Winin’ doubt, know

Art has nothing to do with intellectual pursuit—it shouldn’t be in a university at all. Art should be practiced in gutters—pardon me, in attics.

Phillip Johnson Architect & Mischief Maker

Balloon Art

Walking along Alameda Creek I often meet interesting people. Bob noticing the “discarded ” balloons congregating in the San Francisco Bay along Alameda Creek , made a commitment to cleanup and assembled the balloons into a visual.

Balloons wandering free in the San Francisco Bay.

“There is trash and junk that are far too close to the fish and birds in the area.”

Personal stories told

The visual exhibit.

Alameda Creek

In the morning I usually do some floor exercises in front of the tv and often some version of Law and Order is on. Today the behavioral science professional was on the witness chair, and prosecuting showed evidence that his methodology was not scientific. The defense attorney then stated that “Just because the methodology was not acceptable does not mean the conclusions is wrong.”

lf that were so then why bother doing the experiment, save time and money by just writing out the conclusion and submitting. Forget data gathering and go right to data processing..

Philosophy influenced, perhaps gave birth to, Science and regarding “knowing,” Philosophy had two important concerns : What do we know and How do we know it,

What is the data and how did we get it? What are the conclusions and how did we get there? Actually its What did we do and what are the conclusions.based on the data. —the experiment comes before the conclusions.

In Science there those scientists who specialize in collecting data—methodology— and those who specialize in reviewing and drawing conclusions. from the data.

In Science there is a “standard,” the “Scientific Method,” which defines how to do the experiment, and how to draw and write observations and conclusions.

The “Scientific Method” was developed over centuries by discussions in Philosophy of knowing —What you know and how you know it are equal parts of the knowing process.

The standard is “set”, but not “set in stone.”

Its set ( and taught) so everyone scientist knows what is. and can check on it every once in a while, and, its not set in stone because Science is a process which may never complete, a goal of differentiating and defining every “thing” in the Universe. it seems it will always be learning and growing.

Science is not claiming an “ in and of itself truth” about the Universe and the things in it, but a “to the best of our knowledge,” where knowledge is measured by Did the scientist adhere to the Scientific Method.

If they did not, which may well occur, and mostly does occur, unintentionally and further investigation oftens lead to modification—advancements— in defining and measuring ”—of the Method itself.

The body of scientists is held together by the personal commitment of choice by individual scientists to the Scientific Method. Its an unwritten agreement among self declared individual scientists

There are professional organizations, big and small, and perhaps the main commonality is higher education levels and the more specialized jobs associated. But still scientists around this world are united by their personal commitment to the scientific method.

There are “amateur scientists,” sometimes you hear of discoveries in space, and individuals who collect data adhering to the Method (migration for example) but today science businesses are common as well as well funded university projects.

Still all of these people .who identify themselves as scientists agree to follow the Scientific Method, one part of which is to publish their experimental data for peer review. And they do it peacefully with a balance of rights and responsibilities.

Still, whether we can know the Universe, and all the “things that make it up” is a whole other question. Can we know the Universe only through our biological senses— Empirical data alone —or by our biological capabilities of the mind—Reason interpreting our sensual data.

EndPapers

But happiness is being able to hope, however faintly, for happiness. So, at least, we must believe if we are to live in the world of today.

Osamu Dazai Japanese author 1909 – 1948

A couple from Mumbai visiting their son who live near by, while enjoying the splendors of Alameda Creek

If you’re ever down in Houston, 
Boy you better walk right
And you better not squabble, 
And you better not fight
Bason and Brock will arrest you, 
Payton and Boone will take you down
You can bet your bottom dollar, 
That you’re Sugar Land bound
Let the Midnight Special, 
Shine a light on me
Let the Midnight Special, Shine the ever-lovin’ light on me.

