John’s daughters were drawn to their bounty, because of their treasure’s imperfections – rough textures, misshapen shapes, and rusted patinas – each was unique which made them special and wonderful to the girls.
This reminded him of the Raku pottery he made in college. Wabi-sabi is an ancient aesthetic philosophy that celebrates beauty in what’s natural, flaws and all. Raku pottery was invented by a 16th century Japanese tea master. The tea ceremony, “the Way of Tea”, calls for tranquility and harmony. It is a ritual of purity and simplicity.
In the spirit of eclecticism, the ceramic tea bowls used by the 16th century tea masters were handmade, irregularly shaped with uneven glaze, and often broken. These deliberate imperfections were made by removing the red hot vessels from the kiln and setting the glowing pottery on the ground to cool quickly.
The results were unpredictable, leaving pottery shaped more by the forces of fire and the natural characteristics of the clay than by a careful hand, which was thought to better reflect the spirit of the maker. The abnormal vessels were prized because of (not in spite of) their mottled surfaces, and cracks.
American Raku pottery is pulled from a fiery kiln and the fiery pieces are placed inside a metal can filled with a combustible material. A fire ignites on contact, and the lid is shut tight sealing off the oxygen. Licking flames and swirls of smoke cause a chemical reaction with the glazed, and creating an unpredictable one-of-a-kind surface. A spray of cool water stops the chemical process which leaves behind a kaleidoscope of shimmery iridescent colors.
Even though the Raku firing process originated in ancient Japan, the rustic look creates the essence of an ancient civilization, like an artifact unearthed from a primitive Indian campground around the Rio Grande riverbed in Big Bend.