Dick Lehman's Japan Travelogue
In the summer of 2002, Dick
Lehman made a two-week trip to Japan, where he met up with
Kanzaki Shiho and other Japanese potters. This is an account of
that exciting journey, which took Dick to Osaka, Mishima, Nagoya
and Okayama. This is a 4-part travelogue that was initially published
on Robert Yellin's site e-yakimono.net.
(Collectors of traditional Japanese pottery may also be interested
in Yellin's Japanese
Introduction by Robert Yellin
Lehman is a rare potter. He crafts words with the same skill he
shows in crafting clay. His deep appreciation and understanding
of clay and all it entails far exceeds the boundaries of his Goshen,
Indiana yard -- it extends all the way here to Japan. I can imagine
that many potters around the world look to Japan with a certain
respect and admiration for its long clay history, the variety of
ceramics and the way pottery is bound tightly with cultural ways.
Not many potters have the chance to spend much time in Japan and
for many a one-time visit becomes a life-long memory. Lehman is
unique in that he has traveled in Japan a few times and finds his
way around with limited Japanese, often delving into deep topics
armed with only a dictionary and the expressiveness of his hands
and soul, and of course the revelations that silent communication
and observation can offer as well.
I could easily see how some spoken miscommunication could occur
in such encounters, but surprisingly Lehman-san has found "'a
way" to get it right and put his reflections and ponderings
into eloquent language. He recently traveled again to Japan and
put to paper his thoughts in a four-part travelogue series dealing
with his meetings with various potters and the inward, and outward,
discoveries that he made.
The Japanese word for appreciation is kansha and it is so how I
feel that I've had the good fortune to meet and share some moments
in time with Dick Lehman. I hope after you finish reading this series
you'll understand why.