The day I learnt a new word – ブチ切れる. To flip out. ^^; Unfortunately, not in a good way.
That said, it wasn’t so much of a ‘flip out’ like the sort you’d expect in the movies/tv series with people really going crazy, flipping tables, punching walls or screaming and causing tears. For someone as kind, patient and friendly and Sensei, it was more of being able to tell he was not pleased with the situation and there was an undercurrent of frustration going on inside. M-san could tell right away and I suppose having been at the studio the longest compared to the two newcomers, I could also tell he was upset.
Not without good reason though because if it’s one thing I’d learnt about Sensei, it’s that he gets upset when he sees that we aren’t using the clay well/’wasting clay’. The clay is always recycled but it’s a long, time-consuming and tedious process of watering it down again till it’s mushy, drying it in a plaster bowl then putting it through a pug mill to be compressed again before it can be used. All of which could of course be cut down if the student uses the clay well. Not just saving clay by making things well (of suitable thickness) but also trimming pieces when the clay is of the optimum leather-hard condition. In other words, taking care of the clay.
That day, he happened to see L trim pieces which were much drier than expected. Despite him advising her to take better care of those pieces and trim them when they were softer, perhaps it had to do with a bit of a language barrier, but she persisted. Coupled with the fact that he must have been so tired out from the daily commute to Nagoya for his exhibition, he happened to notice the clay fragments that had piled up around our wheels…around my wheel as well ^^;; and told us that we needed to get things cleaned up. M-san said that it was a matter of bad timing because the amount of clay dirt that had accumulated on the floor was pretty much at baseline level. She usually does a huge spring cleaning twice a year, once in autumn and once in winter, but it so happened that he noticed this time. I didn’t mind though, because it made me reflect about how I could have better maintained my work space. We were indeed making use of/renting Sensei’s studio space for our works but we ought to respect the space, and keep it as clean as possible for everyone’s spirits.
In the afternoon, I did a bit of underglaze painting with iron oxide to use with Shino glaze. Sensei’s mum came into the painting room while I was there looking at references and she was so kind, giving me some advise on the seasonal motifs and how I could improve on my paintings.
That night, M-san and I did lots of hard cleaning. Hard to me of course, but for her, nothing compared to her usual spring cleaning routine in which she literally removes all the wheels from the studio in order to clean up the entire floor space. First we swept up the dry pieces. Then wet the bits that had caked up to the floor. Then used sponges to remove them. After which we used the mop to mop away the surfaces. Lots of work, lots of sweat. But to me, it was also a fun memory of sorts. Almost like how in detention, students who go through it end up developing a bond of sorts. Not sure if M-san felt that way, but I definitely felt it was a memory to look back on with fondness, cleaning out the messy side of the studio, while listening to all sorts of music. In the end we ended up listening to some strange upbeat Japanese synthesizer music in which the voice singing belonged to a computer and not a real person… Strangely enough, it didn’t sound half bad.
Wrote in my journal that night:
First time seeing Sensei get a little angry
Mixture of fatigue and frustration at seeing student not following his preferred technique probably
At night, helped out with cleaning up to Bokero music lol
FINALLY got my lids to fit well
And made two teapots I can really be proud of
All that’s left now is to pray
Did some painting of oribe stuff quite fun
Swatting away mozzies at the same time
Got sensei’s mum’s advice on flowers and seasonal motifs
Had nice tea with Gio and Megumi – dark chocolate and cardamom cookies
Skype lesson after cleaning session at night
So tired out! So many more things to want to make with my time here ahhhh
Just love this feeling of well, not limitless possibilities but the freedom and liberties with the Mind. And to be able to try out new ideas and feel they are possible.”