But now for the first time I understand

I did a quick search for a Song poem online for this post and this one jumped out at me. I feel it relates to some of the paintings I have been working on lately. But anyway I heard some interesting news this week. A Song dynasty bowl recently sold at auction for 26.7 million U.S. dollars. That is an astonishing amount of money and is hard to comprehend. It’s interesting to consider how many bowls could be purchased from practicing makers today. Here is a poem from the Song Dynasty by Wang Li.

“In my dream I scratch my head and get up and listen.
I listen and listen, until the dawn.
All my life I have heard rain,
and I am an old man;
but now for the first time I understand
the sound of spring rain
on the river at night.”

– Yang Wanli

AP Photo/Kin Cheung

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17612167

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2125032/Chinese-Song-dynasty-dish-sells-26-7m.html

A handle and jars to share

I should be posting some paintings and drawings soon. But how long have I been saying that? I haven’t really liked much of my work lately. But when do I anyway? This is just a quick post. I found this link through one of my favourite pottery blogs http://slipware.blogspot.com/2012/02/saturday-and-sunday-on-monday.html .

http://www.rammuseum.org.uk/Collections/ The Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery has some interesting work online to explore. These aren’t the best photographs that I have seen from a museum website but there is an interesting variety of work.From Pitcher handle fragments to English delftware. What else could anyone want from a website? Though there search function needs to be improved.D

Saxo Norman Pitcher Handle

Drug (Ointment) Jar
Pharmacy Jar

Some Cups

Here are some cups I found from my local thrift store. They are made by an old pottery from Collingwood Ontario. Here is a wikipedia link about it. And a link to the fan club. I remember a fun lecture about glazes from an instructor at Sheridan about buying their glaze materials at auction. One member of the class thought he was telling the class that he liked this type of pottery and became incensed when he found out that someone thought he liked it. Anyway it looks like I missed this years Blue Mountain Pottery convention again.

A page in history

“Harper’s agenda is disastrous for this country and for my generation,” 

I’m sorry that I haven’t been blogging recently. I have had politics on my mind frequently in the past few months. I try to keep politics and my blog separated from each other. Though some of my recent things are leaning politically. Well my sort of ceramics stuff anyway. But I wanted to write a post about the recent throne speech. A young woman Brigette Marcelle (Depape) decided to stage a protest in the Senate chamber. Brigette Marcelle (Depape) was a senate page and she smuggled a paper stop sign that read “Stop Harper” here is the press release she sent out explaining her action. Here is a link to a facebook page you could like if you support her action.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 3, 2011
Senate Page disrupts Throne Speech
Harper’s disastrous agenda needs to be stopped with creative action and civil disobedience
Ottawa – During the reading of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s throne speech today, a young page was yanked from the Senate Chamber as she tried to hold up a stop sign placard reading “Stop Harper.”
“Harper’s agenda is disastrous for this country and for my generation,” Brigette Marcelle says. “We have to stop him from wasting billions on fighter jets, military bases, and corporate tax cuts while cutting social programs and destroying the climate. Most people in this country know what we need are green jobs, better medicare, and a healthy environment for future generations.”
Brigette Marcelle*, 21 and a recent graduate from University of Ottawa, has been a Page in the Senate for a year, but realized that working within parliament wouldn’t stop Harper’s agenda.
“Contrary to Harper’s rhetoric, Conservative values are not in fact Canadian values. How could they be when 3 out of 4 eligible voters didn’t even give their support to the Conservatives? But we will only be able to stop Harper’s agenda if people of all ages and from all walks of life engage in creative actions and civil disobediance,” she says.
“This country needs a Canadian version of an Arab Spring, a flowering of popular movements that demonstrate that real power to change things lies not with Harper but in the hands of the people, when we act together in our streets, neighbourhoods and workplaces.”

This is your last chance.

