Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Rough bottles and Hiroshima Kazuo

Back in September, two people in Harwich bought a pair of rough, Shino-glazed squared bottles from me at the Cranberry Festival craft show. That's all it takes, apparently, to set me off to making more of the same form ... two people spending $50 each for pots that had sat in my gallery for about two years. Where's the sense in that?
Never mind, though. I make a lot of pots and there are some forms that I particularly like and the tall bottle - squared or round - is one of them. There are several in the studio drying now - four- and seven-pound bottles. They're uniformly thrown, but the walls are fairly thick. That's partly because I throw that way and partly because when I run the rib up the sides I want enough clay to take the deforming without collapsing. The bottles are intended to be used as vases, but who knows how people might use them. They'll all be glazed in one Shino or another.
The other news is today's arrival of a gift from an anonymous (sort of) blog reader. Maybe 15 years ago when I wrote for a living in Washington, I covered the a show at the Sackler Museum called "A Basketmaker in Rural Japan." It was an astonishing show of bamboo baskets, fish traps and household implements by traditional basketmaker Hiroshima Kazuo. (The most recent reference I can find for him online shows him at 94 in 2009, sitting happily with guests at his home in Hinokage.) These were pieces of fully functional art made by a man who had been doing it all his adult life. Louise Allison Cort curated the exhibition for the Sackler. A fine film of the basketmaker at work accompanied the show.
The book is remarkable and I recommend it to anyone who loves seeing the products of a functional artist working at the very top of his game. We owned a copy of the book for years, but it got very wet at one point, deteriorated and then was lost. Now, I have a brand new copy and I'm grateful to whoever sent it. It came with a lovely inscription, but was not signed. It did, however, include a printout of a Kamaka Pottery blog post, with two of my comments on it. So I suspect New Zealander Bruce Martin, though how he arranged the whole thing I have no idea. Thank you, Bruce, or whoever sent it. I'm taking it with me to Maine tomorrow to read while we're in Lubec with Dee's brother Jim and his wife Marilyn.
The photos: 13-inch tall bottle, a group of smaller bottles, and a creel by Hiroshima Kazuo.


Linda Starr said...

The joy of making, giving, and appreciating, how wonderful.

Tracey Broome said...

Beautiful bottles, I still love the photo I shot through your studio window of the bottle sitting on the ledge. In my next life I'm going to be a weaver and a basket maker, I'm so interested in these baskets now, gotta go do some googling!

Hollis Engley said...

It's difficult to find images of his work on the web, but there's a blog i found that has some. Unfortunately, i'm in maine now. Back monday and i'll track it down.

cookingwithgas said...

what a wonderful surprise for you to receive.
I feel you are one of those people who good folks gravitate to and you are always one of those folks that it is easy to share with.
Best to all the family and know we are thinking of you all.
Hugs all around.
Oh- and you know I love a good bottle and those are pretty tasty!

david fleig said...

I was first exposed to Hiroshima Kazuo about 15 years ago. I'm not sure if it is still there, but at that time the museum of folk art in santa fe NM had a video with him and severl other traditional craftsmen. It was amazing.