The huge climbing kiln at Kawai Kanjiro's House

Ceramics Destinations in Kyoto

The following are worth considering if you are in Kyoto and interested in Ceramics.

Kawai Kanjiros' House

We have visited this beautiful old merchants house with its huge climbing kiln several times and always found it rewarding. The enormous climbing kiln and beautifully preserved house are worth spending some time exploring.

Kawai Kanjiro was a key player in Soetsu Yanangi's "Mingei" movement 1 in partnership Shoji Hamada, Kenichi Tomimoto and Bernard Leach.

The term mingei (folk art) was coined by Soetsu Yanagi in 1926 to refer to common crafts that had been brushed aside and overlooked by the industrial revolution. In the wake of te great tide

More photos of Kawai's House are here

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Guerrilla bagging

Horrified to discover the damage that plastic bags were causing to our marine environment, Claire Morsman devised a plan for action - 'sociable guerrilla bagging'.

The idea is that people make reusable bags from recycled material and then give them away to friends and family or sometimes during mass handouts.
Since it began in January 2007, hundreds of people working alone or in "pods" who work together on the bags have made over 20,000 bags. Its taken off in the UK, US, New Zealand, Spain, Japan, Morocco and France.

The bags are known as Morsbags.

Check out the website here

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A cabinet makers notebook

In interviews with contemporary woodworkers James Krenov’s first book ‘A Cabinetmaker Notebook’ is often cited as the book that changed the course of that person’s life and led to them pursuing a career with wood.
The book is a meditation on Krenov’s approach to his work. It describes a sensitive and considered approach to the design and construction of several pieces with a friendly conversational tone.

“ I stand at my workbench. Shavings curl from the plane in my hands, swish-and-slide, as I rock to the motion of work….a feeling of contentment. Nothing is wrong. Here am I, here is my work..”

Many beautiful black and white photos illustrate the text and highlight Krenov’s attention to detail and vision for the overall effect a piece will have on those who view and use it.

It is not a book that contains detailed instructions for making specific items, rather it seeks to instil in the reader an appreciation of working with sensitivity for the materials and the emergent design. He went on to write several more books that contained more detail of his methods and how to construct his signature wooden planes.

All of his book are worth reading, as are those of some of his students including Peter Korn and David Finck.

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The Anarchists Tool Chest

Just finished reading the Anarchists Tool Chest by Christopher Schwartz.

Its inspired me to build my own chest and stock with it quality tools made where possible by small firms and individuals who are keeping the tools needed for traditional woodworking alive. Chris has wicked sense of humour which, once I tuned into it, added a nice touch of levity to the material.

The book is about what Chris describes as the essential set of tools needed to practise traditional hand tool woodworking. Its also about building a chest to house them. What really makes the book though is Chris's philosophy that permeates the text, this is what the use of 'Anarchist' in the title references.

"The mere act of owing real tools and having the power to use them is a radical and rare idea that can help change the world around us and - if we are persistent - preserve the craft"

The book is published by Lost Art Press who describe themselves as

 a small publishing company in Fort Mitchell, Ky., that seeks to help the modern woodworker learn traditional hand-tool skills.

They have a collection of good stuff for those into the hand tool world. They don't ship internationally so I bought mine as a Kindle book. I also bought the DVD, Chris put this together as he had many requests to describe the tools he has in his own chest in more detail, going into brands and why he choose them. Its available from Lost Art (here) is well worth getting as an accompaniment to the book.

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