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Shibuie: When Beauty Happens Accidentally - Sumie and Raku: Japanese brush painting and pottery

Teacher: Louis van Loon, Ingrid Adams and Natasha Hawley
Cost: 4 days’ accommodation + R300 surcharge
Dates: Monday 18 December 2017 - Friday 22 December 2017

louis van loon smlingrid adamsnatasha hawley smlShibuie is the ancient Japanese concept of Accidental Beauty in which the artist is just one ingredient in a number of dynamic interacting natural processes, the outcome of which is delightfully unpredictable, but strangely beautiful - beauty that is not ego-driven or deliberate. Louis will teach participants the classical Japanese brush painting techniques (Sumie) as these are applied to traditional subjects, such as landscape, bamboo and flower studies, while Ingrid will introduce contemporary subjects. We will use the genuine materials: solid pine-soot ink, a hollowed-out slate to liquefy it, a deer-hair bamboo-stemmed brush and absorbent mulberry paper. Tools will be provided, but sets can be purchased (R800) from the BRC. Each retreatant will receive a bisque tea bowl to sumie-decorate and glaze. Natasha will then fire up the kiln after which we will watch the magic as the pots emerge from their ordeal of having been subjected to 1000ºC heat, smothered in sawdust and immersed in cold water. We will admire the pots as they emerge triumphantly from the scorching heat, and are used in a traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony on the final evening.

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Ingrid Adams has worked as a clothing and home-wear designer for the last 25 years, and has travelled extensively to India and China sourcing home textiles. A yoga teacher, and an artist, she teaches drawing and art appreciation, and offers weekly Sumie lessons in Durban. She is currently working on her Masters thesis in Sumie.

Natasha Hawley was born and raised in Pietermaritzburg. She attained Honours in fine art from the University of KwaZulu-Natal where she is currently working towards her Masters degree. During her Honours year,  she experimented using glazes to grow crystalline formations on handbuilt vessels. She is using her Masters thesis  as an opportunity to explore vessel-making, using discarded materials, with the intention of creating more sustainable ways of working in a ceramic’s studio. She has a special interest in alternative firing and one of her favourite methods is Raku because of the instant gratification and unique decoration produced from the interaction of  fire, smoke, air and water. She  exhibited her work in the Jack Heath Gallery in 2013 and 2015 and  participated in the Tatham Gallery’s annual event The Fabulous Picture Show. Her work has appeared in the Ceramics South Africa magazine and in the arts and crafts section of The Natal Witness.

Louis van Loon lectured in Buddhist philosophy at the Universities of Cape Town and Durban-Westville for 22 years.  He established the Buddhist Retreat Centre in 1980 and, along with his wife, Chrisi, directs its affairs. Both were involved in the compilation of the BRC’s popular recipe books Quiet Food, The Cake The Buddha Ate and Plentiful:The Big Book Of Buddha Food. His interest lies in the psychology of meditation and in the relationship between art, science, religion and philosophy.  He is an architect and consulting civil and structural engineer in private practice in Durban. He teaches Sumie, Japanese brush painting, and sketching in Durban, Cape Town and Ixopo.