Midnight Special lyrics by Ledbelly (Huddie Ledbetter)

Summer, 1971, Phillips church summer school

The story is that Ledbelly wrote this song while in prison. He got into a fight in a bar, killed someone and was sent to prison. Perhaps he wrote it, perhaps he heard it sung and improved on it

.Ledbelly claimed to have written lots of songs, who knows but he had a singular memory capability and tens if not hundreds of “folk songs” would have been lost if there had been no Leadbelly. The story tells that the warden was so impressed with his singing that he helped him get out of jail.
Ledbelly played the 12-string and Fannon Street tells of his younger days.

Summer, 1971, Phillips church summer school

1969 I made photographs of the Toledo Model Cities program. Ed Douthet (sorry if wrong spelling) in white shirt was training these young men in the Art of brick laying. I was still yet to leave Sociology. much less have a moving business, live in Maine, go to art school, work at a big printer and then move to SiliconValley to start a design business. Ed talked about brick laying as a public Art where design, skill and commitment pf the craftsman made people’s everyday lives better. Some of his words about the public responsibility of artisans doing “the trades” have been with me all my life, he was teaching his students that what they were learning was attached to a vision of how everyday experiences are better because of the visual quality of the work.

Leaving Strong, Maine, at the edge of the town, while driving I looked out the window, picked up the camera and shot, . circa 1971, fifty-one years ago, that makes them over 55 years old. Photographs are frozen moments connecting the past and the future.

In Filene’s, Washington Street, Boston, around 1971

Its cold in Maine

Avalokiteshavara —he who hears the sounds of people all over the world, and now that is the sound of one man, for his personal pleasure killing thousands of people as the world watches in horror as it happens, on prime time television..

Gate gate paragate parasamgate Bodhi Svaha

Les know, thing too say

Light misconverswayshuns with mycelph.

. People have eyes which sense, light and pass the information to the “brain.” which defines it, gives it meaning,
Young ones looking for their mother.

The camera is a tool to record light to be printed as an image, an image people believe is “close to a real representation of a thing.” The camera can be adjusted to read and print an image which corresponds to the image seen by the human eye. That seems logical— the printed image resembles what we see with our human eyes, or why would people make a camera which recorded things the human eye cannot see..

“Seen by the human eye” itself begs many questions——

Photographs are acceptable as proof in legal matters—they serve as proof of identification; people are comfortable to order things from printed and digital catalogs,;marriages are destroyed by photographs of unfaithfulness, .

In a sense the universe, from the human visual perspective, is a bunch of “things” with “space ” (no thins) between them, though as we “learn more about the universe” we also learn the space containing “no things” is made up of mor smaller things.

Is “no thing”really a thing itself?

Does a dog have Buddha nature?
Mu!.

In the Universe there is no such thing as no thing, nothing., the thing of no-thing —outside of the Universe? We only know things when we can compare to another thing., bt when we do that, we misbelieve the thing exists all by itself separate from anything else.

And even when The Light points the Way people may ignore it.

Alameda Creek

I walk along Alameda Creek Trail mos’ everyday, and make these images, sometimes a meet with another person and walk, but mostly I walk by myself, listen to podcasts and think about stuff.

The camera records a moment of light which may be printed to a medium. We can also “see” that moment, but cannot make a “photographic record of it like the camera. image which no matter how many times it is printed it looks the same.

People do record the image, it goes to their brains , gets a definition, a meaning but as one lives the recall of that moment often becomes different, it gets a different meaning.

In same photo people will also see different things even when the camera sees the same thing.

People may also see the same photograph, agree they see the same thing an at the same time also see different things . . . . .

In a photograph of a poor family, two people agree its an image of a poor family but one feels compassion and injustice while another sees a “loser” and feels proud of their personal achievements.

In a sense a person’s life is like a snowball rolling down a never ending mountain, getting bigger and bigger.

Sometimes the snow it rolls through may be more or less sticky, sometimes the sun comes out and melts some snow off it. and sometimes its really cold and freezes it up, maybe it even stops rolling down until the sun comes back out to melt it a little..

And sometimes various pieces which joined the snowball at different places melt together to become some different thing, maybe some thing which never existed before.

