Mashiko part 2, buying pots

Nothing is –
Look, and it is.

Not seeing at all,
We cannot see all there is around us.

Everything is but an expression of the self.


I buy something –
I have bought myself.

From ‘The Windows of Life’ …. Some thoughts by Kanjiro Kawai

The first thing I bought was this scholars stone from a junk shop. Try justifying that when you come from an island famous for is rocks.

No matter how I try to justify it buying for myself always feels like an indulgence (which doesn’t always stop me but I struggle with it). A parsimonious nature and a rather Puritan upbringing are not comfortable with the ‘Sex and the City’ shopping culture. Which, most of the time is a good thing, especially living on an island with few opportunities to shops and mostly sheep to admire the purchases. When I’m at a potters market my desire to buy from others is tempered by the need to return home  with a wad of cash to count especially when the total doesn’t cover costs. At exhibitions I can dissuade myself from buying by the thought of the gallery commission (I know they have to make a living too and they help me me make mine, it’s just a mean logic I use to keep the dosh in my pocket).

Getting to Japan from the UK is not cheap, neither is staying there and getting around for 2 weeks. The fact that it is mostly a cash economy amongst all but the biggest retailers makes it very apparent that the cash is flowing through your fingers like water. But having gone all that way, investing so much, in effort and time too, and all the years of dreaming and hoping for the opportunity to go, I was determined to prevail and return home with pots. So, a few provisos to sooth the troubled feelings – the pots must be small to fit in my cabin luggage, small and of different types so that I can study them professionally, small, different and functional, because ‘useful’ is a very broad concept. A sake pourer definitely, an oribe glaze, a crusty Shigaraki pot.


  1. Jan Griffiths says

    I think perfection is ugly. Somewhere in the things humans make I want to see scars, failure, disorder, distortion …. quote by Yohi Yamamoto.

    Japanese ceramics offer so many opportunities – they deserve a good looking at over a long period of time, so you have to buy some!

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