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Thread: EXPRESSING CREATIVITY: clay, fiber, metal, ink, etc.

  1. #1

    EXPRESSING CREATIVITY: clay, fiber, metal, ink, etc.

    He who works with his hands is a laborer.
    He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
    He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.

    -Saint Francis of Assisi

    Greetings!

    The materials we have listed are typically considered craft materials and this is a partial list, so feel free to expand.

    There has been an ongoing battle of art vs. craft for eons. It is true that a product can be well constructed (crafted) but not fit the category of art as it has no depth of feeling or character other than its functionality. Conversely, I believe that for something to meet the standard of art it must be first well-made technically! When I was in graduate school one professor told his painting students that in order to be a fine abstract/non representational painter, they must first learn how to paint realistically. So, in my mind a finely made beautiful, functional object is art. And a poorly made painting is not.

    Japan is the leader in the world for their respect and appreciation of their artisans. They have raised awareness of the depth of beauty and nobility of a simple tea bowl, a stroke of brush in calligraphy, lacquerware arts and on. They have elevated their finest contemporary artists to the status of National Living Treasures. This short film made by the British Museum defines this designation.


    Please share with us your own work or a piece of art that you find especially beautiful. Functional, nonfunctional works made with traditional materials including ceramics, weaving, knitting, needlework, sewing, metal work, calligraphy, basketmaking etc. All are invited to share.

    Here’s Meitou

    Hello everyone, during this busy Ango period we are keeping it simple and bearing in mind that many of you will be occupied with studying, there is a choice – either to post images of your own hand crafted work or an image of something you find particularly beautiful and / or moving.

    We only ask that you bear in mind that we are talking about working with our hands – but this has a vast scope and so many possibilities, from yarns of all kinds, through metals, paper, board, clay, fimo and das type products, upcycled objects, household items. You could also share your calligraphy, flower arrangements etc.

    If you chose to share an image of an object that you particularly like, and again this could be a sculpture, a tea bowl, an ikebana arrangement, a statue, something made of fabric or yarn, a piece of calligraphy, any kind of structure that says something to you, please say something to us about why you have chosen it.

    Some of you who are taking Jukai and sewing a Rakusu may even chose to talk about creativity in relation to your Rakusu, or post images of Rakusu/Kesa or other crafted Zen related items that you find particularly interesting and inspiring.

    Have fun!

    Gassho

    Anne and Meitou

    we both sat today
    Last edited by Cooperix; 09-12-2020 at 02:18 PM.

  2. #2
    Thank you Anne, thank you Meitou,

    looking forward this place coming alive with crafts made by hands and heart .

    Gassho,
    eva
    sattoday and also LAH

  3. #3
    He who works with his hands is a laborer.
    He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
    He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.

    -Saint Francis of Assisi
    I really love this quote. I have made some items recently that I will take pictures of to share. Nothing fancy - I do not have fine materials or any special skill, but they are all made with the heart and even if they don't speak to others, they bring me joy.

    Gassho,

    Nanrin

    Sattoday

  4. #4
    A few days ago I found my old string of painted prayer beads that hang at the door of the bamboo hut had broken and scattered on the ground. I collected them up, separated out the beads so worn that they were splintery, and from the rest I slowly polished up a handful with candlewax and a bit of discarded cloth. From there I strung them into a wrist mala to serve as a reminder of practice.

    Gassho,

    Nanrin,

    Sat today
    南 - Southern
    林 - Forest

  5. #5
    Nanrin, this reads like a lovely old Zen story or the opening for a Bashō poem, beautiful work which encompasses more than one of the Zen aesthetics.
    Could this inspire a haiku or similar from you and/or others amongst our poets?
    Deep bows
    Meitou
    Sattoday lah
    Last edited by Meitou; 09-12-2020 at 06:47 AM.
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  6. #6
    Nanrin,
    this is beautiful in more than just the visual surface.
    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  7. #7
    Hello,

    I am living close to a busy river a bit outside the large city. On the other shore, there are smaller ones and some small islands, all nature sanctuaries, but you're allowed to paddle there, provided you only land at certain allowed places.
    It's time for exploring nature over there, starting next spring.

    It is a work in progress, but that's what my hands are doing right now.
    The color and appearance will change significantly, when transparent glass-fiber/epoxy and varnish is applied.
    Also quite some elements like stern, wales, seats, carrying yoke, decks and stuff are still to be made.
    It's called a Canadian over here, but I guess in Canada, you call it a Cedar Strip Canoe (made of Western Red Cedar and Ash).

    canoe1.jpg canoe2.jpg

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  8. #8
    He who works with his hands is a laborer.
    He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
    He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.
    -Saint Francis of Assisi
    I really love this quote too and was recently talking about the differences between art and craft on my Facebook page in relation to Sashiko sewing and more abstract textile forms in the same vein.

