Monday 22 October 2012


Just discovered this while looking for imagery to work from today - the Japanese language of flowers! I've long known about the old Victorian tradition of sending messages encoded in the choice and arrangement of flowers in bouquets, and had heard of a similar Japanese tradition, but never come across a list of meanings before:

彼岸花 /
Higanbana /
Red Spider LilyNever to meet again/Lost memory/Abandonment
The idea of never again and lost memories intrigues me as a way of expressing the losing of cultural identity, as a result of technological and societal "progress", but also that feeling of something missing that comes from individual isolation, due to modern expectations and lifestyle meaning people do not spend so much time together or at all. This is in direct contrast to the idea of a tea ceremony, where people gather together specifically to enjoy sharing each others company and tea together.

蓮華RengeLotusFar from the one he loves/Purity/Chastity

鷺草SagisoHabenaria radiataMy thoughts will follow you into your dreams

Nice image of the conscious going towards the unconscious - of waking ideas and things invading dreams, stable, sure things becoming evanescent and haunting, from established objects to transient shadows that cannot really be grasped, but stay with you. It strikes a chord with me somehow, but one I try not to think about because it makes me sad.

Anyway, much of the language has similarities to the English actually, and I wonder how many of the flowers listed here have been "borrowed" from floriography (Victorian flower language), as with other Japanese words like "Ti shaatsu" (T shirt). Red, white and yellow roses are the same in both languages, but the poppies are different however. I shall investigate further!

P.S. - I don't think much of their illustrative photographs. Violets are not purple pansies! :S


Just looked on one of the reference pages on wiki:

This seems much more authentic! It seems some flower meanings date back to Roman and Greek mythology, hence similar meanings in different cultures today. However, I like the spin that has been put on the meaning of a rose in Japan:

I "language of flowers is suitable for you, Embarrassment, brilliant, shy charm, Fresh, innovative, love you, and I, All your cute, love, Beauty, innocence, refreshing whimsical " (Rose) "Innocent, refreshing" (rose vine) "Special achievement" (Rose Mini)  

This, roughly translated from google translate (haha), means that roses symbolise 
- Shy embarrassment
- All of you is cute/charming
- Charm
- Affection/love
- Whimsical beauty
- Innocence
- Brilliant
- etc

Shy embarrassment is typical of the Japanese romance I have seen portrayed, and gives an oriental twist to the plain English I love you, but I especially like the whimsical beauty idea - a beauty that does not do what you expect, or follow any of the usual rules. A unique, bohemian beauty :)

I also like the meaning of plum - "It is a tough beauty" - I like the idea of a beauty that can endure and shine in a harsh place where other beauty does not survive.

This site should also be useful for grouping together flowers in bloom at a similar time to give a more natural feel to imagery I use, as it gives flowering periods.

Friday 19 October 2012

End of summer, a new semester :)


It's been such a long time since I posted on here, I desperately need to finish uploading everything about Japan!

I'm starting to be able to look beyond my life at uni now. I feel I can see first steps to take beyond graduation for the first time, and am signing up for some shows and looking at getting a studio and part time job in ceramics! The final year of my MA starts on Monday.

Things I'm applying for:

Campus stand at Rufford Earth and Fire 21st - 23rd June
Helper at Aberystwyth International Ceramic Festival 24th June - 1st July
Helper at Hatfield Art in Clay 5th - 7th July
Newcomer's stand at Farnham Art in Clay 16th - 17th November

and a couple of ceramic places for part time jobs - one in a supply shop, the other as a potter's assistant.

Anyway, watch this space! I'll keep you posted.

Also, found this on facebook today - I shall have to include it in my investigations of Japanese glazes. Different country, different glaze ingredients! Makes international glaze recipe sharing that bit more interesting...

Tough question here: Does anyone have a typical analysis chemical breakdown for Ashinuma Ishi (also known as Aka-ko)? [This is the original stone that forms the basis for the Mashiko Kaki (persimon) glaze.] I have a good "look alike" using US materials but want to see the original chemistry, if I can. I don't want to go to the expense of having some of the already ground rock that I have on-hand analyzed at a lab (if I can help it). Thanks in advance for any help.
Like ·  ·  · 1 September at 16:31
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  • John Neely Akako aka Mashiko Stone
    Silica/Alumina ratio: 8.1:1
    Equivalent Molecular Weight: 617.150

    Molecular Formula of Akako aka Mashiko Stone:

    K20 0.110 Al2O3 0.815 SiO2 6.567
    Na2O 0.230 Fe2O3 0.238 TiO2 0.052
    CaO 0.383 P2O5 0.010 MnO2 0.014
    MgO 0.277 LOI 2.091

    Percentage Analysis

    63.91 % SiO2 
    13.46 % Al2O3
    1.68 % K2O 
    2.31 % Na2O 
    1.81 % MgO 
    3.48 % CaO 
    0.23 % P2O5 
    6.16 % Fe2O3
    0.19 % MnO 
    0.67 % TiO2 
    6.10 % L.O.I.
    100.00 % TOTAL
    from Katou Etsuzo page141, Yuuchougo no Kihon
    from building stone called Ashinumaishi or Outani-ishi
  • John Baymore John....... THANK YOU!!!!! Exactly what I was looking for. And amazingly fast also. You da' man!
  • John Neely You might find this substitute using US materials useful, too.

    Mashiko stone substitute

    KONA F-4 FELDSPAR 34.7 

    FLINT 27.1 
    EPK KAOLIN 18.6 
    TALC 5.7 
    BONE ASH .4 

Perhaps this will help Allen and I develop our copper reds further still. It's interesting to cursorily note the differences and similarities here between our glaze recipes and the American substitute. Plenty of feldspar and flint like ours, and bone ash and titanium like in our purple glaze, but the iron and manganese is very different. Of course, this isn't for a copper red, but both glazes aim at reddish hues. Time to play with oxides methinks :)