little too thickly, the underglaze colours themselves ran quite a bit and looked a lot harsher than expected. But for sure, it was a fantastic learning experience. Not just about the glazing mistakes I’d made but it was also the opportunity to have a look at every else’s works to gain ideas for subsequent glazing attempts. Funnily enough, some of my own works which I’d thought had flopped and were not particularly keen on, M and V really liked, and vice versa. Some items of theirs which they didn’t think had worked well, I ended up really liking and wanting to try for the next round. It’s a good reminder of the subjectivity of art. In the end though, it’s more important that it’s well made. That doesn’t change even if the decoration does.
Love looking at all the fresh of the kiln works~! =) And hearing the gentle chorus of tinkling from them as they cool down to room temperature.
Apart from that, it was also the start of the Kama Meguri 窯巡りor Neighbourhood Pottery Studio Walkabout. It’s an annual weekend event for the area of Akazu that Sensei’s part of the organising committee for and people from all over Japan come to Seto’s Akazu to check out the pottery studios, many of which have been passed down multiple generations. (Sensei is the 12th Generation Potter for his family’s studio and there are many others with just as long an incredible history!) In the morning, V, M and I were busy working in the studio. Once you start it gets hard to leave especially since you’ve already gotten your hands dirty. ^^ The making process just gets so addictive.
We met some friends of Sensei’s who came by to visit and chatted with us, always looking rather surprised that we were staying for so long. Some elderly Japanese men had particularly good English when they spoke to us. One man was from Brazil, lived in Nagoya as he worked for Toyota, and requested to take a photo of M, who was throwing something on the wheel. He was a hobby photographer who usually went around different parts of Japan taking photos of nature but he really wanted to take a shot of a potter in action. So he was extremely gleeful when he managed to finally get the shot he’d been waiting for.
Sensei’s mum and his part time staff busy at the till that day!
(With the pink carnations we’d gotten for Sensei’s mother for Mother’s Day~ )
Eventually around lunch time Sensei recommended we haul our asses out of the studio to explore the 60 plus pottery families’ studios in the area because ‘tomorrow it will rain so today is best time to walk around’. (Indeed, it DID rain the next day and we had to take our hats off to Sensei’s impeccable ability to plan the best schedule daily based on the weather.) By the time we managed to clean up and were ready to get out of the studio it was around 2pm. I remember because I was starrrrving. Thought there would be some pop up cafe stalls around the neighborhood due to the walkabout but unfortunately, nothing except light bites like cookies, coffee/tea, and incredibly…Tripe pasta. 😉 I was thinking I’d get the Tripe pasta if I didn’t see anything else appetising by the time I got back after the walkabout.
It was really interesting seeing the neighborhood come to life like never before. It’s usually so quiet with hardly any people walking about the streets but that day there were so many people from all around. We definitely stood out though, with V’s blonde hair and bits of stuck to our clothing. I really enjoyed finally being able to legitimately check out the neighborhood potters’ studios and to have a look at their items. It’s always so fun to see variations of the glazes that we’d be able to use at the studio. Guessing how these potters created a particular effect. Marvelling at the use of Cobalt underglaze in intricate designs.
In the end, my hunger got the better of me and I ended up retreating back to the studio in the hopes of some Tripe to fill my tummy. Unfortunately, the Tripe seller had sold out of all his speciality Tripe!! You snooze, you lose.
In the end, ended up cooking something like my usual pasta and while waiting for the water to boil in the pantry, I remember hearing the sounds of the singer/band performing in the garage space a few doors down. It felt great being able to listen to live music from the kitchen. Looking out from the window next to the sink, I could see the performances going on. And even the line-dancing that took place at the end…with Sensei getting in line to dance! Ever amazed at the sheer amount of energy he has.
Wrote in my diary that night:
“Trying out second tea pot.
Trying out flower vases – haven’t quite understood the bit about pulling up the neck of the vase.
Need to read up/ask M-san perhaps
Kinda like this period of figuring out the technique
Knowing that this is the stage when I’m learning the most
Lots of trial and error, feeling what’s right and what’s not
Of course happy if it doesn’t take too long but there is something..
about figuring out the technique finally that gives that sense of satisfaction.”