Under Foot and Hand

I went hiking twice in the last four months.  First, in the eastern mountains that border Kyoto City, and second, in the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York State.  On both occasions rain and cloud cover prevented views from any summit.  For me it is typically the panorama that motivates these long hikes.  As a result I was much more focused on the path itself, consequently finding a vein of clay along the trail in the eastern mountains of Kyoto. The ceramic pieces below are made from that mountain clay.  The Adirondack Mountain hike yielded no clay, and no black bear encounters. The trade-off was a fair one.

A friend of mine in Kyoto composed this first image from the lid of a cylindrical clay box I gave her as a gift.  Image number two is of a rock garden at one of Kyoto's oldest Zen temples, Kennin-ji (1202 CE).  The third image is a globular vase I threw on the potter's wheel.  Not knowing the firing range of this mountain clay, it was interesting to find it tolerated a kiln temperature of 2300 degrees fahrenheit, yielding a rich, iron-red hue.  The miniature blue 'paths' were created by dotting pure cobalt oxide on the raw clay.  The species of bird in the first image is unknown.