Sunday, 31 January 2016

Post 210 A little clay work

I've got back into doing a little clay work recently. For a while I've been wanting to make a new 'rock' pot as well as to use some decorative stamps on the walls of my pots to give a little surface texture.
Gary Jackson has been the king of stamps in the blog-sphere so I've unashamedly done the art world thing and uplifted a few ideas. 

First up the rock-pot. Here it is just finished and about 530mm long

 The high end is built up to conceal the generous bowl to contain the tree(s).

 This shows a little of the detail at that end. Like all pots the wet clay colour brings out the detail nicely. I'm intending to paint/colour the pot with underglaze colouring after bisque firing. I have a number of native Leptospermums which I want to plant as a group in the pot.

 Back in 2013 I made three that were more slab-like and coloured them using underglaze too. Post 131 and Post 133.

 This is a selection of stamps I made - just to see what would happen. Thanks Gary. These are just dried and not yet fired. They will be ready to go after a bisque firing.

And then a few pots, a series of small ovals of two different sizes:

 This one has fluted sides which I made just with a piece of impressed 10mm dowel. The shape and pattern has a classical feel to it. I'd like to make another with the fluting just short of the rim and then turn the rim in to make a little concavity at the rim.

 This pot has already dried. Its pattern is basket-weave. The idea is for the glaze to fill most of the texture but leave enough texture and glaze depth differential for a little visual interest.

 This one is done with a stamp that is just basically a raised X, but on repeat makes an interesting pattern.

Again one I've thought about for a while. Its been done with a simple ball shaped piece of bisque to produce the sort of patterning you get on a piece of beaten metalwork. Much of that detail will go with the glazing but it should produce an interesting irregular surface none the less.
Just filled the kiln with a bisque load. One big oval, 11 smaller ones and a bunch of stamps. So nice to work in three dimensions.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Post 209 Taikan-ten in Kyoto Japan

I had the pleasure of visiting the 35th Taikan-ten bonsai exhibition in Kyoto on the weekend of November 22. It was held in an exhibition hall in Miyakomesse which provided a great space for the exhibition as well as a massive sales area. This is the same building which houses a Museum dedicated to Traditional Crafts which is a must see if visiting Kyoto.

The exhibition had around 200 trees in all sizes with 85% coming from a very narrow species group of Black Pine, White Pine, Junipers and Azaleas.

 The azaleas in the show looked like they had been styled to a pretty rigid convention, with often quite angular projecting branches.

 It was good to see three miniature stands in the show, this one with a persimmon in fruit. IN the country in autumn you see lots of persimmon trees bare of leaves but loaded with fruit, almost as if they are left there until they are needed, so good to see a couple in the show in the4 same state.

 Here is another persimmon. This one has a sparsity of branches which shows off the trunk movement beautifully. This is a great model of a shape to apply in developing a tree from cutting or seedling.

 Unfortunately the pictures don't give much idea about size. As you see from the next picture from the side, this beautiful pine is a substantial tree.

 Interesting and kind of nice to see a cascade without all the S bends in the cascade.

 Now this was a curious little display. These are little battery operated turntables spinning around and on them are a number of little things that look like mineral nodules of some sort but with figurative shapes, stuck to the turntables with some cut putty. Celebrating the wonders of nature no doubt - very Japanese.

 If this tree was critiqued anywhere in Australia I think it would go something like "well you have to chose between a cascade or and informal upright but you cant really do both at once". But here it is both at once in a big serious exhibition. Nice to see the Japanese making up new rules as well as remembering the old ones.

 I think this is actually an azalea. Nice to see a lightweight tree shown. It looks like the sort of tree we might show here.

 Japan's feudal history is closely meshed with the Hinoki Cypress. It was the timber of choice for temples and castles and the ownership of forests has been a strategic matter of contention down the ages. You see them today growing in the mountains - fantastic tall bulky muscular trees. This is an interesting group arrangement.

 It was autumn in Japan but only a couple of trees in colour in the show. This was about the best.

 Almost more ikebana than bonsai in this one but a work of art regardless. Another persimmon.

 Another Hinoki cypress.

 This a shot of the general arrangement of the exhibition space. It was a series of parallel rows of tables well spaced apart.

 It was refreshing to see that even in the home of bonsai there is recognition of the addictive effect growing bonsai has on people. But then no one turns up because we all know we don't need counselling. ............It was actually offering advice about the 2017 convention in Omiya.

 This is a long shot of the sales area. Very substantial and some very high quality trees.

 A nice azalea for 850,000 yen.

 Pine group for 1,200,000 yen.

 This white or 5 needle pine was 900,000 yen. Seems more reasonable than I expected.

And then just a few more from the exhibition to finish.