Tuesday, November 17, 2009

walk the walk.

I brought a couple of yunomi up to school for visual aids the other day, one by my friend Kent Harris which I use all the time and one by Randy Johnston which I've owned for 7 years but have never used. We have high on a kitchen shelf about 15 or so yunomi that I've collected over the years and have been there for the last 3 years and sat on another shelf for the 3 years before that. We have many more, some that we use all the time, but these shelved yunomi are where they are either because of their financial "value" or sentimental value. This RJ cup is up there because of the price I paid for it. It seemed very expensive at the time(2002) but today it would be on the pricier side though not unreasonable(his actual current prices border on unreasonable.)

The point is that I've never really taken the time to understand this cup, I've never used it...or any of the cups up there. Since I've had it in my studio I've been picking it up and handling it multiple times a day...tomorrow I may even rinse the dust out of it and use it. I've discovered a lot just by encountering it on a table everyday...it's like owning a brand new cup. I heard an interview with Davie Renaeu...can't remember where...but she was talking about dropping a Clary Illian cup and how it was heartbreaking but at least she had gotten to use that cup every day. If it had sat up on a shelf it may have never broken but she would have never gotten the pleasure of being able to use it and handle it everyday. Sort of a "better to have loved and lost..." mentality. So what's the point of all this blither? I'm going to get all those cups down, wash them and put them in the cupboard and then use them. There are a few that are particularly "valuable" to us so they may only see occasional use...but use nonetheless.

The RJ cup.

By the way...RJ can trim a foot like no ones business. I've got some dessert plates that he made that have such nice feet they should be used upside down.

I took some photos of new pots but wouldn't you know it they're all blurry. Maybe I'll try again tomorrow.


cookingwithgas said...

I hear you and you will be so glad you did use those pots.
Where else can you come so close to an object of art which effects you so deeply than by using a handmade item?
Enjoy each and everyone of them-fully!

cindy shake said...

I suppose your right. Give those yunomi some energy of life stuff... though I'd spin if any of them broke! hmmm, tough choice.

Lori Buff said...

I once heard a story of a Buddhist monk who drank his tea everyday from a cup made during the Ming dynasty. When asked about it he told people that to him the cup was already broken so it is better to enjoy it now than let it not serve it's intended purpose. By recognizing impermanence he knew he wouldn't grieve if he broke the cup but by using it he honored the creator of the cup. Your story reminds me of this story.
Enjoy using your cups.

Hollis Engley said...

I'm with Lori and the monk. Use it and enjoy it. I bought a Phil Rogers cup years ago when I was first starting out in clay. I loved it and loved using it. Then I cracked it. Oops. Now it's on permanent display and I occasionally use the replacement, which cost about three times what I paid for the first. We use everything we buy. That is indeed a nice cup by Randy. And I love the Buddhist story, Lori.

FetishGhost said...

Thanks for showing Randy's foot, I'm a cronic foot inspector and love to see everyone's approach.

Togeika said...

Brandon, All my pots get used. Even my gradution matcha jawan. When I was in Japan, Warren sent me a package 7 or 8 yunomi. I gave most away as thank you gifts, but kept two. The one I kept because it cracked in two during shipment. I glued it together with superglue and it got frequent use.
Have been looking at pots I made before I left for Japan. It is like time travel! I was making good mugs back then, but the yunomi are pretty disappointing. The single thing that improved the most are my feet. In the first class I ever taught a couple weeks ago, I demoed yunomi and brought examples of Mashiko feet. (team taught Anatomy of Japanese Pottery.) RJ taught the first class in this series. He taught one class. Folks said he spent most the time showing folks his plywood handbuilding method (which is interesting.) The second class, I demoed jomon zogan and put out my collection of 5,000 year old jomon shards. One more class. Because it is the last class, will lecture about Mingei studio pottery and the importance of China, Korea and Sen No Rikyu.