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AN ENCOUNTER WITH MR. NAKAHARA, A POTTER FROM HAGI

23 July 2015

at 12:00 by Seb

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Here’s a text from our new book ’Green Tea: The Quest for Fresh Leaf and Timeless Craft freshly translated into English and now on sale.

Mr. Nakahara, how did you become a potter?


In Hagi, pottery is a local industry. Since I grew up in this city, I have always been close to this art. Many artisans lived close to my home. When the time came to choose a career, I naturally thought of becoming a potter.

Some Hagi pieces have a notch on their bottom. Why is that?

There was a period during which people were not authorized to use the same pottery as the emperor. To identify the bowls that were not intended for him, potters inscribed a notch. This tradition is still alive today.

In your opinion, what are the qualities of a good potter?

To begin with, to make good pottery, you must be skillful. You must have agile fingers. I believe that dexterity is a crucial part of pottery technique. You must also know how to use the potter’s wheel. When I work, I think about pleasing my clients, about what format would be most useful for them, and so forth. The elegance and beauty of each piece are things I am very concerned about.

I also believe that one can sense an artist’s humanity through his work. Analyzing a work of art is difficult for amateurs as well as professionals.à 

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Even if they are not experts in pottery, most people feel something mysterious when they see or touch a piece. I believe that they can intuitively feel what kind of a person made the piece. So I think a good potter should have a positive outlook in his everyday life.

People say that the present-day Japanese have neither beliefs nor principles. I don’t agree; I think that we all believe in something. Pottery is the mirror of an artist’s way of life. I don’t think that a buyer chooses my pieces randomly. I believe that you recognize me through my work.

How do you view the art of pottery in contemporary Japan, com- pared with the period when you began?


The pottery industry in Japan is very respectful of tradition. That being said, young potters have more difficulty if they don’t come from a family of artisans who pass the torch from generation to generation. Maybe young artists are not given their fair due. Potters who have been established for a long time are highly respected by people in the industry. Their pottery is very expensive. This is how it was in the past and the situation has not changed.

Three Exceptional Teas from Jasmin 2015

14 July 2015

at 16:06 by Seb

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Long Jing Bai Ye: being a great fan of the green teas Anji Bai Cha and Long Jing Shi Feng, the combination of the cultivar of the former and the transformation of the latter makes a tea which for me is a perfect balance between herbaceous and roasted fragrances! This unprecedented tea showcases the full expertise of Mr. He in both cultivation and the transformation of tea!

Bai Hao Jingmai Bio: A Chinese Bai Hao !! ?? From a meeting with some Taiwanese in Yunnan and visiting their certified organic plantation, Cing Shin, at 1200m for a magnificent day, totally charming for me with my love of the mix of different cultures. An everyday black wulong with spicy accents that could confuse fans of Taiwanese teas!

Feng Huang Hong cha: a black tea from Guangdong made by the Liao brothers with the wulong tea cultivar Mi Lan Xiang. The tea combines the fruitiness of Dan Cong teas with the cereal nuances of Chinese black teas. Unique and persistent! Perfect with a Speyside scotch!

 
 

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