68: Building Slabs

The rooster in my brain goes crazy at 6:30am again. Not wanting to waste the morning, I drink a glass of milk and head out of the studio to take a breath of nature.

The rolling ridges are wrapped in fog, shrouded in a dense cloak of mystery. It is so beautiful.



The dog goes for a walk while the cat inspects the world from her window.



The birds wait to take flight.


After the morning walk, I return for some quiet time before starting my wedging practice. This is my assigned homework before class starts at 10am. With some time to spare, I practice the 1 kg cylinder throwing. Sensei comes over to watch while I am at my third attempt and he quickly makes a lot of comments for improvement. As the Japanese say, I will continue to ganbatte!!!

Sensei soon directs me to his demonstration of how to do slab building. It is my first encounter and I hurriedly take notes of the steps lest my memory fails me. It is so interesting to see how pieces can be formed from molds! I make a mental note to learn how to make molds.

The foot, or kodai, is an important part of the pot for the Japanese. Sensei deftly cuts in with his tool.


It is lunch time again and Naoko san has brought some home grown radish, daikon, to make daikon soup for the class. These people are so wonderful! I have also decided to make salad my staple for every meal.


For the next few hours, I put to practice what I had just learnt and patiently wait for each slab to dry sufficiently in the sun before removing it from the mold. Then I put them away in a box for the clay to settle. Naoko san says this step is called letting the clay sleep in Japanese. What a lovely metaphor.

Class is over. I am running out of bread for breakfast so I decide to cycle to the supermarket. It feels so good to be cycling at the break of spring!

I spot fresh salmon sashimi at just under 500 yen. Feeling like I should treat and reward myself for the hard work in the past week, I pick that out for tonight’s main dish. Mmm, can’t wait to taste it!


When I come back, sensei is making some pieces so I ask if I can watch. It is sheer joy watching a master at work, lifting a raw, beautiful form out of the wet mud, breathing life into it with his bare fingers.

When I finally retreat into my room to rest, I look out and see the most beautiful sunset. Makes me smile in my heart.



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