Daily Bowl Challenge

On May 10, 2019, in Madrid, at the AraArte gallery, I attended the opening of the Chawan exhibition: the spirit of a bowl , born from the hands of the master Alfonso d'Ors. I was fortunate to have met him on a pedagogical excursion to Manises in June 2018, an old and renowned center for the production of Valencian ceramics. The fantastic trip was organized by the Moncloa School of Ceramics, of which he is the director and where in the past he was a classmate and student of my grandfather, whom he remembers with special affection. As the endearing person that he is, it was automatic to establish a beautiful relationship with Alfonso. Since then, he has not stopped advising me to meet other potter friends of his and attend activities related to ceramics that are very personally and professionally enriching. As was that inspiring exhibition.

If I remember anything vividly from the event, it's when he recommended making one bowl a day to the packed audience, in addition to his beautiful Japanese-inspired bowls . I attended there accompanied by a beautiful Guatemalan woman with whom I was falling in love and who one night later, in Cáceres, would break my heart. Perhaps the mixture of both events: the inspiration of the first and the motivation to overcome the second, pushed me to accept the challenge and try to make something transcendent out of it. I wanted to show myself that I am capable of keeping my word to myself day by day. And I needed to prove that I can make the things that —pun intended— are in my power a reality, in contrast to those in which you depend on the will of third parties.

Once calmly meditated and decided, it was my turn to choose a day to start whose symbolism matched the importance that the purpose had for me. And that day had to be November 28, 2019, one year after I was registered as a self-employed worker, one of the most thoughtful decisions of my life. Since then, every day, I make a bowl —at least, of course. And now approaching half a solar cycle —I am writing these lines on day 178—, I can say that it is one of the best decisions I have made. Well, that's how it all started: meeting a very special person, suffering heartbreak and surrounded by chawanes.

Cover image: Ortega Durán, J., 2018. Four chawanes . digital photography.