So talking about the tiny pots and how we got to that point of making them – note they are in porcelain, a material that is precious and dainty.
The actual process involved and what each step means to me:
- Throwing off the hump carefully with minimum waste and the tiny bowl is ‘perfect’.
- It is squished somehow when put aside to make the next; the outside becomes rougher – some clay is pretty much ripped off the base at this stage.
- It is tidied up a little at the base and laid to dry.
- When dry, the base is made angular using a fettling knife, observing the new shape the base had through the process of becoming deformed.
As an interpretation of the project brief, to me this entire making process is about patience: it means understanding the importance of little slips of the hand, the impermanence of objects, the imperfection of an object, and how that affects the way one handles it… It means embracing all that the little pot is, without scrapping it for simply existing outside a sphere of ‘perfect’ objects devoid of any personality or dynamism. With these little bowls, I want to speak out about an object like this being a Once In a Lifetime Occurrence, like ichigo ichi-e (一期一会)… Japan’s cultural interest in imperfect objects has fascinated me for a long time.
I think I am coming to understand, though it is now years later, what Shibata-sensei in Tajimi (in Gifu prefecture, Mino, Japan) meant when he smilingly declared “Nature!” at the somewhat deformed bowl I had made, at my disappointed face looking at it.
This is something I care about deeply.