Our snapshots are visual records of things in our lives. If you owned a “famous photograph” worth mucho money and you house caught on fire, and you could only grab one load, would you take the “famous photograph” or your book of family snapshots?

Sometimes we refer to people who can remember things more accurately than most as having a “photographic memory.”

While others who make photographs seek to have knowthing to say

EndPapers

Monday, nothing
Tuesday, nothing
Wednesday and Thursday nothing
Friday, for a change
A little more nothing
Saturday once more nothing

Song by the Village Fugs (middle 1960s)

Is the kid seeding the field with a new crop or throwing a bomb?

A summer afternoon in western Massachusetts.

When the right hand does not no what the left hand is doing .

The Morris Bellis Tire Center, Arlington MA, circa 1971

For a couple of years we did furniture moving in Boston with a van, ran an ongoing ad in The Pheonix , a bed, table, chest of drawers, maybe a couch and stereo, and who knows what in black opaque plastic bags, though it it were books ora set of dishes we found out when the bag broke from too much weight.

We would buy used 6 or 8 ply tires from from Mr.. Morris Bellis.

Sengakuji on a late Spring afternoon, no one there to pay respects to the 47 Ronin For ¥500 buy a package of stick incense and light one for each plus Lord Asano and his wife as the city continues to grow up around them.

And young people have better things to do than dote on the past.

Mom was in memory care for 3 1/2 years, we saw her at least once a day,. often went out shopping, eating, sightseeing and for doctor visits. At this place everyday I would sit with her for supper.. Mom was very bright, since her stroke and severe memory loss, she knew something had happened, that something was different, and she was constantly trying to figure it out, but he could never understand why or how things changed .

周文公旦

When we were young is now a thing of the past, and still many fail to meet the standards set by Dan, Duke Wen of early Zhou. dynasty.

Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bohdhi Svaha

Miggleman & Leicester

“Sometimes its not what you need to remember, but what you need to learn.”

Emerson MIggleman, from his Second tribute speech for Wallace “Wally” Leicester at his Fifth Retirement Dinner

Many governments have been founded upon the principle of the subordination and serfdom of certain classes of the same race; such were and are in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature’s laws. With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place.”

Cornerstone Speech Alexander H.Stephens Vice President of the Confederate States of America Savannah, Georgia, 1861

Toledo Ohio, 1969 Model Cities funded pre school.in the Old West End.

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.

Cornerstone Speech Alexander H.Stephens Vice President of the Confederate States of America Savannah, Georgia, 1861

Model Cities office 1969 This couple had just arrived from  Appalachia in an old car full of dirty clothes and fast food packages strewn around the backseat.. They had not eaten for some time—don’t remember—and they were not really going to Toledo, they just ran out of gas and money.

After the war, Stephens was imprisoned until October 1865. The following year, the Georgia legislature elected Stephens to the United States Senate, but the Senate declined to seat him due to his role in the Civil War. He won election to the House of Representatives in 1873 and held that office until 1882, when he resigned from Congress to become governor of Georgia. Stephens served as governor until his death in March 1883.

From Wikipedia

;On Tuesday (12-07-2021) a bi-partisan group of Japanese lawmakers visited Yasukuni Shrine, regarded as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism by its Asian neighbors, for the first time in more than two years. The group of 99 politicians, headed by Hidehisa Otsuji of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, visited the Tokyo shrine in the morning to pay respects to the country’s war dead. Otsuji is a former vice president of the House of Councilors.

This photograph (from Reuters) successfully communicates multiple levels of important political and human feelings about this issue.

The stone torii at Yasakuni Jinja visually feels authoritative .with a softness — “fatherly authoritative.”

People come for may different reasons. It was founded to commemorate the Japanese national spirit by honoring military achievements. Following WWII some Japanese high level military and political individuals found guilty of War Crimes against the Chinese and Koreans who were sentenced to prison or executed, have their remains “enshrined/interred” at Yasukuni Jinja.