    This is a lovely prompt. Thank you so much Anne and Meitou for your continuing work in the Art Circle.

    Deep bows
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  9. #9
    It is a work in progress, but that's what my hands are doing right now.
    The color and appearance will change significantly, when transparent glass-fiber/epoxy and varnish is applied.
    Also quite some elements like stern, wales, seats, carrying yoke, decks and stuff are still to be made.
    It's called a Canadian over here, but I guess in Canada, you call it a Cedar Strip Canoe (made of Western Red Cedar and Ash).

    canoe1.jpg canoe2.jpg
    Wow! That is beautiful, Kotei, and the thought of spring exploration is very exciting. Please do post updates to this project.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  10. #10
    Nanrin, so beautiful on so many levels. Meitou is right the transformation from one sacred object to another is a lovely reminder of the impermanence of all but also the truth of regeneration! Thank you.

    And Kotei that "Canadian" in progress took my breath away. Ah! the grace and rich beauty of the curved wooden siding. Just perfectly elegant! Please, as Kokuu requested do keep us updated on this amazing project.


    Gassho
    Anne

    ~lahst~

  11. #11
    Member RobD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Massachusetts, United States
    Nanrin/Kotei,

    Beautiful work my friends!

    I love the inspiration for this thread and will follow closely for all of the inspiration that it will provide as it grows.

    And I like the idea of using some of the work/stories shared here as prompts for poetry and other forms of expression—challenge accepted!

    Gassho,
    Rob

    -stlah-


    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    I really love this quote too and was recently talking about the differences between art and craft on my Facebook page in relation to Sashiko sewing and more abstract textile forms in the same vein.

    This is a lovely prompt. Thank you so much Anne and Meitou for your continuing work in the Art Circle.

    Deep bows
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    Please Kokuu if you would, please share some of your Sashiko sewn pieces with us. You posted one on the last EC thread. I'd like to see more. I love handstiching! The Rakusu Project taught me so much.

    Bows
    Anne

    ~lahst~

  13. #13
    Kotei, that's stunning.
    And Kokuu - what Anne said.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Sattoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  14. #14
    Not my work but a welcome gift in the mail today. My friend is well known artist in a nearby city mainly being commissioned to create large mixed media installations. I've been lucky enough to help her create a couple and help her set up exhibition spaces.
    The red one below is ink on paper inspired by my respiratory journey this year. The blue is a print on denim sending me love. A few years ago I organised a large fundraising gig for a project I started. Kate was gracious enough to donate a large number of printed patches to be sold.
    I really should work out a way to paint while lying down ala Frida Kahlo.
    Gassho
    Onka
    Sat today/received LAH

    *I acknowledge going over 3 sentences. I endeavour to do and be better.

    Sent from my SM-A205YN using Tapatalk
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.

  15. #15
    Lovely work by your friend Onka, I really like that print on fabric, I can imagine a bunch of these strung up outside like prayer flags.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Sattoday
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  16. #16
    Just great Onka, I lik it!
    Gassho
    Deep bows
    sat/ lah
    Tai Shi


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    The object of practice is not transcendence but transformation, yet ultimately we must transcend ourselves. (Elucidation of Dogen) in HOW TO RAISE AN OX

  17. #17

    EXPRESSING CREATIVITY: clay, fiber, metal, ink, etc.


    Gassho
    sat / lah
    Tai Shi


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    The object of practice is not transcendence but transformation, yet ultimately we must transcend ourselves. (Elucidation of Dogen) in HOW TO RAISE AN OX

  18. #18
    I was a professional potter in my 20's and still have a love of clay. These three bowls are some of my favorites. The large platter on the left is mine. It's made of white stoneware and glazed with a Chinese chun glaze, probably from the late 70s or early 80s. The two other bowls are not signed, so no idea the name of the two potters. But both gorgeous and beautifully thrown. I have a wonderful collection of bowls and with rare exceptions I know the potter's name. The Japanese rarely signed their ceramic pieces. A bow to humility and no-ego! In The Unknown Craftsman A Japanese Insight into Beauty, Soetsu Yanagi pays homage to this tradition. https://www.amazon.com/Craftsman-Jap...s%2C205&sr=8-1

    Bowls and plates were my favorite objects to throw and now to enjoy...
    I will continue to post some of the bowls from my collection.


    bowls.jpg

    Gassho
    Anne

    ~lahst~

  19. #19
    Fantastic Anne.

    Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  20. #20
    Anne, this is beautiful work. I also love bowls, plates, cups - but I find it very difficult to explain why one bowl speaks to me and another might not. It's not just tied up in shape, colour and glaze, but also in weight and feel, the experience of touching and holding, of cupping something in my hand. When I cup my hand over my cat's head I experience the same sensation as when I hold a favourite bowl, a sense of connection, pleasure, satisfaction, rightness, perhaps even suchness? Still struggling with the words, but do please post more of your collection.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  21. #21
    Thank you Meitou and Jishin!
    My love of bowls has followed me throughout my artist's career. Besides clay, I have made them out of bee's wax (my favorite), turned steel (the heaviest), cast iron - (of course all non functional but part of larger pieces). They represent for me the feminine, a graceful container. And all the things you mention Meitou! I'll post some of the odd material bowls I've made.

    Bows
    Anne

    ~st~

  22. #22
    very cool stuff Anne!

    gassho

    rish
    -stlah

  23. #23
    Thanks Risho!

    I am attaching images from a more recent clay project (2018-2019). It has been many years since I'd worked with clay and about 3 years ago I started once again, but hand building rather than throwing. Thirty plus years ago, after I had attended a Zazen Weekend Retreat at Bodhi Manda Zen Center in Jemez Springs NM ( https://www.bmzc.org/ ) I was so taken by the 3 bowls we carried with us for our meals, wrapped in a cotton cloth and holding a pair of chopsticks, that I made that aesthetic part of my art practice off and on for all these years. They were titled '3 Red Bowl Series'. These pictured are nonfunctional as they are finished with bee's wax and pigment. The red circles leaning in front of the open box fit nicely as lids on the bowls inside the box.
    3redbowls.jpgthree red bowls open.jpg
    I know there is talent in our sangha, please share your favorite pieces by other artists or your own work. We are a gentle, appreciative audience.

    Gassho
    Anne

    ~lahst~

  24. #24
    All I can say is I couldn’t do it, wouldn’t try! Yes, takes skill of a real craftsperson! Thank you for showing real skill!
    Gassho
    sat / lah
    Tai Shi


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    The object of practice is not transcendence but transformation, yet ultimately we must transcend ourselves. (Elucidation of Dogen) in HOW TO RAISE AN OX

  25. #25
    Anne,
    I am sharing the love for bowls with you.
    The functional ones are beautiful. Myself, I am drawn to the small Chinese ones, not so much the slightly larger Japanese. No wonder, enjoying tea the Chinese way.
    The material and texture of the '3 Red Bowl Series' makes me want to smell and examine them closer. Fascinating.
    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  26. #26
    Can I share my latest photographs?



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    The object of practice is not transcendence but transformation, yet ultimately we must transcend ourselves. (Elucidation of Dogen) in HOW TO RAISE AN OX

  27. #27
    Lovely photographs, Tai Shi! Nice to see flowers still in bloom at this time of the year.

    I have sewed a couple of cushions from Japanese fabrics and stitching techniques that fall more into the craft category than art. Art I see as a more open-ended process guided by an emotion or feeling, whereas craft tends to follow a pattern but there can still be an emotion or feeling guiding how it develops.

    Cushion one (and the kanji for Kokuu embroidered on the reverse: https://postimg.cc/jDFdyH0n)
    Cushion two

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  28. #28
    Beautiful cushions. Again nothin if not beautiful. I couldn’t do it. Stitchery, bead work, embroidery all lovely.
    Gassho
    sat not upon... lol
    Tai Shi


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    The object of practice is not transcendence but transformation, yet ultimately we must transcend ourselves. (Elucidation of Dogen) in HOW TO RAISE AN OX

  29. #29
    Member RobD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Massachusetts, United States
    Some beautiful work being posted here by all! Thank you for sharing.

    Kokuu, the more Rakusu sewing I do, the more intrigued I am by Sashiko. I may take a "stab" (bad pun intended) at that in the new year when we're on the other side of Ango/Jukai.

    Gassho,
    Rob

    -stlah-


    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  30. #30

    EXPRESSING CREATIVITY: clay, fiber, metal, ink, etc.

    The flowers were a real
    Find, and Marjorie purchased them to adorn the front of our house, actually 3, in planters on a cedar deck which she lovingly stained. She and I take pride, allowed by precepts? In the house we worked 26 years to own. Big chunk of our little family, our daughter is 31, left for collage when she was 18 also approves of my Zen.
    Gassho
    sat / lah
    Tai Shi


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    The object of practice is not transcendence but transformation, yet ultimately we must transcend ourselves. (Elucidation of Dogen) in HOW TO RAISE AN OX

  31. #31
    Beautiful cushions. Again nothin if not beautiful. I couldn’t do it. Stitchery, bead work, embroidery all lovely.
    I think it is hard with your physical limitations, Tai Shi. It is good you can express yourself through words instead!


