Thursday, 26 June 2014

To every thing there is a season

And a time to every purpose...June was called "Minazuki" (水無月) in the old Japanese calendar, the "month without water", not because it did not rain, but because it never stopped. It is the month of "tsuyu" (梅雨),  the wet season, and during this period it was not necessary for the farmers to irrigate the rice paddies, so perhaps "month of no watering" would be a better interpretation? The last few weeks, since I returned from Sydney, it has rained almost incessantly. From fine misty drizzle to torrential thunderstorms, the chequerboard of days and nights has been a study in grey. I have watched the clouds each morning and evening, while ferrying children to and from various schools, from diaphanous whisps which hang low while they embrace the mountains to steel blue thunderheads teetering on the ridgeline ready to crash down into the valley. 

The sultry weather is, however, ideal for making pots that require joining, as the slow drying prevents parts from shrinking at different rates and causing cracking at the join. I have used the time to make teapots, coffee pots and "kyusu" (急須), the side handled pot for green tea. Each pot is constructed from four components; body, spout, handle and lid. So, for 50 pots one must make 200 pieces. They must then be assembled into a functional and aesthetically pleasing form. Patience and concentration are imperative, but timing is the key as all of the parts must be of similar hardness in order to join properly. They will dry slowly over the next few weeks, and we shall see how they emerge from the fire. For now I am happy to have come this far.

These are the first tea and coffee pots that I have made since the earthquake. Many of you have been waiting for them for some time, I know, but it is difficult to do good work in adverse circumstances. While the rain has been keeping the air moist for me, I have worked quietly and steadily. Everything is beautiful in its time, and we cannot force results, we can only wait and rejoice in the things we have today. Who knows what tomorrow may bring?