Preparing an Ikebana Exhibition at Yasukuni Jinja. Shrines and temples are not so much places where people come to worship as places where people come together to do community social things. In Japan temples and shrines are often involved with daily community activities, even if its only taking the daily shortcut through the temple grounds on your way to work.

Shinto priest approaching, visitors leaving

Alameda Creek

Light misconverswayshuns with my self

I walk along Alameda Creek mos’ every day, usually about 3-4 miles Its just down the street, its free, and I can fit it in whenever I want. I can listen to podcasts or I can have a conversation with myself. Sometimes I will walk with other people I meet, or have met.

The good thing about walking with others is that we talk and I don’t think about, or have conversation with my self—or whichever self I happen to be then.

Along Alameda Creek people are different, how they look for example. Many people have purchased clothes specifically for jogging, .walking or bike riding along the trail. Some are members of a group and have same shirts with the name of the group , some are please to advertise, for free, for the manufacturer of the clothing.

Nylon, a synthetic fiber made of polymers, doesn’t break down easily and accounts for about 10% of the debris in the ocean. .Plastic products are non-biodegradable and an last as long as 40 to 50 years without being broken down.

Humans generally do not dwell on what life was like in history. We don’t experience it, and we are daily further and further removed from it.

Consider all the “things” we have in our every day life that did not exist 200 years ago, much less 35,000 years much less 300,000 years ago, i.e. the beginning of Homo Sapiens. Tools reflect this and you can learn a lot from working with old tools

Still humans are basically doing the same things, aren’t we?

Eating, sleeping sheltering, traveling, raising chldren, .pooping & peeing. and . . . working .

Look at what wealth has brought to us. . . .

But just who is this “us”?

Last year there was a 60% increase in the sales of $500,000,000 yachts . . .US??? and still billions in poverty

We humans are all here born on this earth, each of us has a birthright claim to this earth. The Universe is 13.8 billion years old, . one life @75 years, or about 0.00000000057% of the time.

Here we are, on a big rock zooming through space, we don”t know from where we came, no idea where we are going —and just focus onour0.00000000057%. its expanding and we just along for the ride, as short as it may be.

Consider the billions of human lives which have been lost to the greed of a few individuals—There is more than enough to ensure that no one on Earth is in poverty, no one lacks education or basic health care, yet so many very wealthy perceive those that do not have wealth as their enemy. while they could so easily be bought off by the very wealthy for so little — just some basic food, education and health care.

EndPapers

Bart gives a hand to himself—Bart Simpson was a character in Nathanael West’s The Day of the Locusts.

The show was reminder how much fun people can have with satirical social comment and how much work it takes to be convincingly stupid.

Hand

Little birdie, little birdie,
What makes your head so red?
You’ve a short time for to be here
An’ a long time to be dead

Appalachian folk song

Box Art, a la Joseph Cornell by Winifred Baker Russell, She gave this to me when I was art school living in Cambridge about 1973-74 while on her way to a new job and a new life in LA as curator of a museum, a position she had been working for and rightfully earned, since graduating college. Shortly afterward way, too shortly, one rainy night she was in an automobile accident and died..She was an amazing person. and after moving cross country in a tiny little car, I still have this piece of “recycled ”art.

Read karephoo Lee, as your options have not changed

Lawrence Ferlinghetti passed away recently, here is a fold-up-table street vendor in front of City Lights Book Store, not quite sure what he is selling but it looks like a regular chilly afternoon in the shadowed canyons of San Francisco.

Powell Street Bart Station at Market St— Some C level executive is somewhere wondering how to increase profits, maybe dealing with a recall of 200,000 products, some other person is operating a crane downtown, another person in a nursing home is cleaning up excrement off the patient and bed while this woman is busy finger-pointing at and lecturing the tourists standing in line for a cable car ride. I wondered what she does with the other parts of her life.

California, Street, runs one side to the other across the city from the piers of Embarcadero to the Pacific Ocean

Market Street I see this man, I think how lucky he can flex his hips and legs like that, maybe he is Christian and believes in Saint John .Maybe he looks at me and thinks “How lucky he ate this this morning .

