designed

Making more flowerpots at Shiho

史火陶芸教室で新しい植木鉢のシリーズを作り始めました。他の生徒さんが作った碗の質感と釉薬に感激して、自分で簡単なものを作りたかった。

右の植木鉢の縦線は底にある排水の溝とつなげます。対象の線は、グリップにもなります。左の植木鉢は構造的な機能だけを考えて、シンプルに作りました。生徒さんの一人が、この形はキャンドルスタンドに良いと言いました。

一回、焼いたあとで、釉薬をかけます。釉薬をかけないところもあって、そこは生地が見えて、感触を楽しめます。

素人なのに、先生のおかげで、作品がもっとすてきになりました。先生はいつも生徒のアイデアを後押しして、手伝ってくれて、良い作品ができあがります。とても良い先生です。

I am making a new flower pot series at Shiho ceramic studio. I was inspired by the texture and glazing of another student’s bowls, and wanted to create something simple.

The vertical lines on the right-side pot connect with the drainage channels on the bottom and also provide contrast and something to grip. The left-side pot was an experiment in removing material without compromising structural integrity. A fellow student suggested this would make a good candle holder.

After they’re baked the first time, I’ll apply the glaze. Usually I leave some parts unglazed so that you can see and feel the ceramic directly.

It’s a credit to the Shiho teachers that my amateur efforts turn out look more intentional and better designed than I am capable of. I like that they encourage me to do what I want, and yet somehow always ensure that my work turns out OK. That’s evidence of great teaching!

Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden

Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden

Traditional Japanese garden Kyu Shiba Rikyu dates to 1678 when land reclaimed from Tokyo Bay became the residence of Okugawa Tadatamo, an official of Tokugawa Shogunate. Kyu Shiba Rikyu is one of Tokyo’s oldest gardens, along with Koishikawa Korakuen. Kyu Shiba Rikyu was destroyed by fire in the 1923 earthquake, rebuilt and gifted by the Emperor as a city park.

Kyu Shiba Rikyu garden

Today this stroll garden with a focal pond and two small islands sits steps from Hamamatsuchou station, and surrounded by office buildings, bullet trains, the JR Yamanote line, a monorail, elevated train, and two elevated highways. The pond reflects manicured black pines, office towers and billboards. There is also a very elegant archery range with grass lawn, tatami seating area, and targets inked by hand. (See photos after the jump below).

Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden

The pond and island were created over 400 years ago to recall China’s Seiko Lake (Xi Hu) and Reizan sacred mountain in Hangzhou (Zhejiang). Like at Koishikawa Korakuen, Kyu Shiba Rikyu was created at a time when garden design, philosophy, literature, and painting all borrowed heavily from China. Given our last century’s conflicts between Japan and China, is it too much to hope for artistic borrowings in this century?

A wonderful garden diplomacy would be a photographic exploration of these 400 year old Japanese gardens and the Chinese landscapes that inspired them. How have the natural and designed environments changed? What contemporary landscapes could inspire today’s art exchanges?

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