After many hours spent setting up this website, I finally get the chance to sit down to write the first entry of this journal. It’s given me the chance to think back to it all started – my love at first sight relationship with ceramics.
For some reason this memory keeps coming back to me – a scene of myself flipping through a magazine (possibly Home and Decor related Japanese magazine) and chancing upon a photo of a table scene with beautiful Japanese ceramic tableware. Something about the warmth, tranquility and cosiness of the scene immediately tugged at my heartstrings. There is a word in Japanese called Shibui (渋い) which is used to describe a particular aesthetic of simple, subtle, and unobtrusive beauty. The pieces of ceramic tableware that were displayed were certainly not flashy, colourful pieces. They were simple, exuded the feeling of Shibui, and complimented the food that was displayed in and alongside them. It captured a scene of an everyday occurrence – a simple meal at the dinner table. And yet that moment was elevated beautifully by the presence of ceramics.
“The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of… We know the truth not only by the reason, but by the heart.”– Blaise Pascal
It’s funny how the heart gets pulled along in a certain direction way faster than our brains ever have the time to catch up.
I never quite forgot that feeling of yearning for such beauty in simplicity. Though I had always wanted to learn ceramics properly, it would be years before I finally got my hands dirty with clay at a simple one day hand-building workshop, where I got to try building some pinch pots. I ended up making a simple cup and saucer set which I gave to my dearest Grandmother so that she would always be reminded of me (and also because she’s the type of lovable Grandmother who would never say no to anything her granddaughter gives her). That set now sits in her bathroom as she uses the cup and saucer to put her toothbrush and soap in. Every time I see it I can’t help but smile at how she uses it in her everyday life.
It is in the simplest of moments of our day to day lives, through engaging with the objects in our surroundings that tiny imprints are left in our hearts and minds. Each time we glance at something that brings to mind a warm memory, there is a physical warmth that grows in our hearts. Each time we drink tea from a cup after a hard day’s work and feel the warmth from the cup on our fingertips slowly spreading to fill our chests, our minds are filled with ease and comfort. These are moments that are so ordinary and so simple, they are often forgotten in the commotion of daily life. But through using a beloved piece of ceramics, it acts as a physical reminder to us to engage in the moment with our heart and mind.
These are thoughts that I often think about as I’ve spent more and more time living with ceramics. I continue to be amazed by the comfort and support that they provide as my companions. They remind me to savour the heart of everyday moments. I hope you will also love your time spent with ceramics as they grow to become an intimate part of your everyday life.
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