I wonder if rural people understand the logistics of city life. Lots of people, lots of problems, lots of responsibilities , it can take years to build a tall building, a project with constant flow of materials, trash, critical needs human emotions, In the rural area they may burn their trash, store stuff in the barn, even stick useless vehicles in a field. and take a walk to get away.

Human made shapes are different than natural shapes, they organize the information of the landscape differently than natural environment creating a different experience of uniform lines, colors and shapes

Parks with open space are important for people, taxes are higher for upkeep of the parks, financial city managers are held to higher, often more transparent, standards than in private enterprise. and are dependent on taxes for their budget. this all requires a lot of politicking .

Alameda Creek

Now, I’ve got four or five puppies,
Got one shaggy hound,
Takes all them dogs to run my

Women down.
Saturday Blues Ishman Bracey

Walking pretty much daily along Alameda Creek I can listen to radio, podcasts, and sometimes just think—I can feel sorry for myself, think about a pressing problem, sing an old song or try to close up some inconsistencies in some theory,

What is Blues music?   Some definitions refer to the blues “feeling” of the music. Another refers to the technical aspect— each verse is twelve measures long  with one basic  chord progression and  a few common variations.

Maybe you think doing every song  the same would be boring, but get a few hours of the works of great blues artists, such as  Muddy Waters or  BB King ,sit down and lesson.

While jazz spread around the globe the twelve bar blues grew as a worldwide  musical language. .Pretty much anywhere in the world  where musicians play “popular urban music”, they know it and at the drop of a hat they con sit down, and join in from the first downbeat.

This is the origin of structured improvisation in jazz music. Whether its a specific musician/ instrument, or as in most jazz groups each instrument gets it chance to improvise while the rest of the group knowingly plays the 12 bars, this is a global language created in the USA.

Early 1900s King Oliver  a cornet player  who improvised over his band playing 12 bar—vertical bars separate the measures—blues. . Louis Armstrong  joined the band to improvise on top of King”s improvisation

FYI_King’s wife’s name was Ruby Tuesday, the same name as a 1960’s pop song by The Rolling Stones.

The chord progression using I,  IV amd V symbols for the three chords where the roman numerals  designate the basic three chords of a pop song, such as  A, D, E7;  or G, C and D7.

four meaures of I; 
two measures of IV, 
two measures of I; 
one measures of V
one measures of IV
one measure of I.
one measure of V.

So if you are playing-blues in they key of A then I =A; . IV = D; and V = E or E7

At the last measure the music may sound as it is walking up or down steps into another room, this is called the turn-around, it turns the song around to start the 12 bars over again and just on thisonemeasure part alone if you listen you will hear some interesting and creative variations.

There was also an Eight Bar blues, from the Louisiana  Delta region, known as Delta blues, artists such as John Hurt, Skip James, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and Robert Johnson . Its not so common post 1950s, but  you could  hear Slim Harpo  doing eight bar blues and  personally I think his harmonica playing influenced that of Mick Jagger.

Chuck Berry had his own way of playing and listeners never seem to grow tired of it. Bob Dylan has used the 12 bar structure for many songs.

To say only one blues song, Statesboro Blues , written by Willie McTell who played 12 string guitar, a feat in itself as you either play the instrument or it plays you. He was blind and toured accompanied by his wife who might also sing on recordings. There are many great interpretations of this song, McTell was from Georgia, so was the Allman Brothers Band which did an excellent electronic version.

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The Boston Phoenix was a “larger than usual” alternative tabloid in the 1960s closing in 2013, Five decades ago living on the Cambridge side of the river I had a small business which advertised in The Pheonix and once a month I would go down, stand in line and pay for the ad. There was a dearth of movers then, all you needed was a van, two men and a phone, show up on time and do the work. There were over 250 college and post high school schools in Boston lots of students and recent grads (hang arounds) in the area with a bed, dresser, some kitchen tools, a table, chairs and books—all fit nicely in a van which is convenient to park and drive on busy streets.

