Several months ago, 2 American potter-friends gave me their very nice 茶碗 ’Chawan’
as friendship gifts. I got wooden boxes made in Japan and have been thinking about 銘 ‘Mei’ [a special names] for them.
I also had to name one of my Chawan for my client in the States. It will be sent to a new home in California.
I felt I am out of practice with my 箱書 ‘Hakogaki’ skills. Instead waisting my time with web net-surfing, I should be practicing 書 ‘calligraphy’ more to make myself feel confident with it again.
Posted in anagamania
I have some little pots, displayed in my room. They are pretty small objects among my larger pottery collection. Most of visitors have overlooked as their attention have gone to some large vessels in the room.
However, with interesting personal episodes [how to came in my possession and became rather important pieces], I am rather attached to the smallest trio and pick each up for a closer look from time to time.
[photos by James Hazlewood]
Siberian chill in the air, but I could find a few signs of spring in my secret woods. My kiln-site has survived through winter wind blows and I should be able to put myself in full action really soon. As I am not keen on inviting visitors here to my kiln-site normally, so far my wife and James Hazlewood (a good friend of mine) are the visitors I am happy to have from time to time.
Yet I had rather special guests to my woods in the afternoon last Saturday. David Ballantyne’s son and daughter who would particularly like to see their father’s kickwheel. Steve is an architect lives in Tring and Candy is a furniture designer works in London. Both must have inherited their father’s talent. I found that their talk and questions were forcused and very precise not only about the kickwheel but also on my Anagama ‘Moby’. Later in that afternoon, I took them to Murray Fieldhouse (he’s 90 now) who personally knew more about their father well. It seemed they found something they didn’t know previously.
I have been living and working in Tring for almost 2 decades, after leaving Highgate in London for my wood-fire pottery. I didn’t know David Ballantyne’s son was living in the same town for 15 years and also worked as the governor of Grove Road Primary school in Tring for 10 years.
His family is currently planning to launch a new website for late father (1913~1990) and that’s why Steve found me and contacted through this blog. I will let all you know the new website on David Ballantyne when it is officially launched. What a coincidence!?!
Steve told me that he has never seen a brass turntableI on father’s wheel as usually they were made of alluminum and my wheel could be one of the earliest models. And I also learnt that many potters used to call Ballantyne’s wheel ‘the Rolls-Royce of the kickwheels’ in the 50’s and 60’s and Michael Cardew took one to Africa when he was working in Nigeria.
[I would like to thank James Hazlewood for taking those lovely photos of my wheel last summer]
I am going to be rather busy with 2 Anagama projects
in summer this year.
The first project is with the International Ceramics Festival 3rd-5th July in Aberystwyth as the festival committee asked me to build (a) mini-Anagama for this renowned event.
My Mini-Anagama Workshop starts on Friday, 19th of June [2 weeks prior to the festival] and finishes on Sunday 5th of July [along with the closing of the festival.
I am going to design (a) mini-anagama, one of smallish but serious Anagama. I will be building it for all wood-fire enthusiasts. It will be a modified version of my Amagama ‘Moby’ (2014~) with Mediaeval features plus pyrometers and sidestoking holes [just in case of needing them].
The workshop will be an intensive course in 15 days. All participants will be able to learn some theories and practical skills including ‘building mini-Anagama’ ‘potting with traditional methods’ and ‘4 day wood-firing’, so all participants would [should] be able to build their own mini-anagama by themselves and enjoy own wood-firings without spending a big budget, in the very near future.
I hope I would be able to pass my knowledge on Japanese Mediaeval pottery to wood-fire enthusiasts during the workshop and my lecture at the festival.
The final application details for the workshop will be announced shortly by the official of ‘International Ceramics Festival’. I will add their details (fees and accommodations) to my posts as soon as I receive the details.
It is my only appearance in a public event this year. I hope this will be interesting enough and very unique experience for potters [and future potters].
Immedietely after the ‘Festival’ in Aberystwyth in July, I am helping Anagama building for Lawrence Barrow who took up pottery in Kyoto, Japan a few years ago. His enthusiasm made him fully committed with Japanese pottery. He is studying and working in Kyoto and Shigaraki right now. He will be building his Anagama (slightly smaller than my ‘Moby’) in Wiltshire [using the secondhand bricks from my very first Anagama ‘Moby Dick’ (1996~2011)] with a few of his own features he would like to add.
More information about Lawrence’s Anagama Project will be posted as soon as I receive more details from him.
一年の計は元旦にあり : New year’s day is the key of the year.
All wood-firers ‘Have a Prosperous Year’.
All wood-fired vessel lovers ‘Have a Great Discovery for Your Collections’. (Gas)
As I use my ‘Raku-gama 楽窯’
for firing ‘Chawan 茶碗’
only, I have been thinking about my Raku tools should be designed and made for my purpose. Just about 2 weeks ago, I got my new Raku tools made by a local blacksmith.
I had an old pair of tongs which was given as my Christmas present (I am not sure that it was my birthday present as I was born on Christmas Eve). I have been using the tongs but I wasn’t totally happy with the crudely-made tool by one of U.K. potters’ suppliers. I have a few reference on Japanese Raku firing but I didn’t want an exact copy of Japanese tools either. Only way to satisfy my wish was to design my tools myself.
Later I learnt my local blacksmith, Paul Elliott’s ‘Hammer and Tongs’ has been established since 1988 and one of his most successful iron gates can be seen at Burlington Arcade (Piccadilly in London).