    Kokuu, the more Rakusu sewing I do, the more intrigued I am by Sashiko. I may take a "stab" (bad pun intended) at that in the new year when we're on the other side of Ango/Jukai.
    Ha! I find it to be incredibly similar to rakusu sewing and there are plenty of pattern resources on the internet. Sewing the rakusu is lovely but you can only wear one and sashiko is a similar practice of meditative sewing for me.


    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  32. #32
    Firstly, Tai Shi,
    Thank you for providing a bouquet of chrysanthemums for our virtual table in our virtual gallery! Lovely.

    And Kokuu! Just wonderful - those pillows. I especially love the gray one with the geometric stitching. Thanks for sharing! The regularity of your stitches is astounding.

    And Kotei, I enjoyed your comments on the bowls being reminiscent of enjoying a cup of tea.

    Bows
    Anne

    ~lahst~

  33. #33
    For Cooperx, Kokuu, and Rob thank you . Marjorie loves to do such things. Once put in an entire kitchen floor in a week. I bought her a skill saw to do the job. As I said, I can’t sew. You all have talents. Probably we all have gifts we’ve worked for. I used to pick up my end of the cooking more. I still make a few receipts. Life is what you make it. We have doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, and many professionals. I was a teacher for 22 years, and I’m disabled. Then house husband.
    Gassho
    sat / lah
    Tai Shi



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    The object of practice is not transcendence but transformation, yet ultimately we must transcend ourselves. (Elucidation of Dogen) in HOW TO RAISE AN OX

  34. #34
    CELEBRATING CREATIVITY OF THE ANCIENT ONES

    Creativity is inherent in homo sapiens.

    My father's favorite hobby was hunting ancient man stone tools in the vast and open flatland of south Texas. He had an enormous collection of stone tools that we donated to the anthropology department the University of Texas, Austin after his death. He had worked with the archaeologists there over the years. I saved out these samples from his collection as he had taken the time to build frames to display them. The precision and skill required to make these tools is apparent. Not only are they beautifully constructed they are in themselves graceful and aesthetically pleasing objects. The artists made them for utilitarian purposes and obviously took pride in their craftsmanship.

    The corner tang knife was my father's most prized find and he cherished it. It is somewhere between 4000 and 1700 years old. More information about it here https://hcarcheology.org/wp-content/...ace-4.6.18.pdf

    The other image is of a collection of dart and/or spear points he found in one location in one day! I love looking at these ancient beautiful objects. Somehow connects me with all artisans through time.

    cornertangknife.jpg
    stone tools BFC colleciton.jpg

    Bowing to all creatives past and present!
    Anne

    ~lahst~

  35. #35
    Tai Shi, Kokuu and Anne, such fabulous contributions, as beautiful as they are diverse. In such times as we live in, it's comforting to find ourselves united by diversity instead of witnessing polemics and polarisation.
    Such gratitude
    Meitou
    Sattoday lah
    Edit : psst Rob, your rakusu is indeed a profound creative process, feel free to post about it here.
    Last edited by Meitou; 09-24-2020 at 08:10 AM.
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  36. #36
    Meitou, Rob thank you both for uniting us all in your creativity and cultivating belief where there is no belief.
    Gassho
    sat/ lah
    Tai Shi


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    The object of practice is not transcendence but transformation, yet ultimately we must transcend ourselves. (Elucidation of Dogen) in HOW TO RAISE AN OX

  37. #37
    I have wanted this book for years, but couldn't quite justify to myself the price. But this week I thought 'If not now, when?!' I am happy to confirm that it was worth the wanting and every penny it cost. Expect to see some humble efforts soon!

    shodo.jpg

    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  38. #38
    Calligraphy is a beautiful art, as part of my daughter’s Asian Translation MFA she studied Calligraphy.
    Gassho
    sat
    Tai Shi


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    The object of practice is not transcendence but transformation, yet ultimately we must transcend ourselves. (Elucidation of Dogen) in HOW TO RAISE AN OX

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Tai Shi View Post
    Calligraphy is a beautiful art, as part of my daughter’s Asian Translation MFA she studied Calligraphy.
    Gassho
    sat
    Tai Shi


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    How wonderful Tai Shi, I'm looking forward to learning and practising.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

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