This mug was inspired by my karate style; Goju Ryu.
Goju Ryu means ‘hard/soft style’ (the kanji on this mug says ‘soft’ – yes, there is another, complimentary mug coming, but the ‘go’ mug wouldn’t be fired in time for Christmas so I left it for the new year)
At my Nidan grading this summer, O’Sensei told me ‘Be as hard as the world makes you, and as soft as the world allows you to be.’ That was the inspiration for this piece.
Here is the ‘Ju’ cup in the raw – the technique used for the texture is the same as these mugs. I use shellac to paint on my design, in this case the kanji, wait for the shellac to dry then gently rub away the clay with a damp sponge. The areas where the shellac have dried stay positive. The shellac itself burns away in the first kiln firing.
The rest of the texture was done by filling my hands with a very wet mixture of clay and water and smoothing it over the sides of the mug until I was happy with the results.
I think pottery is about as ‘ju’ as I get, so it seemed like an appropriate medium. Clay needs balance; if it’s too wet, too dry, too stressed or if you’ve been working it for too long – it won’t work out. You have to be patient & sensitive – but still know when to muscle the clay into place. If that’s not Goju then I don’t know what is ;)