I am grateful to the graceful Weeping Willow (Yanagi 柳) that stands next to the pond in Hanover Garden, Hiroshima.
It was a hot day on the 2 October, but it was cool under this tree. I remember the sharpness of the sun on my skin and the darkness of the foliage. Many of the fallen leaves and branches were floating on the water, and as we stood and looked, we rescued one branch for me to take to Shigaraki.
I had several motifs in my head that I knew I wanted to try and use in the final pieces.
One was the target, marking out the epicentre of the bomb - a recurring image in the military documentation at the time.
Later, someone remarked that the rings looked like tree rings - and I loved that idea - the way that work often goes beyond the maker’s intention, but is somehow still relevant.
Several challenges lay ahead for me. One, was making sure any ‘drawing’ that might emerge from firing natural material onto clay, would be visible.
The darkness occurring in the clay during wood firing would make this interesting, so I was keen to have several examples of how marks could be made.
I made the decision to fire some pieces in an electric kiln at Shigaraki, as it was the closest I could come to my own experiments in the U.K. These would complement the pieces from the Ittekoi wood kiln, which were more subtle and unpredictable.
The Yanagi survived the firing, and came through the ordeal to be positioned in the centre of the gallery for the exhibition.
It is now in the collection at Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park.