Wabi-Sabi - Jane de Baecke

©Victoria and Albert Museum, London View Inspiration Details

Artist Statement

Jane de Baecke

y inspiration is Raku Ware from the Ceramics collection. Although my ideas come from several pieces, the main influence is a Japanese tea bowl made in 1992.

I was attracted by the spontaneity of the bowl, its irregular form, and textured surface; cut and pitted by the maker. Its dribbled colours determined by the reaction of the glaze in the kiln firing. Fascinated by the unique beauty of the piece I researched the history and the philosophy of Raku ceramics.

Raku tea bowls were made for Zen Tea Ceremonies in a tradition that began in 1557. Distinct from the perfect highly coloured wares that preceded them, these innovative rustic bowls were hand formed with a maker's mark. Each was a statement of self expression entrusted to the power of nature in the kiln. By creating a piece that was not perfect the artist allowed the viewer to find beauty in its imperfections, embodying the Japanese Zen aesthetic concepts of Wabi and Sabi, transience and imperfection.

I've tried to produce an innovative necklace that embodies this philosophy and emulates the process, colour and form of Raku. To achieve this I've developed new methods of constructing beads and working with enamels in the kiln. The beads echo the shape of the raku pots and are constructed only by folding, hammering and piercing thin copper foil. There's no soldering as the beads are tied together with copper wire and made solid by dipping them in wet enamel and firing in the kiln. Colour is produced through many firings of dipped and dribbled enamel layers. As in Raku firings the piece is removed from the kiln at 800c. Each bead is unique and altogether they form a necklace with the same proportions of mark and colour as is found in the tea bowl.

Wabi-Sabi - Jane de Baecke

©Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Inspiration details:

Tea bowl



Raku Kichizaemon XV

V&A collection reference number(s):
FE535-1992, C34=1989, FE33&A-1985

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