Centring on ceramics
At the time Takashi did not take on new students. However, a couple of months later I received a message from him saying he had availability. I realised I would have to bring forward my retirement plans – I was not about to miss this opportunity. And this is how two years ago I embarked on the fascinating adventure of turning clay into something other.
Like many disciplines, including qigong, centring and rooting is key to ceramics – especially when working the potter’s wheel, where centring is vital if you want anything to come out at all.
And rooting is important if you don’t want your piece to go flying off the wheel – which is what happened to the lid of my Japanese teapot when it took off across the room like a flying saucer, fortunately missing the other people present. Patiently, I had to redo it from scratch.
Patience is vital in ceramics. There are days when the clay just does not feel like rising or centring itself. And if you embark on a more complicated project with a lot of detail, you had better be prepared for it to take a long time.
Takashi creates his own Japanese style glazes, which add the element of surprise as you never quite know how the colours will come out. You learn to take a slightly detached approach, enjoying the process and accepting the result might be different to what you thought.
This poppy flower I made was the first piece where the colours came out the way I envisaged them. And what starts as an eel or snake…
… gradually acquires the look of a dragon. The small components like teeth are constantly falling off and have to be reattached – but in the end it all comes together.