Thursday, April 10, 2008

Recent Work: Eric Hansen Tea Bowls

"I made these pots on the potter's wheel using porcelain and stoneware clays and limestone glazes: Takada Oribe and Rhodes Cornwall Stone Glaze. I happened to have some of the old bluish Cornish stone available. They're fired at around cone 10 in a noboragama type chamber of a wood fired kiln in Indiana. I'm not getting tired of the tea bowl form, most of my focused work has been in this design since moving to the metro area. When I was at KCAI I owned a green raku bowl that I used for everything, especially herb tea such as ginseng, rose hips, peppermint, and wintergreen. I really had not discovered green tea, or black tea for that matter, yet. So I am visualizing as life-style adjustment to living in a smaller space with fewer possessions, those of higher quality but serve multiple purposes. It's not for those who have to have everything. I would direct them to other work. It is a choice to live more lightly on the earth. My work is really a personal journal of sorts related to my life experience. A tea bowl is a kind of a form of haiku. This is what I call Santoka's axiom. Santoka was instrumental in developing the newer school of haiku, as a wandering monk/poet, short texts based on actual experience. The reference is Stephen Addiss' book on Zen Art, for me a necessary text. There is an expressionism which is really about my immediate narrative. In the Oribe pieces you can see a bit of the wild side coming out which I have to thank Ferguson, Voulkos, and Leedy, men I have studied with to a greater or lesser extent. And the demo Fergie gave on throwing from the hump technique I used here. I had this great basement studio in Georgetown with brick walls and a walk out end with windows and a door, so it was really easy to work down there. I developed a relaxed way to throw a bowl on the wheel, trimming the following day and repeating the process. So there was production everyday. By doing that I got a lot of feedback from the clay. There was a lot of give and take between KU and KCAI. KU was the primary source for the Academics faculty, and the Nelson was the primary collection to which KU's Art History Department addressed. Lawrence Sickman, Chu-tsing Li, Stephen Addiss, Fukushima Keido Roshi, all contributed to my understanding. It was Roshi who told us "Zazen in excellent for creativity!" Zazen is a direct influence on all my work. Also I have to add that during my time at KU, I informally mentored with Bill Bracker (as did most local potters) and used Kansas Geological Survey publications from Sheldon Carey. Carey's work was the beginning of an ongoing adventure in the geology of ceramics. Both men were KU Ceramics heads."