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Atelje Janja Gora
Janja Gora 163b
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Atelje Janja Gora Chawan story
Some time ago, it was 2005, the word came to us about the international exhibition being organised by 'Het Laatste huis' in Belgium,
(our new friends then). We did not know anything about what word 'Chawan' meant. We just have moved back to Croatia and have tried our best to keep on our path of personal, artistic and spiritual development. The connection with other artists and people meant much to us, so we decided to participate. It was the beginning of a great journey, still lasting.
Now, years later, it has become a part of our life and daily work. It has become a part of our life and work philosophy. In the time past we discovered the spirituality and tradition that lies behind the traditional zen tea ceremony, finding everlasting connection between people and cultures over the globe. We have proven our stand point that we all originate from the same source, and that the borders and differences are something invented by people, not by nature itself.
From 2009, the year when we organised our international workshop dedicated to traditional eastern glazes and techniques, focused on Chawan, we became an active partner in the promotion of this wonderful idea and initiative. Our ceramics guru, teacher and wise man, but most of all good friend Lou Smedts, restarted the whole "Chawanexpo" project again, and it was only natural for us to actively participate in it. The way of Chawan became a way to meet new friends, to visit new places, to raise the awareness of the world of tolerance and friendship.
As one unspoken and yet clear word, as one undeclared and yet powerful emotion, exhibitions followed one another. People came and went, as the flow went on. Some of our artist friends expected a sort of instant fame. When it did not come, they left. Others just started their own Chawan adventure, reviling the secrets and traditions of Zen in them self. All of them just tuned in the universal field of mutual respect, understanding and love for art, wisdom and mankind. We all did just that. The sphere is open, and we are filling it in with our own contribution, like teacup filled with fine tea.
Project Chawan is something that embodies all of this in one material, visible form well known to those who participate. The ancient spirit of the great tea ceremony masters has found its way to most hidden and distant places, throughout a simple tea bowl. There is no better way to demonstrate earthly forces working throughout people and their deeds.
The history of the Chawan expo project
In 2005 Lou Smedts thought it was the right time to organize a Chawan exhibition, the Japanese teacups which are used for the Zen tea ceremony. With the help of some friends, Lou set up an exhibition with 67 ceramists from 16 countries.
The "Chawan 2005 " expo travelled to many museums in Belgium and each time authentic tea ceremonies were organized.
As the curator of this huge exhibition which included a catalogue and a website, Lou thought the whole project was too big to travel further. He refined the concept, contacted different museums, and set up the 2009 Chawan exhibition at the Torhouts Pottery Museum in Belgium. The success was so overwhelming and awoke the interest of other museums & galleries, and so the adventure started. The expo's followed one after another,
• Musée de la Ceramique, Andenne, Belgium
• Musée du Gress, St. Amand en Puisaye, France
• Keramisch atelier & galerie, Utrecht, Netherlands
• Salon de H - Art company, Seoul, South Korea
• Juraj Sporer art pavilion in Opatija, Croatia,
• The Jared Branfman Memorial Gallery at the Gorse Mill Studios. 31 Thorpe Road, Needham, Massachusetts, USA,
• Yüsay gallery- Terabayashi Nishi 22 - Nara City, Japan,
• La Borne, France
All those expo's would be not possible without help and great efforts of many people, with whom we started this project as strangers and become friends for life. Together we turned a small tea cup into a real star in famous galleries and museums around the world. Thank you friends! Maybe there will be more expo's to come but at the moment we enjoy every moment and think, whoever lives according to Wabi is content with simple things as a cup of tea. They understand the wisdom of the natural way of doing things together. That must be Zen…
Lou Smedts, curator of the exhibition.
Atelje keramike Janja Gora
Branko Šupica, 095 911 86 29
Danijela Pešut, 095 911 86 27