During the early 1970s I became interested in ceramics and the wood-firing technique called raku, known for an appearance of blackened the clay and crackled glaze. I was fortunate to attend an art retreat taught by Toshiko Takaezu at Big Creek Pottery in Big Sur. Quite elderly now, back then she was already well known for her globular raku pots.
I had been working as a waitress in San Francisco and choosing to attend this wokshop meant a lot to me. I took a bus to join the small group of potters gathered to share meals and talks with this soft-spoken woman for a whole weekend.
I returned home with this small white cup brushed with a ring of aqua ringed and a new experience to ponder. I have packed and unpacked the cup twenty times during various moves. Last spring photographed it on a stone driveway. The image of the raku cup came alive for me as a treasure that sparked the title of a monthly column on health and my recent book.
I stopped using it for tea long ago when I noticed cracks deepening. At times, I have filled it with sand to use for burning incense. Right now, it is filled with small stainless steel stones etched with promising words...courage, thank you, love, hope, healing.