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Potting plants for Shiho student ceramic show

今日は史火陶芸教室の展示会の準備をします。どんな植物がいろいろな植木鉢と似合うだろう。着生植物や季節の花と紫キャベツを使おうと思っています。土曜日から展覧会が始まります。写真は、最後の植木鉢の釉がけ前のです。

Today I am potting up plants and getting my flowerpots ready for the Shiho student ceramic show. Above are the last two larger flower pots. When I go to the studio today, I’ll see how they look after being glazed and baked.

The one with the holes can be used with a candle, or you can place a plant inside that you’ve bought at the nursery in its original plastic pot. I like that it’s lighter weight, transparent, and easy to swap plants in and out.

I am also showing small pots and smaller bonsai pots. I have an idea for untraditional bonsai plantings, including air plants that can be removed so you can see the whole ceramic pot. For the larger pots, I’ll try to mix seasonal flowers, purple leafed cabbage, and some of the plants Matthew left in the back garden.

The show starts this Saturday and runs for five days. I’ll be at the gallery on Saturday from  3ish to 7, on Sunday from 5 to 7, and sometime next week depending on my work schedule.

Making bonsai pots at Shiho

史火の教室で盆栽用の植木鉢を作っています。

In the aftermath of the tsunami and nuclear crisis, it seems many have retreated into their homes and offices. Now more than ever is the time to go outside, interact with neighbors, and support your local small businesses in Tokyo: restaurants, vegetable shops, artisans, and creative studios.

I started making a series of bonsai pots at the ceramic studio Shiho. Here’s the basic process:

Step 1: Create shapes. Form clay into a block, slice off slabs, place slabs around molds covered in cheese cloth, remove, and let sit to harden.

Step 2 (between 2 days and 2 weeks after creating shapes): Trim the tops and sides. Add holes and channels for drainage. Carve name in bottom.

Step 3: First firing.

Step 4: Add glaze. I will leave each pot partly unglazed to show off the clay.

Step 5: Second firing.

The whole process may take 6 to 8 weeks, depending on the studio’s firing schedule and my free time.

Zoushigaya micro-gardens (part 3)

Old Tokyo neighborhoods like Zoushigaya are full of plant lovers who manage to create gardens where there is almost no space. This type of passion for gardening cannot be replicated by large scale developers. What is amazing is the ingenuity and sheer variety of plants grown by residents.

Above there are five or more plants growing vertically along a narrow path that would otherwise be a grim cinder block and metal siding wall between properties. The gardener seems to have used large blue laundry clips to espalier these hardy plants.

To the left you can see how a corner garden softens the edge of the street and marks the change of seasons. Just as the house reveals that the structure has been added to over time, you can see a mix of mature plants, including raphis palms, with recently bought annuals. Again, all sorts of readily at hand materials are recycled into the garden, including astroturf, cinder blocks, and the red folding chair.

While I like the chaos of this garden, the one below shows how you can have a no flower, more traditional looking Japanese garden growing in the intermediate space between residence and street. The trees look mature and regularly trimmed.

The last images show the beauty of a single plant that has found its way through one of a series of regularly placed holes in a cement wall. I think it’s very pleasing to see a hardy plant bringing life to a hard surface. I wonder if this effect of private public space blurring was intentional or accidental?