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Thoughts of a potter

The Bowl

 

-  Thoughts of a potter -

 

 

The harmony of tree and bowl is of extraordinary importance. The bowl should by means of its simplicity underline the quality of the tree. The Japanese word for this taste is SHIBUI. It describes the absolute beauty. The most important element is simplicity. It combines excellence, grace, calmness and naturalness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the Meji epoch (1868 - 1911) there was the heyday of imports of ancient Chinese bowls. Glazed ceramics and porcelain became very popular. In those days it was customary to use outdoor vessels for holy water as bonsai bowls. These vessels were simple, not glazed and deep. It was the ideal vessel to put plants in. But a bonsai bowl in our sense is much more than just a vessel to put plants in. It has to fulfil a lot of criteria nowadays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to bonsai one could say: “If you want to form the crone, you have to treat the roots.”

On a symbolic level it is the same with the art of pottery. I have to study antique Chinese and Japanese bonsai bowls when I intend to potter a good bowl. I must try to penetrate into almost lost techniques, to experience and to fathom the ancient bowls with all my senses. It is understood that you cannot simply potter an antique bowl. Hundred years of old patina are inimitable. And that is not what I intend to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just would like to find out the techniques, symbols and the mental and philosophical background the ancient masters had to create their bowls. Today those ancient bowls are hardly attainable or available. The last existing pieces are guarded like eyeballs by enthusiastic collectors, mostly Japanese people. Those worthy bowls are wrapped in precious fabric and kept in wooden boxes.

 

 

 

It is my wish to copy these ancient bowls, if still attainable, with those simple means at my disposal. Thus, I want to keep a little of that wonderful history. I would like to help the bonsai friend to have more comprehension and joy in this hobby.

 

 

 

 

 

Bonsai and the ceramics that is part of it is and will become a mental common property and overcomes all limits. Here again great variety is more than bareness.

 

Peter Krebs.

Pots: Peter Krebs

 


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