Saturday, February 22, 2014

Made in Japan

Back when I studied Art History, I became fascinated by clay sculptures, or tomb markers, called Haniwa, which appear in the archeological record in the Kofun period in Japan (c. 300-552 CE).  During this time period, there were well organized craft and other labor groups known as Be.  The Haniwa in particular were made by the Haji-tsukuri-be, a clay workers guild.

In these later years, my captivation with these intriguing forms led me to more modern (and affordable!) forms of Japanese ceramics, the everyday, mass produced, wabi-sabi novelty and home decor items from the 1950's and 1960's.

But herein lies the connection: there are some districts in Japan, where these clay guilds have been in existence for centuries, and these vintage items I find so charming were made in districts that have long histories, where families have handed down their skills through the generations. In the 50's and 60's, some of these producers switched from traditional pottery styles to commercial ceramics for export. 

This set of 'Price Import' company stylized swans with matching bowl/planter was recently gifted to me:

What's your collection obsession?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Intrepid Bird Counter

The Willamette Valley is a wonderful place, filled with an amazing variety of birds.  Here is a list of the birds species we counted over the four days of The Great Backyard Bird Count:
Oregon Junco, Sparrow, Common Crow, Robin, Solitary Vireo, Downy Woodpecker, Rufous-Sided Towhee, Scrub Jay, Steller's Jay, Starling, Gull, Pigeon. Mallard, Widgeon, & White-Fronted Ducks, Canada Goose, Great Blue Heron. Brewer's Blackbird, Chickadee, Common Red Shafted Flicker & Bushtit. 
Many of the above mentioned birds come to my backyard feeders, but for the count, it was fun to get out and see some birds that are not part of my everyday life.  These ducks and geese reside in the ponds at Alton Baker Park:

Above are a Canadian Goose, two Mallards and a Wigeon.  Below are White-Fronted Geese:

And last, my favorite photo... four wild domestic geese, and a Mallard. Shall we dance?


Friday, February 14, 2014

Are You Bird Counting?

Today through Monday is The Great Backyard Bird Count. It's for a great cause, easy to do and anyone can participate! Here's the link for those interested:  And, if you are like me, you will be looking for photo opportunities as well!

Here's a friend I caught sight of last spring:

Common Red Shafted Flicker


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Willamette Valley Snow Storm

Yesterday it snowed all day and the birds, like these Sparrows, flitted in and out of my backyard... 

And today when I woke up, here's what my backyard looked like: 

Of course the Holly (above) stays green year-round, but others, such as the Rose, the Daisy, and the Rudbeckia below are remnants from last summer: 

Then there are those perennials, like the Blueberries, the Hydrangea, and the Japanese Maple, that are just sleeping, ready to awaken when the weather gets warmer: 

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