Bore dear reader

Who, What, When and Why  are all lurking behind that wall?


California St and the Bay Bridge  and beyond in the dimness  is Berkeley,




Bizen is a traditional  kiln of Japanese  pottery,  the word kiln here refers not to a place where clay is  fired, but  to an area  where potters  have a tradition of using  the same basic clay,  similar,  have skills and  techniques, and a specific “quality”—look and feel— of the pots. You can see  a piece of Bizen,or Oribe  or Hagi or Shino, whether made in today hundreds of years ago and still see the tradition of the kiln,


I find this different than most American potters where  (to me) the individual style, or creativeness, of the potter is more important than being part of a tradition. A book , “The Unknown Potter”  contrasts the “modern ” and “traditional” potter where  the former   is educated at an art school, studies various  techniques and styles, creates and then offers  their own style  to the world, The tradition potter learned  by sweeping the floors, doing the grunt work around the pottery, delivering the pots to customers, basically a one on one apprenticeship learning from the ground up.

Below is a Bizen tokkuri and a  Seto-guro guinomi  which is one my favorites being a pleasure hold and just the right size, One quality I enjoy in apiece of pottery, when I first see  it I feel an impression,  and then when I pick it up in my hand is that feeling  followed through.


The book suggests where the modern potter studies a variety of  different styles and  learns to make his or her style  from the mind, the traditional potter learns one style, “The Right Style,” and creates pots from the heart.


When I see Japanese  pottery usually I  know the kiln, I can identity the style  and  yet I can see the individual potters contribution , it is not overwhelming—except perhaps for Suzuki Goro yet in his pots  you still knowingly  feel the tradition.





WhenI first started  my graphic design business, I rented a space for $35 per month, not a great space to bring clients into, but it worked for me. and I grew out of it, For about  17 years I rented space in the building which was rented by Fremont Type, a type setting company owned by Bill Stroh making him my landlord.


Bill was an unusual person who while being politically conservative, had an intense curiosity  about people,  their unique qualities and enjoyed being around different people and helping people in need.  At “his type house” you might meet people from many different walks in life, including some young men dying from AIDS ( this was 1980s)  who had no other place to turn.

One afternoon, years after moving my office,  I met him in a shopping center, it was a few years before he was to die, He was on regular dialysis, paying about 1/8 what I was paying for my medical  insurance from the same provider.

I attended his funeral ceremony, which was attended by more people than will attend mine if there is one for me which is unlikely. Most of the people there, like me, had memories of the times Bill helped them in their life,  I guess that is a  worthwhile accomplishment.

Perhaps better than just popping up  here and there  making an artificial  spectacle of my self.


Alameda Creek levee, where I walk everyday,


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