Year of Grace, Day 14. The joy of blue and white

Another milestone reached: two weeks of my grace journal; three weeks in total of writing down my thanks each day. I am truly thankful that thus far I have sustained my goal of daily writing. This one-day, one-note format has worked rather well for me. I am grateful too that friends read and like what I write and share of my daily life and my interests, and their kind appreciation and delight encourage me and hearten me. I am additionally thankful that I can illustrate these daily posts with photographs I have taken in the past, and that I am able to take more when I need them, thanks to my trusty, faithful cameras for cooperating and reproducing, more often than not, what my eyes see and what I would like to share with others. One of them is so old, someone said it looked like an antique. All the more reason for me to treasure it :-).

Today I continue with the blue theme of yesterday. It is not only in the garden that I have the pleasure and the joy of seeing blue. Indoors as well there are a number of things that I use in daily life that are blue or, more accurately, blue and white. For these few simple things, I am truly thankful. I suppose I developed this predilection during my time in Japan, where the range of blue and white tableware is infinitely vast.

Here in Bonn I have found, thankfully, similar blue and white stoneware. They remind me very much of the traditional, not so refined table and kitchen ware that I had grown to love. These simple wares are utilitarian, and so whatever shape and adornment they have are not too elaborate. But the brushwork of blue on the grey or beige glazed bodies often displays the same exuberance that is found in Japanese mingei (folkcraft). I love that these utilitarian wares have an unstudied and unconscious character. They are unabashedly functional and that is what I love about them.

I have a simple, country-style blue and white pitcher, called a Bempel, traditionally used for serving apple wine in Bavaria. I used this yesterday for the first time as a vase with an arrangement of a sunflower and some flowering grasses. The vertical motif on this looks so much like Japanese script: hiragana ‘no’ (の) and the ideograph for life ( 生). I also find the “tail” casually brushed at the foot of the handle and the other brush strokes appealing.

The sunflower and grasses came in an autumnal bouquet from a dear friend:  for flowers and friends that gladden my heart, I am truly thankful. And for the joy of having something blue and white, something simple, honest and useful, and made by a craftsperson’s hands — something that reflects the joy and exuberance of its crafting, I am ever exceedingly grateful.

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