Jamaica Plain early one Sunday morning out behind some business buildings in a snow field about 50 years ago this kid and I crossed paths, I vaguely remember the overall duration, I saw him,. made the image and we passed, cannot even remember whether there was a nod or any sort of acknowledgement, just two people passing each other on a vacant lot in a city. Without the photograph I would have forgotten about it.

Photographer Unknown: I found this image in a frame in a second hand store many years ago, was immediately moved by the intimacy, and fascinated by facial expressions and body gestures, its larger, about letter size, probably a special order print OR perhaps the photographer is a friend, perhaps even a family member and has enough expertise in photography to make their own prints, but what ever one of the group is not in the photo or they set up on a tripod. The lighting is interesting, a flash from the right side? Perhaps a little dodging on the two women and man on the left side? but not on the man bent over blowing out the candles. The head shadow of the man on the far right is as if the flash source is to the right and above of him.maybe the camera is more directed toward the “Birthday Man.”

New England summer afternoon, sitting in the sun

Western Minnesota flat land farm.

A house and empty lot in Jamaica Plain, a neighborhood of Boston, probably over near the railroad tracks.

Avalokiteshvara spoke the words of Heart Sutra to Shariputa—form is emptiness, emptiness is form


Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha

heart Sutra calligraphy byJanney

Pilgrim’s mean reversion

Living in an apartment in a city is a reasonably anonymous experience, but in a small rural town where short term rentals may be few, every time locals visit the shopping area they see how you live. Once I lived in a such a place as an undergrad in a small rural town a half& half basement from the street side and first floor from the back.

The main street was built on the side of hill, At street level my apartment would be in the basement, but go around 180 degrees and there was the back door entering into the kitchen. The “front door” was on the side with steps down to the living room. On top, the first floor enter the local bar from the street, a hangout for college students, they did not bother me much and it was owned by a local judge.

Somewhere in New England 1970

In Maine sometimes I would drive over to this house and wonder why such a big tree was so close to the house, there was no paved road to here, only a dirt road, and there was an old tractor and a couple pieces of trailer farm equipment busy rusting nearby.

Is there something to see of the previous people who lived here or is it a lonely house left with some secret memories of once being a home. Maybe it was rejected because the occupants could not make it a home.

Imagine how long it took to establish a common set of standards for building houses. Many gothic churches began construction with a defined, incised in stone, standard measurement for every worker on the site to use. They may have been different for different sites, though I would imagine professional builders would develop their own and any ex-employees or apprentices would likely learn, adopt and adapt them.

Western Massacheusetts, 1970, I liked the contrast of the textures of the living things to the building.

Houses—perhaps homes at one time—and the questions they raise, was it a house before it became a storage building? Is there any sign of happiness happening in this house? Maybe kids slept in the attic and kept a collection of little flip books and Edgar Rice Burroughs books so and when their cousin visited he could spend hours up there reading.

One day this house just appeared beside the road, it once had electricity, were there ever shutters on the first floor windows?

Imagine how many workers were displaced by standardization of building materials, workers who might’ve used a different measuring standard for every house. Maybe at the moment it put a lot of people out of work, but in the long run it made houses increasingly affordable for more people by reducing the labor needed to create materials, standardized the skills needed to build a house, and as society changed, resulted in lower prices for houses, more houses being built and more jobs for people building houses needing less skills than before.

One August afternoon on a country road in southern Vermont, the corn is high, When its ripe the farmers often have some on a roadside stand, if its a small stand it may have been an honor-pay practice. Corn picked, brought in that afternoon and eaten the same night is a country treat never available to city dwellers.

