PhotoHunter: Chipped

Chipped

PhotoHunter: Chipped

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This is a Raku pot I made some years ago. I bisque-fired it and then deliberately broke it before placing it in the Raku kiln. I wanted to see what it would look like when it was fired and then glued back together.

It is a piece I loved. In the end, though, I gave it away to my therapist who I had seen for two years.

For me, it represented the idea that something can be broken and still beautiful.

Interestingly, my therapist, a gerontological psychiatrist who fit me in because I needed to see someone, told me that she found that the pot provided a stimulus to conversation with her other patients, some of whom were generally uncommunicative. She said that it elicited very insightful conversations with them.

I was very pleased that something I did touched people I would never know in such a profound way.

Raku

The piece is fired (normally, pottery is fired and left in the kiln overnight to cool. Raku is fired for a short period and removed from the kiln). The piece is removed from the kiln while red hot and either exposed to the air to allow oxygen to reach with the glaze and then placed in a closed container for what is called “reduction”, or immediately reduced. The piece is placed in a container with a combustible material (leaves, newspaper, sawdust, pine needles, etc) in order to “reduce” the oxygen within the container and change the chemical reaction of the glaze. The piece is then cooled by immersing in water to stop the process of reduction and then cleaned of soot and creosote.

These will give you an idea of how Raku is done and some of the results.

Further Chipping…

I was originally thinking of using something slightly different in this post and I can’t seem to shake the original idea so thought I would throw it in for good measure….

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Fowl plate

When my step-father and my mother married, I inherited a family history. My birth father was an unknown as he left when I was three and stayed out of my life until I was in my 20s. As a result, aside from a few stories my mother could recollect my father mentioning, I had half a family history missing.

My step-father (“Dad” to me) was a Parsi from Mumbai, India. His family had, at one time, been wealthy. The last vestiges of the wealth were a few items given him by his parents before they effectively disowned him for marrying outside the community not once, but twice. The family had more or less litigated the wealth away after the death of my father’s grandfather. Every time someone died, G-Grandfather’s will was hauled out to see if someone could wring one more penny out of it. Even after my father died, one of my aunts called to ask if we had found a copy of G-Grandfather’s will.

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The family had been fabulously wealthy, once upon a time, and even when my grandmother married my grandfather, she was considered the second wealthiest woman in Bombay…. and that is saying something. In marrying my grandfather, she married a rung below her on the social ladder and never let him forget it. The family made their money in banking, law, and the East India trade.

Meat plate

Meat plate

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Detail

One of the few item left were a set of dishes, or rather a quarter of a set of dishes. We had a set of 20 place settings for something like a 10-course meal, with two tea and coffee services, cookie and desert services. On special occasions, we used the dishes and when we were sick, Mom would serve soup in the delicate porcelain soup cups with their two handles and separate lid.

Teacup (what's left of it)
Teacup (what’s left of it)

Over the years, though, many had gotten broken or chipped. Now my brother has the dishes, or the bulk of them, and we have many of the chipped and broken ones along with a few favorites that we have.

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Dessert plate

Each service has its own motif… Fish has fish and crustaceans, Rice has scenes of Japan, Fowl has birds of all kinds and meat (for some strange reason) have images of Japanese people on them. The dessert dishes have sparrows and flowers and  the tea services have wisteria and other flowers. All the dishes are monogrammed to match the initials of the eldest son, which is always SDD or DSD.

Monogram

Monogram

I have tried to find more information about the makers of these dishes but aside from knowing they are over 100 years old, I can’t find any info.

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One of my favorites

I know that my G-Grandfather or possibly my G-G-Grandfather brought them back from Japan on one of his business voyages. He is reputed to have been allowed by the Emperor to set up a Fire temple for the use of  Zoroastrian traders and merchants on Japan, one of the only religions to have been allowed to do so.

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16 Comments

  1. saint3 said,

    January 26, 2009 at 5:45 am

    wow u sure have amassed quite a colleciton of pretty plates. I like that brownish tinge in the first pic

  2. A. said,

    January 26, 2009 at 1:38 am

    I love the idea of your chipped pot. I feel it has more character than the perfect version would have had. The workmanship in your chipped family dishes is wonderful!

  3. alejna said,

    January 25, 2009 at 7:25 am

    The photo of the raku pot is really striking, and I think even more beautiful because the pot is broken.

    It was interesting to read about and see those other vintage dishes, as well.

  4. January 25, 2009 at 3:10 am

    I love the Raku pot – beautifu – and what you did with itl. The family china is gorgeous. Happy weekend

  5. RJ Flamingo said,

    January 25, 2009 at 3:03 am

    Really fascinating post! Thank you for sharing this with us. I’m glad you chose to follow both of your instincts for the theme.

  6. mudhooks said,

    January 25, 2009 at 12:46 am

    Isn’t it, though?!

    I actually found a single plate at an antique shop which is from the same series, though personalized with a monogram. I have to photograph it, as well.

  7. azahar said,

    January 25, 2009 at 12:40 am

    That last one is gorgeous!

  8. January 24, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    I love the first image…for all of the reasons you stated. It is an amazing piece of art that many would just confuse as being “broken” and therefore something to be discarded. Great image and a great story behind the image.

  9. Biker Betty said,

    January 24, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Beautiful dishes, even with the cracks. Too bad about your dad’s family history. Have a great weekend 🙂

  10. Kim said,

    January 24, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Great post, and by the way, love the style of your blog, nice warm colors.

  11. Sandy said,

    January 24, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Inspiring photo and comment

  12. Brine Queen said,

    January 24, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Wow, great photo and pot. I used to love working with clay… I wish I could get back into it.

  13. sammawow said,

    January 24, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Great choice for the chipped theme! That is a beautiful pot and a very inspiring post too!

  14. aliceaudrey said,

    January 24, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Cool. Totally cool.

  15. January 24, 2009 at 10:03 am

    How unusual and how inspiring. A truly interesting choice for the theme. Thank you for sharing.

  16. azahar said,

    January 24, 2009 at 4:02 am

    “For me, it represented the idea that something can be broken and still beautiful.”

    That’s a lovely sentiment, Anneke. And also a lovely photo.


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