Tuesday 20 November 2012

New Works Exhibition!

 Daylight falls softly through the windows as I throw my pots on the traditional wooden kick wheel which Tomoo Hamada gave me, my bare foot beating quiet rhythm on the fly wheel. The well water is cold on my hands as I splash it on the soft clay. Snow has fallen on the hills surrounding our home, but the wood stove keeps the studio warm as I work. I have wedged the clay by hand and it is plastic and responsive, finding its form within my hands embrace as I hold steady, even as I kick the wheel. The pots form in rhythm with my whole body and will, an expression of the process, finding their own shape within the forces at work upon them. I make my vessels as potters have for hundreds of years, and nature takes a hand in their creation. There is an elegant beauty in the simplicity of nature. It nourishes our spirit and gives us hope and strength to endure.  

Beauty is not a noisy thing. It is quiet and strong and gentle. We can find it in the simplest and most unassuming places, and it can give us hope and solace through even the darkest trials of our lives. I have always known this, but that knowledge is even stronger now. We are a part of nature; that part that looks at itself and recognises beauty, even in the direst of times. My task as a potter is to help that beauty find new form in clay, to enrich the lives of others. When I create my vessels, it is so that I can share that beauty, that hope and strength, with the people I love. Disaster has served only to strengthen that resolve.     

Now that we have finally rebuilt the wood kiln, stronger than before, it is the new works from the first firings of this kiln that I wish to share with you. I hope that using them brings as much joy to you as creating them brought to me.

Two years have passed since my last exhibition at Ebiya Gallery, and I thank you for your patience. These two years have seen tremendous change for us. The recent disasters, both natural and man-made, have brought great change for me and my family, but we have come through the fear and tragedy with the help and support of family, friends and strangers. My family has found refuge in a new place, a 140 year old farm house in the mountains of Minakami, and we have built a new life here in Japan.

The centre of Japan is a bridge, the “Nihonbashi”. Walk north for four hundred metres along the main road of Tokyo, and on the corner of the crossroads is the Ebiya Bijutsuten Gallery. Established in Kyoto in the 1670’s, they came to Tokyo, as purveyors to the Imperial household, with the Meiji Emperor almost 150 years ago. For nine generations they have been dealers in tea ceremony ware and antiquities. In 1993 it was my honour to be the first contemporary artist to exhibit in their gallery, and to be the only contemporary artist to exhibit there annually since. Except, of course, for last year; my last exhibition there was in November 2010.

From November 23rd to 29th, 2012, between the hours of 11:00am and 7:00 pm, I return to Ebiya Bijutsuten for my first exhibition of work from the new kiln in Minakami. Though they are the works of my hand and heart, I did not make them alone. They are the culmination of all the hope, love and support that so many have given me. They are the fruit of a collaboration with nature, going beyond the mere skill of my hands. I offer them humbly in celebration of life. 

I invite you all to join me and my family for the opening reception at the gallery from 12:00 midday on Friday the 23rd of November 2012.

With heartfelt gratitude

Euan Craig