Once I have approached the theme of wheel throwing, this time I would like to excuse myself to comment about the content of my book.
Title is “Ceramic Throwing” Subtitles are “The Professional way, Japanese Techniques”.
To better understand the way Ceramics is taught in Japan you should know that
The approach to teaching throwing skills is different! If compared with most Western countries
We are all trained as production potters because this means discipline. As you know in Oriental art, learning is said to develop in three stages:
1 To docile absorb the teaching,
2 To break the learnt rules
3 To detach from them, this meaning to develop a personal & creative style.
Some Western arts are not alien to this approach: in classic ballet the training intends to acquire basic habits to the point of unconsciously repeat them no matter advancement in instruction. Piano-play learning is quite the same. Only when all basics become a second nature, it is possible to reach technical virtuosity.
And for the ones who have passed this process, they know that this is only the beginning.
Being wheel throwing a creative endeavor as much as a muscular training, teaching is by repetition, we are required to make hundreds of pieces equal in size and shape. This means just to learn to master the physics of the turning wheel.
Yes, t is as simple, (and as difficult), as that.
How to draw a project
Beginning for how to draw a project, this has to be done with minute detail because the project will define not only the shape of the thing but also the kind and number of tools we need.
Each piece we want to shape on the wheel might require a set of tools and these can be different for each one, according demand of the project.
This way, before we seat at the wheel, we make our own tools. To make all necessary tools for a project is another art and can also be a creative task; most potters keen about the things they do, are skilled in making their own tools as well.
For that reason in my book I intended to explain with detail how to make the most basic tools as ribs and measuring instruments to make serial throwing, that is to throw from a lump of clay. It is explained from the making of templates to the sanding of the piece, the way of using bamboo when this extraordinary material is at hand and even how to make cutting wires and “mouse-tails” my translation for “shippiki” the cord used to detach the piece from the lump of clay.
How to make trimming knifes and how to sharpen them is obviously also explained.
Now, making tools is no more than a preparatory task, the next step is to throw and to trim first of all a simple Japanese teacup, and this also is explained with the local methodology and detail.
How to use the chamois to align the rim: squeeze the water, mount it on the rim.
Basic techniques as how to use each tool, what should be put first in the head before intending to move the hands, all is explained with diagrams and hand drawings like this one I made by myself.
Size 10”x 7”, 140 pages, more than 140 line and free hand drawings, photographs.
Steps for serial throwing, the Japanese way, are clearly differential
Trimming also goes by steps
The Japanese kanna is a very versatile instrument, more than a cutting knife it is a sculpting tool.
In fact I expended most of the pages of the book just to guide you along a secure path in the task of making a single bowl, from the project to its complete realization; I am sure that if followed step by step all these exercises will end in success. Not only that, it will enable you to make any different shapes and sizes with skill. And above everything else it will make a sound base for when you have to make more complicated forms.
Four complementary projects are featured, each one adding more techniques and tips.
Last but not least
Along the 2010 school year I took the wheel-throwing course at the Shigaraki Ceramics Prefectural Training Institute. This is a very intensive course; 35 weekly hours at the wheel, where more than 15 projects are taught, my teacher Prof. Takahata, already familiar to my readers (see blogs “Kneading the clay III, & III”), saw my notes and suggested me to organize them in a book that could be a follower to mine. The manuscript already finished is now at his place for correction. This time I made the part of a reporter to his class recording every word and every explanation he did. This resulted in more than 350 line and free hand drawings, more than 200 photographs, 250 pages. This way more than twenty years of his teaching experience will be compacted in a volume. I am sure he will be willing to allow the attachment of the 3 DVDs he has for use at his class featuring 15 demonstrations.
I want to express special thanks to Leon Urk and other colleagues who commended my blog to the professional community through international magazines like “Art & Perception” and “Ceramic Monthly”.
I wish all of you a very happy year-end Holidays and a New Year full of realizations.
Copyright©Celina Clavijo Kashu2011 for Forum Artistico
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