Japanese “Folk” Pottery

In the US there is this sense that somehow “folk art”often called craft, primitive art or “homemade,” is never to be “Art ” because it lacks an intellectual meaning component. “Great Art” is supposed to make a “statement” about the meaning of life, a statement which appeals to, or perhaps celebrates, the humans sense of “reason,” a sense beyond see, hear, smell, taste and feel and unlike our five biological senses with which we are naturally endowed, result from the additional effort of the individual—some appreciate Art more than others and we know who they are because they can express this extra sensory quality in Art. Its a little different in Japan. Craft is recognized ones as Art and the meaning of life is to be found in the doings of daily life

A guinomi is different than a choko a term also used to designate a small cup to drink sake. Guinomi means one gulp, a chokes usually smaller, more like what is used to drink sake at most Japanese restaurants in the US. There are cheap guinomi and expensive choko, but most guinomi are not cheap though not necessarily expensive and has its own individual presence while most choko are cheap and lack a presence, Generally when you drink sake with a guinomi made by a potter who has been true, you discover the meaning of the sake.

Ki-Seto guinomi (Yellow Seto), the basic glaze is yellow background with green and brown scorches,

Think of the unknown potters through history who figured out to form clay into a container, how to fire it and made the extra effort to decorate it—to make an everyday object fun and enjoyable to use. Its the using everyday that makes it have a meaning which “Art” in a museum can ever have —hell, you have to pay to see it and then you cannot even touch it, andsometimesyo have to stand-in line and then view with wit ha bunch of other people hanging around. Better to use it to eat and drink from and then wash it after and put it away to be used again tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

Hidasuki Bizen guinomi Pots are fired with wood ash “glaze” and while they feel unglazed they hold liquid. In the kiln the pots may be stacked and tied together with twine which burns leaving traces of the twine. Bizen is located on the main island in Okayama Prefecture between Kobe and Hiroshima on the Shinkansen.

Every culture has folk art and examples of GREAT DESIGN!!. Thee is no ”My culture has better design than yours.”
Folk art arises from the everyday experiences of small societies which share similar values and behavior and the art expresses the culture or “the common feeling of the people.” As societies grow they increasingly include more people from diverse backgrounds bringing behaviors which results in conflicts, and changes.

Aka Shino (Red Shino) guinomi. Often shino has a strong white glaze but red shino is also popular.

Bizen, Hagi, Mashiko, Shigaraki, and others are examples, and sometimes the word “Rokkoyo” which specifically refers to  Echizen, Seto, Tokoname, Shigaraki, Tanba and Bizen Jomon pottery is considered one of the oldest pottery dating from 13,000 BCE.

e-Karatsu guinomi and Shigaraki tokkuri i. When pouring from a Shigaraki tokkuri or drinking fro m a shigaraki guinomi don’t be surprised to feel solid particles from the Earth embedded in the clay. Karatsu often has a wonderful experience of depth of transparency in the glaze, like a da Vince glazed painting.

Folk artists learn one way of doing something which works fine in a common society, but a diverse society has multiple standards and contemporary artists may find an audience in unique personal expressions where popular Ar is defined not so much by the unique individual achievement of the artist, but by its commonality to any lowest common denominator.

Kuro Oribe Chawan Kuro-Oribe. kuro or guro means black

Seto and Mino, cites in Japan near Nagoya, have a long history of kilns with some sharing of skills and techniques and some differences— Kilns in this area have been operating for centuries. Some may be referred to as Seto or Mino style which are often more personal expressions of the potter. I like the various other Seto/Mino styles which have a tradition and the potter’s personal creative expression includes the tradition—Shino, Oribe, Ki-Seto, and Seto-guro,

Often Oribe wants to challenge the pottery user in shape or in decoration, If nothing else—but there is much more— Oribe is fun to hold and use.

This is one place Japan pottery and Japanese folk art in general (and in my opinion also USA Pueblo pottery) is different than pottery traditions in other societies. There is a tradition in which potters find their personal expression within the tradition— When you see Oribe, or Shino or etc. you know is Oribe or Shino yet the great potters have also found creative and unique ways to express themselves personally. Japan has a cultural value for Folk Art which is lacking in the USA and in Japan this creates a common cultural bond, again lacking in the USA.

Thus Art, as Folk Art, in Japan is part of the common everyday experience contrasted to in the USA where the experience of Art is separated from the personal experience of most people —Look, don’t touch the Art please!and often the property of an elite.

