Debra and I have been travelling with our friend Daphne from Vancouver for the last week – totally away from our work in the studio, but so wonderful! We started in Kyoto (last weekend was the beginning of the garden festival) and went to the Tofokuji-Temple Garden where this particular garden is open for a mere 15 days this year. It was a very different Zen garden (to me) but designed by the landscape architect who had designed the Ryoan-ji Temple garden. I had visited Ryoan-ji twice before but it was so crowded on this day, I was happy I had seen it in a more meditative atmosphere.
We moved on to Okayama to visit the Korakuen Garden, said to be the third best garden in Japan – I don’t pretend to know how these judgements are made (we saw a couple having their wedding photos after their Shinto ceremony) and spent the day in this amazing space! What rich experiences for us.
Then on to Imbe, about ½ hour by train from Okayama, to see the Bizen pottery all of us are exceptionally fond of – and we spent a day there. It took us a bit of time to get around because we find it all so interesting and we need to take our time! Many of the galleries and museums ask that we not take photographs, so catalogues, on-line references, or if one is lucky, the purchasing of a piece of work as each of us did, keep the works fresh in our minds.
The last night of our travels was spent on Naoshima, sometimes called the art island, at Benesse House. To me, the architecture of Tadao Ando and the Chifu Museum art installations were worth making the trip to Japan. We could have spent days there as we just scratched the surface and I feel so much the need to return.
We finished our journey in Kyoto where visited Gallery 13 Maroni to see the ceramic work of Shigaraki resident guest artist Barbara Tong, from Hong Kong now living in London, England.
There is lots more to say, but I will let my photos tell you of some of our journey.
Barbara has made miniatures, approximately 4-5 cm each of landmark buildings in Kyoto. She is a mixed-media artist, not primarily a ceramacist but has fallen under the spell of clay, and she plans on similar projects with other large cities around the world, concluding by amalgamating her works in a future exhibit. The detail of her miniatures is charming and really quite wonderful.