⟨ Craft ⟩

Harmony at times, discord at times

Eiji Uematsu: The art of fire and clay

Words & Photography / Ron Lam
Translation / Iris Heung

朋友的工房地上放了一個他自己造的大鐵球、一個玻璃碗,中間夾著一塊奇怪的石頭,形狀猶如縮小了的嶙峋山巒。我好奇問朋友在哪裡撿到這塊奇特的石頭,他呆了一陣忍不住哈哈大笑——那其實是陶藝家植松永次的作品。植松永次,連自然都造出來了。

我對那塊「奇特的石頭」念念不忘,想不到幾天後就遇上了植松先生的展覽。展覽場內的景象教我震撼不已,佇立在展台上與地上的陶藝品剛毅而溫柔。泥土燒成的堅硬作品,被掛上風、星空等的名字,定睛讓魂魄潛藏進去時,似乎感到堅硬之下無比的柔軟。巨大而粗糙的陶土大塊大塊地以柴火烤,火舌吞吐之處,留下了紅紅黑黑的瘡疤,有時火的力量過度巨大,陶土承受不了,就爆裂開來了。火與土與人,時而融和,時而互沖,植松先生將這角力與平衝完整地展現出來。

我後來把這花器帶回來,花器很小,不足食指的長短,但細小的作品卻有著無比的力量,包圍著它的空氣都混沌了、沉靜了。

A friend of mine placed a huge steel ball and a glass bowl on the floor in his workshop. In between them stands a piece of stone in a strange shape that looks very much like a miniature craggy mountain. My friend bursted into laughter after learning my curiosity for where did he got this piece of stone, because that is in fact a work of ceramic made by Eiji Uematsu, a potter who has the ability to reproduce nature.

While the peculiar stone continued to occupy my mind, I unexpectedly chanced upon an Eiji Uematsu exhibition. I was struck by the exhibition hall setting, not to mention how much I was captivated by his pottery in display, which is a combination of toughness and tenderness. Clay was fired into a sturdy body, which contrasts starkly with the bestowed names like wind and starry night. brings one’s soul in like a magnet, and hence realise a sense of tenderness underneath the toughness of ceramic. Chunky and rough pieces of clay are brought to firing in wood fire; fire leaves blemishes of red and black colour on the clay, the more violent fire sometimes even cracks the clay. An encounter among fire, clay and human can engender harmony, it can as well bring about discord — what Uematsu presents to the audience is precisely conflict and balance of such nature.

I ended up bringing a vase home. This exceptionally small vase that only has the length of an index finger possess a powerful energy that can create chaos or tranquillity to its surroundings.