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T: Yes.

D: When you say that about words, I've been reading a little bit about Zen aesthetics, and I was thinking about the words shibui, wabi, and sabi. I don't know if those words have any application to your own work, or if you thought of them...

T: Well, I always like things (clothes and things) with shibui anyway. But again, that word was misused a great deal.

D: Tell me about that.

T: Well, it's understated aliveness, to me, shibui is. The clothes, for instance, you could have dark clothes, or you could have shibui, and --

D: Shibui doesn't mean dull, is what you're saying.

T: No. Understated, but alive. There is life in it. That's how I see shibui. But even that word was misused in many ways, I felt. Shibui garden, Shibui dress, Shibui exterior. Maybe they had some shibui in them. But I avoided that word, like the word Zen. You speak to people and they say, "Do you believe in Zen?" I avoid that quite a bit.
To me, religion in some ways is your work. And if there is Zen in it, or whatever it is, it comes through if you enjoy doing your work. I think it doesn't matter what you do, anyway; anything you do with the best of your capacities is beautiful.

D: The work is an expression of yourself.

T: Yes. That's why I try to impart that to my students, and to practice it. Not by giving lectures about it, but I find that most of them are really interested in their work. So interested in their work sometimes that they don't want to do other things that are just as important.

D: Other things?

T: Like garden. It takes a long time. The garden is very beautiful to me, but I'm much older. So when you're trying to tell's not that easy....

D: You said to me one time that you started to make the closed forms because you were interested in painting on the pot, and it gave you a surface to paint on.

T: How that started off, though, it started with a bird shape in mind. Gradually, gradually, it came to a mask. First a two spouted bottle. Then from the top, I could see it was a mask. It's in the Gimbel collection. So I thought, why not make a mask, and I started doing a mask with two eyes and a mouth, and the mask