Sunday 15 July 2007
Thursday 12 July 2007
Tuesday 10 July 2007
I unpacked a kiln load of pots the other day, after they had cooled from firing. I was very pleased with the results. Many people have been waiting for rice bowls for a long time, so I finally managed to get some done. I make two traditional sizes, 11.5cm diameter small and 13cm diameter large. It is important to find a size that fits you hand.
The name of a rice bowl in Japanese is "Gohan Chawan" which literally means "Rice Teabowl". It was traditional to serve tea in the bowl after the rice was finished at the end of a meal. Particularly in lean times this ensured that you made the most of every skerrick of nutrition.
Of course among the wide variety of "Chawan" is the powdered green tea bowl, the
"Machawan". Used in the tea ceremony for making and drinking the powdered tea, its use and therefore shape are very specific. Different shapes, proportions and colours are dependant on the type of tea, the season, the place the tea ceremony is to be performed.
Out of this firing came a new series of "Machawan" to be used for the outdoor tea ceremony. They are smaller than a normal teabowl, only 10cm diameter and 7cm high, as they are to be carried with a portable tea ceremony set. These are often taken on mountain or forest walks, and when a suitably beautiful place is found the tea can be enjoyed in the open air. Rather like a picnic.
The orange colour of the woodfired flashing also brings out the best of the green tea, and with its soft natural tones is beautiful in an open environment. The indentation in the centre of the bowl is called a "Chadome" and is a space where the residue can run when the tea had been enjoyed.
Of course the face of the teabowl is important as well, as this is what you show to your guest when you pass them the bowl. Like any functional pot, they need to be understood in context.
Sunday 8 July 2007
Pickle them into jars for later.
Wash the cucumbers and slice them into three 450ml sterile jars. Boil 1 cup of rice vinegar and 2cups of sugar, together with some whole cloves and whole black peppers and a piece of cinnamon stick, until all of the sugar is melted. Pour the vinegar over the cucumber till the jars are full. Seal the jars and they are ready for eating the next day. Unopened they should last for months.
Thursday 5 July 2007
Mika cooked lunch today with fresh vegetables that the neighbours brought over. Vine ripened tomatoes, aubergine, celery, onion.
I came in from the studio to the rich fragrance of the simmering sauce. Tuna, spiced salt, slowly reducing over a low flame.
Steamed rice, grown on mika's parents farm, glossy and fragrant.
I helped by adding "Shiso" from our own garden to finish as a garnish.
"Ratatouille." she said, rolling the word luxuriously round her mouth. Simply delicious.
Monday 2 July 2007
Somebody must protect the family while daddy is busy firing the kiln, and Sean is ready, net in hand, to catch any miscreants should they stray in his path. Dragonflies and frogs beware! Two whole years on planet earth has prepared him for any danger!
Ahah! This kitten is behaving suspiciously. We'll snare him just to be on the safe side. The world is now a safer place, thanks to you, Super Toddler!