Seto Guro chawan. Guro means black, This is a large, heavy, demanding chawan needing both hands to hold it firmly

In western Art, the artist eclectically studies other artists as the basis to make Their Own Creation, separate from tradition, The Nakamura family makes Bizen, as do many others, but there is one lip to a guinomi which is Nakamura family and still its Bizen. Often in wester nart often the achievements of the“great clay artists” is referenced as non -functional pottery—a long way from the making of pots y used by people everyday sharing a common experience, and meaning, of using them.

Oribe tokkuri and Setoguro guinomi. Often Oribe has green and brown on a beige background, there may be an illustration from nature and a drip.

New Years with Shigaraki tokkuri, e-Karatsu guinmoi and small dishes.

Alameda Creek

There are days when the simple movement of the Earth traveling 67,000 mph through space fails to summarize my mind, that is when I like to walk along the Alameda Creek.

You could say its like I am spying on people, taking “secret pictures” of them. Look closely, my images are not about the people, but the line, color, shape, gesture, Well there are some that are about the people but in those its clear that I have their permission and they are posing.

What is it we do in our lives that makes living worthwhile? Walking along Alameda Creek.

For many the truth of a photograph is about about something that is real, a moment of insight into a person, but for me its just the color, shape, line, texture, how it gathers everything together to create a personal visual experience separate from the restriction of thinking—the mental differentiating and defining of the reality in the image to fit what we should think about what we saw and not enjoy the visual experience in and of itself.

Is there something about the movement of the shapes that give a feel to how things interact with other things—straight lines contrast to curved lines, dark contrasts to light.

Again you could say that its like I am spying on people, except these images are not about the people, I am not talking to them, I don’t care how they are, whether they are sick or feeling angst, are they lonely or happy, and you do not find yourself asking those kind of questions or making personal judgements about them. But I and you can experience the shape, the color, the gesture and the line without looking at a photograph and feeling obligated to even mentally ask “What is it?

Who is spying on who? There is a little parking lot along Alameda Creek at the Beard Rd trail head, which has a toilet and regular delivery persons who work this area know this place, PG&E, Amazon, FedEx, mail carriers, its a common bathroom available for free.

End Papers

Do I know who I am at any moment when I am being me? Domy photographs hold some kind of truth about who I am. or are they simply random 1/125 seconds of my life? Why did I make this image? Is a windshield one level of separation?

Sometimes its like being a Monday quarterback I should have seen this moment then and not now but after fifty years how many different time have I told myself t he same thing after seeing this or that photograph. Are my photographs memories of missed opportunities ?

My photographs can only hold truths about myself, maybe most of the time I am lying to myself in my photographs or should I have found more hope them anthem than I could. They are like Oracle Bones from the Shang dynasty waiting for a moment of divine inspiration.

What good are these images if I cannot divine some good fortune to come? Or cannot wonder and know what it is like to be sitting in front of a grocery store with my possessions asking others for money.

My father one early morning in Sparks about 2005, He passed in 2006, I see this image, it was one of the last I made of him, certainly the last using film. He was older than I am now—I’m 75—Mom and Dad retired in 1984, spending 20 years in Albuquerque and, for him two more years in Sparks. Maybe I never knew him well enough, maybe I do not know how to know somebody or anybody well enough. I remember these lines fromWoody’s song written to the tune of Irene Goodnight byHuddie Ledbetter:

My father hoped that I would be
A man of some renown.
ButI am just a refuge
As I go ramblin’ ’round, boys,
As I go ramblin’ ’round.

Ramblin’ ‘Round’ lyrics by Woody Guthrie

After his passing my mother lived in Reno at a retired facility, in 2008 sh had a stroke suffering memory loss and Expressive Aphasia and moved to a memory care facility near me, where I got to know her in another way. We used to go out, here we are at the shopping center. What use is photography if it is not fun?

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha, may it forever hide my shameless theft of Sengai.