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.

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

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The birds wait to take flight.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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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