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Posts Tagged ‘historical’

Voyage by Sam Gibsh

Sam Gibsh was born in and grew up in Haifa. He obtained an engineering degree in California and earned an MBA at Tel-Aviv University.  He then moved to Boston and worked at an engineering firm for about a decade.   Gibsh abandoned his engineering career to become a full time ceramic artist, and moved back to Israel.  From 2000 to 2006 he was enrolled at the Giveat Haviva Ceramics School in Israel. He also spent five summers at the HCP Studio (2002-2007) where he learned tile-making techniques, methods of glazing, firing and mural installation, particularly from Wasmaa Chorbachi and Nancy Selvage.

In Israel for most of the year, Gibsh owns a ceramic studio located near the port in an old district of Yaffa (Jaffa), overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.  His tile work is inspired by features of Yaffa’s old urban landscape; including the steeple of St. George’s Catholic Orthodox Church, clock towers, the lighthouse, Ottoman sabils (fountains) and other historic elements of the ancient port.  In his tiles Gibsh blends natural elements of the region: the water of the bay, palm trees, animals, and birds, with the historical features of the port. 

Sam GibshIn 2007, Gibsh was given a commission by the city of Tel Aviv to create a ceramic mural of 16 square meters to be installed on the outer wall of a new Christian-Muslim high school in Yaffe.  This new school brings back the old tradition of the Ottoman period when many Muslims were educated in Christian schools. In a slide show Gibsh gave at the Studio last summer he described his conception of the mural project as “A Voyage Through Yaffa.”  His training in engineering and construction proved useful.  He explained that the most demanding part of this project was the installation of the mural over the school’s external concrete wall’s surface. Gibsh, prompted by his engineering expertise, requested a careful testing of the wall for strength which did need to be reinforced before the mural could be safely installed.

~Maria Luisa Mansfield, excerpted from Tile Makers in vol 1. number 2, Fall 2008 of Sgraffito the Harvard Ceramics Programs newsletter

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Wasmaa Chorbachi Tiles

Dr. Wasma’a Chorbachi, artist and expert in Islamic Art and History, bridges Mesopo­tamian and contemporary Western cultures. She was born in Cairo of Iraqi parents and lived in Baghdad during the early years of her life. “My earliest recollection of my love for clay and the excitement of firing a piece of clay goes back to when I was five years old. During promenades on the banks of the Tigris River, I discovered that these Meso­potamian clay deposits were the greatest toy. The making of the piece and the material transformation with its sense of magic, over­whelmed my imagination. After that, I often ‘played’ with clay and found that it brought me joy and peace of mind,” Chorbachi writes. Educated in the best Islamic, European and American traditions, she earned her Ph.D. from Harvard with a thesis on The Meet­ing of Science & Art in Islamic Civilization: Design in Islamic Architectural Decoration.

Chorbachi recently taught a course entitled “The Arabesque and Islamic Geometric Pattern Design” to M.I.T. archi­tecture students. She also teaches a practi­cal course at the HCP Studio on the structural rules of pattern formation, along with the fabrication of tiles and murals, low-fire tech­niques of decorating and glazing, and luster firing. Students are attracted to the topic of pattern forma­tion because it shows how the simplest design can be­come a complicated tapestry with only a few fixed moves of the design elements.

Chorbachi works in the Islamic calligraphic tradi­tion, primarily in clay, but also through painting on large pieces of silk. The central theme of Chorba­chi’s surface design is Ara­bic calligraphy, a prayer or a poem, which is surrounded by textural patterning. Inscription is the dominant feature of Chorbachi’s plates, tiles and murals in which the background is expressed in extraordinary textures, patterns and colors that refer to her ancestral land. These surrounding decorative areas remind us of the traditions of ancient Mesopotamia and the first attempts of humans to create a written and numerical system on clay tab­lets with an angled wooden stylus.

Wasma'a ChorbachiChorbachi’s work retells the an­cient Islamic story within a contem­porary context and holds its own side by side with its origins as can be seen in various exhibits and mu­seums throughout the world where her work is shown.  To see more of Wasma’a’s work, click here.

~Raquel Wharton Rohr excerpted from vol 1. number 3 Spring 2009 of Sgraffito, the Harvard Ceramics Program newsletter

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Japanese Art historian, Andrew Maske, and Hamada Tomoo (grandson of Japan’s National Living Treasure, Hamada Shoji)  discuss recent tea bowl scholarship  with an audience of 70 students and art professionals at the Ceramics Program.

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Hamada, Tomoo demonstrated glazing and gave a presentation about his family legacy in Mashiko. He is the grandson of Hamada Shoji, “National Living Treasure” and THE major figure of the mingei folk-art movement.

“Hamada, Tomoo’s pots utilize essentially the same materials as those of Hamada Shinsaku(his father) and Hamada Shoji (his grandfather) – glazes like reddish brown kaki, brown tenmoku, cobalt blue, white rice straw ash, bluish-white namako, green seiji, black kurogusuri, creamy nuka, translucent namijiro, and runny-green wood ash, all used to cover a speckled tan clay dug and formulated right in Mashiko. Unlike his elders, however, Tomoo has become much more daring in the use of unconventional shapes, extensive application of overglaze enameled decorations, and surface textures. In particular, his tiered fl asks (HT21) are very progressive, and unlike anything seen before in a mingei genre. It is clear that Tomoo has been looking beyond the works of his forebears, examining works from the early English Arts and Crafts movement, and even from art nouveau.” — Andrew L. Maske

*This program was presented in conjunction with an exhibition at
the Pucker Gallery, 171 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
from June 13 through July 20, 2009.
“Hamada: Three Generations of Japanese Potters”
Opening Reception: June 13, 2009, 3 – 6 pm
Potter’s Event: Sunday, June 14, 3 – 5 pm
RSVP to justine@puckergallery.com

“The world of traditional ceramics in Japan naturally places great emphasis on lineage. Lines of potters that began in the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century are now in their fourteenth or fifteenth generations. A lineage of only three generations may seem insignificant by comparison, but (the exhibition at Pucker Gallery) by the Hamada family makes it clear that it is not the length of the line that is most important, but rather the quality of the work.”— Andrew L. Maske

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