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moon in the water Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 04-26-2010 10:46 PM
the water does not try
to reflect the moon
and the moon has no desire
to be reflected
but when the clouds clear
there is the moon in the water
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 155
Comments: 1,111
Views: 1,524,158


In General form/function Entry Tools Rating: 5 Stars!
  #83 New 09-23-2011 11:16 AM
Bernard Leach Pottery Studio St.Ives Tools by geishaboy500 used under creative commons licence

It seems reasonable to expect that beauty will emerge from a fusion of the individual character and culture of the potter with the nature of his materials.
Bernard Leach

I make functional pottery in an effort to preserve local culture in our modern throw-away society. My main goal is to inspire other people to make their own creative work.
Bernard Leach

Every artist knows that he is engaged in an encounter with infinity, and that work done with heart and hand is ultimately worship of life itself.
Bernard Leach

Bernard Leach (1887-1979) was a British potter and artist. He grew up in Asia and had close links to Japan. In his art he was strongly influenced by wabi-sabi, a Japanese concept of simplicity. He believed that function had overriding importance and he disapproved of art that was artistic for the sake of being artistic.

He established the Leach Pottery in St Ives in Cornwall in western England. He collaborated closely with a Japanese potter, Shoji Hamada. He was also involved with the Mingei functional folk art movement and its leading figure Soetsu Yanagi. He had a deep and lasting influence that went far beyond pottery and that has affected modern western concepts of design.

There are some interesting parallels with martial arts. At a basic level Bernard Leach studied with a master potter, Kenzan, and eventually developed his own style and even philosophy. But the Japanese aesthetics of simplicity and the purity of function over form go deeper than making objects.

Techniques in the martial arts should be simple and pure also. There shouldn't be any beautiful movements just because they are beautiful. Everything should be for a reason. And as we become more experienced all unnecessary and wasted movement should gradually be cut away. Not form over function. Not even function over form. Form becomes function and function becomes form. The pure essence of budo.


interesting review of The Etchings of Bernard Leach by Simon Olding

article about Bernard Leach
tiles by Bernard Leach on the same site

good review of Bernard Leach Life and Work by Emmanuel Cooper

Victoria and Albert Museum


my columns on aikiweb:
Indigo Blue
Improvised Weapons No.1: The Umbrella
Unbalance - Feet of Clay
Half a Tatami
Zen in the Art of Aikido

I have an essay in a charity e-book put together by some writers and photographers to raise money for victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku on 11 March 2011. It costs $9.99.

niall matthews 2011
Views: 3629 | Comments: 2

RSS Feed 2 Responses to "form/function"
#2 09-23-2011 08:27 PM
niall Says:
Thanks Carina. Yes I wrote about simplicity in Half a Tatami. Wabi-sabi is from a more aesthetic perspective, but it is not just simple physical design. It can contain or imply emotions like loneliness or nostalgia. I'll write about it again.
#1 09-23-2011 03:30 PM
guest1234567 Says:
Thanks Niall for another great post. I always admired the simplicity of Ikebana, now I learned about wabi-sabi, japanese arts influenced by zen philosophy like the tea ceremony too.Yanagi Sōetsu was a farsighted man with his mingei theory. Two nice quotes:Simplicity is the glory of expression. Walt Whitman The simplest things are often the truest Richard Bach, autor of Jonathan Livingston Seagull,

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