Warren MacKenzie on Ebay

Here are some beautiful pieces of ceramics being sold for a great cause. The recent events in Japan have been tragic. Potter Ayumi Horie has responded by helping to organize an auction of pottery on Ebay. Ebay link here I was surprised to see a Hamada Shoji vase amongst the items. I think I have mentioned him before in one of my posts and I have an unfinished post about him and teabowls. Shoji vase link here The auction closes in 5 hours so if you have a moment you should check it out. Here is a New York Times article about the auction link. I just wanted to post these images of pieces that I liked from the auction.

Shoji Hamada on Ebay

Ron Meyers on Ebay

I never had confidence in you

First of all before I start this post I would like to say that this winter has to end. It’s officially spring and it’s time the snow went away. It was shocking to see the snow on the ground this week, in the eerie blue light of the morning. So this blog post may be a poor attempt at humour. It is what it is. Well, it was eerie with the snow on the ground.
 Okay now to get to the point of this post. Not only did I not have confidence in you to be honest I really never even liked you. Now that may not be surprising to those that know me and I’m fairly certain that you don’t care. I just feel like I need to get this off my chest. Id like to express how I feel about you, I mean how I really, really feel about you… Stephen Harper go fuck yourself! The Government of Canada fell today with a non confidence motion. It was the first that a parliament has ever found the sitting government to be in contempt of parliament. The ‘Harper Government’ has been lying to parliament about the cost of some of their programs as well as facing several corruption issues. One of the bills they had before that where they were under reporting the actual cost of was their “get tough on crime agenda”. Ironically several members of the party are facing jail time for breaking the election laws in the 2008 general election. Here are some Rick Mercer satirical videos about Canadian politics. Let the gong show begin.

A show to go to.

A former student from Sheridan Deborah Freeman has a show you should consider going to. I will probably not be able to get to the opening but it will probably be a lot of fun to attend. She is highly skilled functional potter with work that has a great personality and attention to detail. Deb was a big help to me when I was in my second year at Sheridan. She was in her third year then, she was always available and willing to answer my stupid and repetitive questions. Here is her blog. http://deborahfreemanceramics.blogspot.com/2011/03/handy.html

HANDY: An Exhibition of Functional Craft

March 17 – April 10, 2011

Ontario Crafts Council Gallery
990 Queen Street W, Toronto

"But I’ve never been a saint…"

 Just like getting your clay to centre on the wheel your life may flow with more ease if you find a centre within your self. When you sit down to throw form you make is simple to achieve when the clay you are throwing is centred on the wheel. You find that you are not struggling against but being what it is to become.

      Step 1: 
       Focusing upon an ordinary pebble or twig. For this session, 
       set out a small pebble in front of you as your meditative object: 
       and just stare at it one-pointedly, letting your awareness neither 
       stray from it nor identify with it.

Here is some brief background information to place the images into some context. Esoteric Buddhism is the type of Buddhism practiced in Tibet and preceded Zen Buddhism in Japan. I have included the first step in the development of mahamudra which is the practice and teaching that leads to the realization of one mind in Esoteric Buddhism. During the Kamakura period in Japan Zen Buddhism began to replace esoteric forms of Buddhism. Here is a mandala and some ceramics from the same time period. The rustic and simple forms produced at kilns sites like Tamba later became the inspiration for wares created for the tea ceremony.

Here is a Woodfired Tamba jar from the Late Kamakura Period (14th Century)
14in. (35.7cm.) high. Tamba was one of the 6 ancient kilns sites that were founded in the early Kamakura period in Japan


Lousy Reputation by The Stills

To kiss the sleeping muse

Google informed me that today was Constantin Brancusi’s Birthday. He would have been 135 years old today if he was still alive. He is one of the most interesting modern sculptors in my opinion.  Here is a little cup he made in 1918.
You can find some of his work here or here as well as many other collections. Some craft readers may be interested in looking into to his Romanian folk inspired wood carvings and wood door frames.

These images are from the Centre Pompidou collection.