Danny Volk

Friday, October 18, 2013

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

Domestic Phenomena

The Kizaemon Tea-Bowl

From The Unknown Craftsman by Soetsu Yanagi, adapted by Bernard Leach. Yanagi speaks of the sixteenth-century Korean bowl of the Yi dynasty.

This single Tea-bowl is considered to be the finest in the world. There are three main kinds of Tea-bowls, those originating in China, Korea, and Japan, respectively. The most lovely are from Korea, and men of Tea always give them first place....The finest are called meibutsu, signifying the particularly fine pieces. There are twenty-six bowls registered as meibutsu, but the finest of them all is that known as the Kizaemon Ido. This bowl is said to contain the essence of Tea.

In 1931 I was shown this bowl in company with my friend, the potter Kanjiro Kawai. For a long time I had wished to see this Kizaemon bowl. I have expected to see that "essence of Tea," the seeing eye of Tea masters, and to test my own perception.

....It was within box after box, five deep, buried in wool and wrapped in purple silk.
When I saw it, my heart fell. A good Tea-bowl, yes, but how ordinary! So simple, no more ordinary thing could be imagined. There is not a trace of ornament, not a trace of calculation. It is just a Korean food bowl, a bowl, moreover, that a poor man would use every day--commonest crockery.

A typical thing for his use; costing next to nothing; made by a poor man; an article without the flavor of personality; used carelessly by its owner; bought without pride; something anyone could have bought anywhere and everywhere. That is the nature of this bowl. The clay had been dug from the hill at the back of the house; the glaze was made with the ash from the hearth; the potter's wheel had been irregular. The shape revealed no particular thought; it was one of many. The work had been fast; the turning was rough; done with dirty hands; the throwing slipshod; the glaze had run over the foot. The throwing room had been dark. The thrower could not read. The kiln was a wretched affair; the firing careless. Sand had stuck to the pot, but nobody minded; no one invested the thing with any dreams. It is enough to make one give up working as a potter...

This, and no more, was the truth about this, the most celebrated Tea-bowl in the land. But that was as it should be. The plain and unagitated, the uncalculated, the harmless, the straightforward, the natural, the innocent, the humble, the modest; where does beauty lie if not in these qualities? The characteristics that gain man's affection and respect.

More than anything else, this pot is healthy. Made for a purpose, made to do work. Sold to be used in everyday life. If it were fragile, it would not serve its purpose. By its very nature, it must be robust. Its healthiness is implicit in its function. Only a commonplace practicality can guarantee health in something made.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Two Scenes from 'Philadelphia'

TRT 3:37, 2012

Mom's Birthday

Mom's Birthday
TRT 0:47, 2012