asahi Asahi Shinbun, April 15, 2014 (English translation, original Japanese article below)

Zen and Pottery: A Gentle Beauty

   Lawrence Barrow is an English zen monk and started working as a ceramic artist this spring. After training as a zen monk in a temple in Fukui-ken for over ten years he threw himself into pottery. He set up  a kiln and studio in Higashiyama-ku in Kyoto. He has a plan to have an exhibition in the U.K. this summer and one in Kyoto later.

He rents a 2 storied house built 40 years ago, near Sanjusangendo temple, at the foot of a mountain. He is living alone and he makes his work on potter's wheel in his studio in the backyard. He uses Shigaraki clay from Koga-shi, Shiga-ken. He makes chawans, plates, sake-tokkuri, and other pots. He also writes haiku in English. " While  turning around a potter's wheel, my mind is still, and something sinks into my mind "

     His father is an Englishman who worked for British trading company, his mother is Japanese from Kofu, Yamanashi prefecture. Connected with his father's work, he moved around various countries from one place to another. He was born Thailand, started living in Tokyo from 3 years old, went to school near  London at 8 years old. He travelled to America at age 18 and studied film making and painting there. After that he became an artist in London.

   His encounter with Zen books, such as Daisetsu Suzuki, Zen spirit, Calm, Wabi, Sabi, Zen philosophy was wonderful and made him wish to study for real, living in a Zen temple.  So he entered a Soto-zen  temple, Bukkoku-ji in Obama, Fukui prefecture at the age of 27 and  was ordained as a monk. After 10 years of Zen training, he left the temple to see other worlds.

   Having an interest in Japanese traditional arts and crafts, mainly pottery, he visited various pottery towns such as : Karatsu ( Saga-ken),  Hagi (Yamaguchi-ken) , Bizen (Okayama-ken), Kiyomizu ( Kyoto). Two years ago he decided to become a ceramic artist and entered the only specialized college in Japan: The KyotoTraditional Arts and Crafts College ( Nantanshi, Kyoto) and studied there and graduated in March this year. He became independent and created a kiln and studio named Jiko- gama which comes from his Buddihist name Jiko.

   Under the guidance of  a Shigaraki master potter he makes ceramic art and every morning at home he sits 40 minutes for Zen meditation and once a week joins the meditation at Tofuku-ji  temple in Kyoto. Also he is learning calligraphy and  tea ceremony. "Since there is a special sense of beauty in Zen as well as ceramic art , I would like to continue learning from now on too. Japanese traditional art deserves the admiration of the whole world."  He plans to sell his work at his studio or in a  gallery in Kyoto in the future.

The studio address is :  Jiko-gama, 4-4 Amidagamine-cho, Imagumano, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0924


朝日新聞  文化欄      平成26年 4月15日

禅と陶芸  ジェントルな美

ーイギリス人の僧 バローさんー イギリス人の禅僧がこの春、陶芸家として歩み出した。ローレンス バローさん(43)福井県の禅寺で10年間修業した後、陶芸の世界に飛び込み、京都市東山区に工房を構えた。今夏にロンドンで,秋には京都で個展を開く予定だ。 三十三間堂に程近い山のふもと。築40年の2階建てー軒家を借りて-人で暮らし、裏庭の工房でろくろを回す。 滋賀県甲賀市から掘ってきた信楽の土を使い、茶椀や皿,徳利、つぼを作る。柄には、自らが 英語で造った俳句を英字で彩色する。「ろくろを回していると心が静かになり、胸の中に染み入るものが あります」 父は貿易会社に勤めるイギリス人、母は甲府市の出身の日本人。父の仕事の関係で海外を転々とした。タイで生まれ、3歳から東京で暮し,8歳の時にロンドンへ。18歳でアメリカにわたって映画製作や絵画の 勉強をした後、ロンドンで画家になった。 この頃、鈴木大拙らの禅の本に出あった。「心を落ち着かせる、わ び、さびの哲学、素晴らしい!」実際に禅寺で生活したいと28歳で福井県小浜市の曹洞宗.仏国時に入って得度。10年修行した後。他の世 界も見たい」と寺を出た。 日本の伝統工芸に関心があり、唐津焼(佐賀県)、萩焼(山口県)、備前焼(岡山県)、京焼、清水焼(京都府)の現場を見て回った。2年前に陶芸家になろうと決め、職人を育てる国内唯一の専門学校の京都伝統工芸大学校(京都南丹市)で学び、今年3月に卒業。独立して作った工房は、自身の僧名の慈光から「慈光窯」と名付けた。 信楽焼の職人に指導してもらいいながら、陶芸作品を作るー方、毎朝自宅で、約40分間、座禅を組む。週にー回ほど、京都市の東福寺の座禅会に参加する。書道や茶道も学ぶ。「禅も陶芸も西洋にはない美意識がある。世界に誇る日本の伝統文化を今後も学び続けたい」 工房は京都市東山区今熊野 阿弥陀ヶ峰町4-4。作品は今後、工房や京都市内の店で販売する予定という。  
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