A pottery technique with Rice

Photo: nihonbi.wordpress.com

Photo: nihonbi.wordpress.com

Hakeme’ is a decorative ceramic technique which uses a stiff brush to apply slip directly to the surface of pots or dishes.  The slip on the surface creates a rustic look appearing like unfinished or small cracks. This is called "Wabi-sabi". The handmade brush is made from grain straws, mainly rice straw. In Korea the technique is coarse and obvious, whereas in Japan the technique became more refined and soft.

A play on the full moon day

The game Tug-of-War has ancient origins in cultures around the world. The phrase "tug-of-war" originally meant  "the decisive contest; the real struggle or tussle; a severe contest for supremacy."  This contest comes from ancient ceremonies and rituals. Evidence of this ritual is found in countries like Egypt, India, Myanmar, and New Guinea. During the Tang Dynasty it was called "hook pulling" (牽鉤). In ancient Greece, the sport was called helkustinda.   It was not until the 19th century that the contest became an athletic endeavor between two teams pulling at opposite ends of the rope.
 

In Korea, there are tug-of-war contests or, juldarigi, on rice farms to celebrate Full Moon Day in the New Year. The Full Moon Day celebrates the new growing season and hopes for a plentiful harvest.

photo: indica.co.kr

photo: indica.co.kr

To play the game, each household makes a rope together by weaving and twisting a straw line. It can be as long as 20 meters in length. Teams of folk people will be divided into east and west or north and south of the village. Tradition believes that the winning side will have a better yield during harvest. During the pull, festive performances cheer the play alongside the action. After the game is over and the winners determined, the rope gets decorated on a tree or a rock that symbolizes a village or, the rope is donated to fishing boats to ensure a great harvest season.

In Japan, the tug-of-war (綱引き/Tsunahiki in Japanese) is a staple of school sports festivals. The tug-of-war is also a traditional way to pray for a plentiful harvest throughout Japan and it is a popular ritual around the country. The Kariwano Tug-of-War in Daisen, Akita, is said to be more than 500 years old, and is a national folklore cultural asset.The Underwater Tug-of-War Festival in Mihama, Fukui is 380 years old, and takes place in every January.The Sendai Great Tug of War in Satsumasendai, Kagoshima is known as Kenka-zuna or "brawl tug". Around 3,000 men pull a huge rope which is 365 metres (1,198 ft) long. The event is said to have been started by  feudal warlord Yoshihiro Shimadzu, with the aim of boosting the morale of his soldiers before the decisive Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. Nanba Hachiman Jinja's Tug-of-War, which started in the Edo period, is Osaka's folklore cultural asset.The Naha Tug-of-War in Okinawa is also a famous ritual.
 

photo: japanupdate.com

photo: japanupdate.com

Ceramic with Rice Straw

Before Wood-Firing

Before Wood-Firing

I visited Tony Moore Woodfire Kiln late in the summer to woodfire a few peices of ceramic. This an article talks about Bizen Yaki, which is one of the Japanese pottery techniques used for hundreds of years. I discovered this is a very organic ceramic with natural colors and unexpected patterns.

After Wood-firing

After Wood-firing

Create Modern Art

For hundreds of years, dry rice straw has traditionally been used as  roofing material, wall insulation, and as a fuel source. More recently, dry rice straw has inspired artists to create modern art projects.  The following art pieces, two types of stools,  have appeared in international exhibitions which could also be used in our homes:

                                              photo credit: designboom.com

                                              photo credit: designboom.com

the remains after the harvesting season on the farms are large bundles of rice straw. it used to be my favourite playground. rice straw is something very familiar to koreans – even if you don’t reside on a farm. (…) I made a bundle and wrapped them with belts that are normally used to stabilize boxes or furniture etc. then I cut the top off to make it into a stool. I call this ‘zip’ because rice straw is called ‘zip’ in korean, which also sounds like  the english word… the rice straw is literally zipped (compressed) into a bundle.’ – kwangho lee 2010  

           photo credit: designboom.com

           photo credit: designboom.com

‘Straw Stool’ by Gina Hsu and Nagaaki Shaw
Gina Hsu and Nagaaki Shaw of Tawainese firm DHH studio have created ‘straw stool’. the chair looks at employing the qualities of rice, grain and straw as a medium for the jenju village community initiative, which aims to preserve the village’s rural culture surrounding the rice paddy industry. The seating reflects the material exploration with strong textural characteristics of the natural components celebrated in the piece. As the natural substance does not have much durability on its own, it is combined with epoxy resin to improve its strength.

 

 

Bizen ware

Bizen ware (備前焼 Bizen-yaki
Soil is rich with iron where rice grows. This produces organic matter that  creates a unique quality for primary ceramic materials. Niigata prefecture is known for the best short grain rice production area in Japan. They are also well known for one of traditional Japanese pottery style for hundreds of years. They have been using the iron rich soil for making the pottery called Bizen Yaki. Without glazing, Bizen Yaki has a red to dark brown color, a signature  organic pottery.

Dry rice straw is used in Japan to color or create  patterns on pottery. The rice straw is wrapped around the pieces leaving  red and brown marks  during the firing process. This technique is also used for dying material on pottery art in the Niigata prefecture region, Japan. Dry rice straw contains high amounts silica and oxalates, which create a unique texture.