Welcome to my blog! You can find out about the influences and random thoughts that feed my ceramic work. Comments are most welcome.


Friday, 12 August 2011

Hiroshima - city of peace

A Bomb Dome

Peace Monument

Epicentre of the atomic bomb

Peace Lanterns

Peace Cranes
Our visit to Hiroshima coincided with the 66th anniversary of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.  It was a very moving time to visit the city.  Many people had gathered in the peace park to pay their respects and join in the peaceful protests of hope of a nuclear free world.  At 8.15 am on 6th August 2011 the peace bell rang out to signify the time the bomb dropped 66 years ago.  The noisy park was struck silent as people bowed their heads in respect.  Later the Mayor of Hiroshima spoke his message for peace and white doves were released.  Later that evening thousands of peace lanterns with handwritten messages of peace were released to float hopefully down the river past the A Bomb Dome.  As we walked through the peace park people were quietly queuing at one of the monuments to pay their respects, a Buddhist ceremony was taking place, survivors families holding a candlelit vigil.  It was very powerful and something that will remain with us for the rest of our days.

What is striking about Hiroshima is the peace message that is so strongly campaigned for.  The Mayor will send a letter to every country that  carries out an atomic test.  Asking for reconsideration and an end to such destructive activities.  Local high school children canvas for signatures to stop nuclear tests and nuclear power.  Hiroshima has a hope that by 2020 all nuclear weapons will be disarmed.  The mayor is asking for mayors of peace from around the world to help make this possible.  I hope they will succeed.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Beautiful Kyoto - part 1

  We had four fantastic days in Kyoto.  The city is so well preserved yet functioning on a modern level.  I could take countless photographs of the beautiful houses of Gion and the many many temples of the city. 

Headquarters of Ikenobo
 We stumbled upon the heaquarters of Ikenobo - a style of Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging).  I was expecting a shop but the whole building was the offices for this type of Ikebana.  The ground floor had a lovely atrium with birch trees and coloured birds of many varieties.  Usually I don`t like to see caged birds but they had such space and sympathetic surroundings it seemed like a great home for them. There was also a carp pond and in the courtyard was a shrine, Rokkakudo, which was where Ikebana began!
Rokkakudo Temple


Me and Matt, Gion

A geisha
 We had some fun in Gion.  We had to pose for a group of Japanese amateur photographers as they shot us looking curiously into some of the old homes.  This area is where the geishas work and it is unusual to see them out in the day.  However, we must have hit upon the right time and saw about 8 in total!  They looked immaculate in full kimono and make-up on such a hot and humid day.
Kodai-ji dry garden
 A Zen garden - gravel raked perfectly to provoke meditation and contemplation.