Wednesday, February 18, 2009


"It must have been 1989, when after years of feeling out of sorts with myself and my true calling that I decided art and craft was pivotal to my well being and prosperity. I enrolled in open clay studio at the Lawrence Art Center, then being run by Tinsley Wert. Tinsley and Perry Hartman in turn introduced me to Bill Bracker, who mentored me, or humored me, as I returned to clay. The first works I produced I brought to Steven Addiss, professor of art history, then, at the University of Kansas; he is the author of the book "The Art of Zen." He described my bowls as very 'shibui' "

"Shibui From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia" :
"Shibui (渋い?) (adjective), or shibumi (渋み?) (noun), is a Japanese word which refers to a particular aesthetic of simple, subtle, and unobtrusive beauty. Like other Japanese aesthetic terms, such as iki and wabi-sabi, shibui can apply to a wide variety of subjects, not just art or fashion. Originating in the Muromachi period (1333-1568) as shibushi, the term originally referred to a sour or astringent taste, such as that of an unripe persimmon. Shibui maintains that literal meaning still, and remains the antonym of amai (甘い?), meaning 'sweet'. However, by the beginnings of the Edo period (1603-1867), the term had gradually begun to be used to refer to a pleasing aesthetic. The people of Edo expressed their tastes in using this term to refer to anything from song to fashion to craftsmanship that was beautiful by being understated, or by being precisely what it was meant to be and not elaborated upon. Essentially, the aesthetic ideal of shibumi seeks out events, performances, people or objects that are beautiful in a direct and simple way, without being flashy."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Charles Hansen Future Primitive

"This lamp is perhaps the most striking piece in my home. My brother makes and sells these pieces; this one came to me as a gift. The new retrofit fluorescent bulbs generate almost no heat and provide evening background lighting." See his web page at:

Friday, February 6, 2009

Richard Bresnehan on the Cover of the Rolling Stone

"Earth, Wind, and Fire" by Scott Carlson in the Chronicle Review, Chronicle of Higher Education, Feb 13, 2009. Sustainability, community, and the intercontectedness of life is posited as a new model for state-funded universities rather than the old model of being shown the door "and here's your alumni card.."

Koetsu bowl at the Freer

"In the storage collection is the Koetsu bowl that was handed to me (casually) by the curator, in 2007. Remarkably small and light. I eventually responded to this experience by making hand-formed bowls. It is described as coil built, and the angularity and lack of rounded surfaces suggests it was formed using the paddle tool."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Good Read

"More and more I find myself identifying with Stonehouse, a Fourteenth Century Chinese Hermit, not because I live alone (which I don't), but because I proclaim a certain restraint in life end eschew the excessive materialism of our time. He always kept his gate open but only late in life did a few monks move up the mountain with him, building a temple which remained until the Cultural Revolution. The stone house is still there on Hsiamushan. We all prefer to lead unexamined lives and practice unexamined art, I suppose. The Kansas photographer Pok Chi Lau taught me so much about visual observation as a means of exposing ambiguities and questions, discovering meanings as well as enigmas. The studio here in Alexandrria has come to be called Stone House to honor the old monk. The publisher is of the book Mercury House. Here is the cover of the copy I have."