I decided I would leave the photo overload to the side for a few minutes and, instead, grant myself a few minutes to talk about the visits from today. Today.
Sunday was meant to end early, Sunday did not end early, but Sunday was a beautiful day in many ways.
Sunday, on a day off from work, we visited a workshop where we met an incredible craftsman, but also, at least for me great frustration from the reality of things. In the morning, a wonderful man came to pick us up from the hotel to drive us to his colleague/co-worker/friend’s workshop as planned. We were welcomed by a forest of molds stacked up from floor to ceiling resulting in organic colonnades throughout the shop. I learnt about a few technical terms and the beauty I find in the subtleties of working with ceramics and porcelain. Fine.
Then we walked. We walked outside of this beautiful little haven. Of the cavern. We walked towards the city. The city seemed deserted and then we turned left, and then, it was crowded, slightly, we walked some more. At the end of the street, or alley was a little space dedicated to people selling hand crafted objects. First shiver. First realization that few are as lucky as I had been an hour earlier, few could look at these objects and imagine the snowy workshop I had just left. It made me sad. Each stand had a specific aesthetic: glaze, no glaze, cultural reference, purposefully placed faulty details…
All of these pieces challenged one another, they battled in what Errol would’ve called a Red Ocean…
What I didn’t know was that the torture would go on. Later in the day, we walked to a little mall, not far from the little space I had walked into earlier, the mall proudly boasted a plethora of “hand crafted” objects. Hand-crafted duplication is big here near Nagoya, many times we heard and witnessed clues that indicated the region was geared towards “americano” export.
In the mall, a museum, sharing a synthetic version of my workshop experience seemed to desperately make the craft more attractive. But it wasn’t the shop I had seen. For those of you who have read The Little Prince, I felt like the scene where he discovers on Earth that there are a million other roses not so different from his. Then he meets the fox who tells him that in no way is she as plain as the others since she has tamed him and him her. The museum seemed to be a sad attempt to replace the fox. A VERY SAD ONE.
What can be done? How can the world of craft be re-invented? Can it? How can a more human(e) approach be returned to that suffocating environment?