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A Walk to a Nearby Buddhist Temple.

Today Bette and I took a walk in the neighborhood and discovered a beautiful Buddhist Temple. I became especially interested in the lichen covered Jiso statues and the lichen covered text cut into the stone. We met a friendly farmer on the way back who gave us a huge daikon radish. A quick stop to the hardware store and back home. It is amazing what  can be seen and experienced in what one suspects is otherwise a routine or ordinary outing. The last two images are of logs sold at the hardware store that are drilled with holes, filled with mushroom spores and capped with styrofoam plugs. The mushrooms grow and push out the plugs. If you look closely at the last image you can see a mushroom has grown out of the log.











Bonenkai (Forget The End Of The Year Party)

Recently I was fortunate to be invited with Hiroshi Yamano to attend Hiragane Sensei’s Bonenkai or “Forget The End Of The Year Party”. Hiragane sensei is a well known fabric artist and kimono maker who after years in his successful business became involved in the Osaka University of Art. It was Hiragane sensei who spearheaded the idea of adding a glass program to the university and who sought out Hiroshi Yamano to head the OUA Glass Program. Hiragane sensei lives in a traditional Japanese home in urban Osaka in a quiet neighborhood with his wife and daughter. It is not often one is invited into one’s home in Japan so this was a very special experience for me. The dinner was an exceptional feast! Hiragane sensei shared with us a private showing of his work some of it not yet exhibited. The photo of the hanging scroll painted by Hiragane sensei in the living room is the Kanji character “Michi” which means “way” or in this case one’s road in life and I believe this is his trade mark or sign as he also wrote this in a book of his work which he gave to me. This evenings wonderful event brought to mind another Japanese kotowaza “Ichi-go Ichi-e” which means “One Meeting, One Chance” the Japanese version of Carpe Diem or “Seize The Day”. In short this is one forget the end of the year party I’ll always remember.

Field Journal, Japan

Agricultural processes have always interested me. Such processes appear to me as seasonal rituals that sustain us as human beings. These processes bring us literally down to earth. The visual effects of plantings and harvests while connected logically with efficiency and production often result in what seems to me chance compositions. Often as not the visual effects are enhanced or thought out in such a way as to be visually pleasing and in harmony with the surroundings. I use similar strategies when thinking about installations or objects in relationship to each other in space, interior or exterior. I consider the following images “found compositions” or selected sketches for future projects. No matter where I traveled over the past 30 years I’ve taken such photos. I’m also interested in seasonal harvests and festivals as related to comparative mythology and religion. Works of mine like “The Keeper’s Lament”, “Offering” and “Neruda” are visually based and metaphorically connected to the idea of harvest and our connection with nature.

Kookmin University and Korea National University of Arts

From November 15 to the 18th Ki-Ra Kim the Head of the Glass Program invited me to lecture and critique graduate students at Kookmin University. My demonstration happened at K’ArtsGlass Studio facilitated by Vice dean and Glass Professor Park Sung-won. The studio photos with glass work towards the end of this post are Professor Park’s work. I was fortunate to meet several alumni from The School For American Crafts at RIT who are now prominently involved with the glass art scene in Korea. Check out <>

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Hong Kong Baptist University’s Glass Program

November 11 to 15 I visited Hong Kong Baptist University’s Glass Program headed by my friend Sunny Wang. Sunny invited me to lecture and demonstrate for two days and then gave me an excellent tour of the city. I love any port city but found Hong Kong particularly fascinating. The mixture of different cultures adds to an already rich and diverse visual atmosphere.

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A Trip to Nagoya

I recently made a very nostalgic trip back to Nagoya where many past students of mine from Aichi University of Education’s Glass Program gathered for a reunion. It warmed my heart to meet with my past students and to see that so many are still actively involved in glass and art.

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Through Bamboo Groves and Temples, Kyoto, Arashiyama

I’ve just visited Kyoto for two days to enjoy the Fall scenery. Lucky for me it is only two hours from my country doorstep just outside Osaka to Kyoto by public transport. The first day I went to Kamigamo-jinja where Shichi-Go-San was in full swing, this is an event where kids of age 7, 5, and 3 dress in colorful kimono and visit shrines to pray for health and happiness. There were Maiko performing tea ceremony and dance as well. I particularly enjoyed the two large conical white sand mounds at the entry to the shrine said to represent mountains sculpted for gods to descend upon. Each mound has a singular pine needle stuck into it’s top. Kamigamo-jinja was established in 679 and dedicated to Raijin, the god of thunder. There is also a beautiful water basin. From Kamigamo-jinja I went to Jingo-ji a mountaintop temple that sits at the top of several long flights of stairs. After visiting the Kondo, (Gold Hall) I then went along a wooded path to an open area overlooking a deep valley. Here one tosses small ceramic discs over the railing into the chasm below. The discs are called kawarakenage and carry away one’s bad karma when thrown into the valley. The scenery there is breath taking.

It’s hard to believe that just yesterday morning I was taking a 4 hour long meandering walk in the mountains of Arashiyama, north of Kyoto. There was Tenru-ji a beautiful zen temple and garden, a stunning bamboo forest, the Okochi-Sanso Villa that overlooks the river and Kyoto, Jojakko-ji, Rakushisha a thatched roofed hut the haiku poet Basho stayed for a while. Then further along is Takiguchi-dera and Gio-ji with it’s fine moss garden, Adashino Nembutsu-ji with it’s thousands of stone statues and finally the way to Atago Torii lined with thatched roofed houses all evocative of another era and designating the end of the walk. All in all a beautiful Fall day with the leaves well on their way to turning every color of the rainbow.

Later on and a world apart…… it’s back to Osaka by Shinkansen!

Arrived in Japan…4 weeks

I arrived in Japan four weeks ago and have moved into my small apartment near the Osaka University of Art not far from Kishi, a small town about 45 minutes by train from Shin Osaka where the Shinkansen bullet train can be taken to other large cities. Kyoto is just a 15- minute train ride from Shin Osaka. I was traveling here with my friend Rich Tannen and we decided to head straight away to Kyoto. We went to many temples, Sanjusangendo, Kiyomizudera, Ginkaku-ji, Nanzen-ji, Kodai-ji, Kinkaku-ji, and Ryoan-ji. We also walked around Nishiki Market and Pontocho along the Kamo river. What really stuck out for me this trip was the gardens at Ginkaku-ji and Ryoan-ji. I’m also not far from Nara the ancient capital of Japan where I visited Todai-ji (the largest wooden structure in the world with it’s giant bronze Buddha), Kasuga jinja with it’s many lanterns, and Horyu-ji (the oldest wooden structure in the world) among other temples and shrines.

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Leaving Tomorrow

Lots going on in preparation to leave for Japan tomorrow.

Work in Progress: Tacoma

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