March 19, 2012 § 2 Comments
Last Friday, I was in London and had a couple of hours to spare, so hot-footed it over to the V&A and to the ceramics collection on the sixth floor. I went with the specific intention of looking at the wall thickness of pots, in general, and bowl shapes, in particular. If you haven’t been, and can get to London, it is the most amazing resource, although I would like to see the work of more contemporary potters represented. While I was there I discovered that Louisa Taylor is the artist-in-residence (until 24th July); I would liked to have spoken with her but, unfortunately, she wasn’t in her studio.
My reason for wanting to investigate wall thicknesses was because of an anecdote that Jim Malone told in the Goldmark video (in the ‘Video’ links on the right) about weight. He recounted how at college all the potters seemed to be obsessed by how much a pot weighed. He believed this to be a legacy from all the industrial pots, which were ‘thin and light and white’. He read somewhere about an exhibition Hamada had and his friend, Yanagi, picked up one of his pots and said that he thought it was heavy. Hamada replied, ‘better too heavy than too light’.
The question I have been asking myself is, ‘what is too heavy?’
The other thing I was looking at was bowl shape. I love the eastern aesthetic – simple, minimal adornment (incision, fluting), beautiful lines. Every bowl had a foot-ring, however small the bowl or the ring; the colours understated; the lines so clean, creating elegant profiles.
These are total simplicity, the absolute essence of a bowl – there is nothing that could be taken away.