Saturday, 15 December 2018

Clifford's Tower in York




Clifford's Tower is almost all that remains of York Castle, built by William the Conqueror. The castle was a fortified complex comprising, over the last nine centuries, a sequence of castles, prisons, law courts and other buildings on the south side of the River Foss. The keep of the medieval Norman castle, referred to as Clifford's Tower, together with two buildings that serve as the York castle museum and the Crown Court is all that remains today.





The 11th century timber tower on top of the earth mound was burned down in 1190, after York's Jewish community, some 150 strong, was besieged here by a mob and committed mass suicide. The present stone building was probably used as a treasury and later as a prison. The tower was rebuilt shortly after the fire.

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Lawrence Stephen Lowry, Clifford's Tower, York, 1952-53.

Lowry painted this unusually sparsely populated painting of the Tower. I love the bent figures going up the steps.



Sunday, 9 December 2018

Chawan




Chawan at the Stratford gallery, Stratford-upon-Avon.




The tea bowl, or chawan, developed within the tradition of chanoyu, or Japanese tea ceremony, has a long history, rooted in China, where tea was first propagated and drunk. Many potters feel that the making of a good chawan is the hardest thing in the world: it has to be a well-balanced, pleasantly-weighed form that brings together all aspects of composition from the way the lip is angled, to the curves of the body and how that will influence the inner 'pool', all the way down to the underside where the kodai-foot is carved. And yet, the deliberate adherence to an imperfect form has been influential in the promotion of the making of the chawan: 'in all things, whatever they are, the finish of every detail is not desirable: one that holds the attention is unfinished' says Kakuzo Okakura, in the Book of Tea.  Furthermore, a non-symmetrical form is essential, so the chawan was always crafted by hand - the continual rotation of the bowl in the hand was believed to enhance the spirit of the creator, and a simple shape was favoured to evoke a serene appearance.





The gallery's latest exhibition features a large number of tea bowls from 35 makers from all over the world.




Hannah Tounsend, UK, Chawan study, winter and summer chawan with accompanying mono print (white stoneware, slips and artists' marks)





Hannah Tounsend, UK, chawan pair, winter and summer chawan, (white stoneware, slips and artist's marks)




Lucien Koonce, USA, chawan with hobo signs, (hand carved and hollowed, Kurinuki technique), stoneware clay, shino glaze, iron rich clay slip brushwork and natural ash glaze. Wood fired in and anagram kiln for 5 days to cone 12).




Lucien Koonce, USA. Iron saturate chawan. (Hand carved and hollowed stoneware clay, iron rich clay slip, shino and natural ash glaze. Wood fired in an Anagama kiln multiple times for five days each firing to cone 12).




Steve Booton, UK, boxed wheel thrown Chawan with red shino glaze and ash detail)





Rizu Takashashi, Japan/France. Stoneware chawan formed using the Tama Zukuri technique. Fired in Rizu's Anagama kiln for 5 days and nights, with natural ash glaze).





Rizu Takashashi, Japan/France. (Stoneware chawan formed using the Tama Zukuri technique. Fired in Rizu's Anagama kilm for 5 days and nights, with natural as glaze).




Lisa Hammond, UK. (Red shino chawan with finger marks. Hand carved foot).




Lisa Hammond, UK.




Akira Satake, Japan/USA. (Hikidashi fired chawan, shino ad oribe glaze. Shigaraki type clay).




Lara Scobie, UK.  Parian clay chawan. Slip cast with free formed hand decorated interior and exterior).





Lara Scobie, UK. (Parian clay chawan. Slip cast with free formed hand decorated interior and exterior).




Lara Scobie, UK. (Parian clay chawan. Slip cast with free formed hand decorated exterior).





Jack Troy, USA. Root texture. (Thrown Grolleg porcelain, manipulated by hand, lined with a shiny glaze and fired in an Anagama kiln with natural ash glaze).






Jack Troy, USA. Orange Diamond. (Wheel thrown trolley porcelain, manipulated by hand and lined with a shino glaze. Fired in an Anagama kiln with signs of natural ash glaze).




Peter Wills, UK. Thrown porcelain chawan with  Welsh River grog, inclusions, Tenmoky and Dolomite glazes)






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Peter Wills, UK. (Wheel thrown porcelain with Welsh River Grog inclusions. Tenmoku, dolomite and yellow stain glazes).




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Peter Wills, UK. (Wheel thrown porcelain with Welsh River Grog inclusions. Tenmoku, dolomite and yellow stain glazes).








Eddie Curtis, UK. (Kurinuki porcelain chawan with celadon and copper accents).




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Eddie Curtis, UK. (Celadon chawan with red copper accents, kurinuki technique).





Margaret Curtis, UK. (Wheel thrown chawan, using black clay with celadon and copper oxide glaze and a frosted over glaze. Fired in a reduction atmosphere in an oil fuelled kiln).





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Margaret Curtis, UK. (Thrown and altered chawan using black stoneware and white shino glaze. Fired in a reduction atmosphere in an oil kiln).




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Eddie Curtis, UK (Mizusashi (cold water container for Japanese tea ceremony), applied surface texture, white shino).




Stephen Parry, UK. (Wood fired chun glazed chawan sculpture)






Akiko Hirai, Japan/UK. (Wheel thrown stoneware Isu wood ash glaze with Engobe)





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Akiko Hirai, Japan/UK. (Wheel thrown stoneware Isu wood ash glaze with Engobe)





Mitch Iburg, USA, Ember burned chawan, (California Rhyolitic fireclay, wood fired to cone 10)




Mitch Iburg, USA, Ember burned chawan, (California Rhyolitic fireclay, wood fired to cone 10)




James Hake, UK. (Thrown and altered stoneware chawan with Hawthorn ash glaze)





Jack Doherty, UK (thrown and fired at the Cloud Forest Studio in Taiwan, where they have built a replica of Jack's soda kiln)




Kirsty Macrae,  UK, (lugged tea bowl painted with slips and oxides)





Pascal Geoffroy, France, Anagama, (5 day fired stoneware chawan with shino glaze)





Pascal Geoffroy, France, Anagama, (5 day fired stoneware chawan with shino glaze)





Maggie Zerafa, UK, (wheel thrown and latered cobalt crystalline chawan)







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Maggie Zerafa, UK, (wheel thrown and altered cobalt crystalline chawan)




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Maggie Zerafa, UK, (wheel thrown and altered cobalt crystalline chawan)