Feema Koola Ya Ya, How Arcane…

Sometimes as a parent, one looks at their child and may think… she looks like her Mom but I don’t see any resemblance to me. Could it be that she’s not mine? Then she’ll do something or say something or make a face and you think to yourself, oh yeah, she’s mine. The bug has a tendency to endlessly repeat original nonsense words to the point of distraction. And so it goes… feema koola ya ya, feema koola ya ya, feema koola ya ya, feema koola ya ya, feema koola ya ya. This is reminiscent to me of kermikaw kermikaw kermickaw which she used to repeat while jumping on the couch. But that was when she was two and maybe at two she thought that kermikaw was a word but feema koola ya ya she knows are not words that have meanings but repeat she does. I have done this same thing most of my life and so I know that she’s mine. Maybe the phrase is an secret chant that reveals a mysterious truth… or arcanum, which leads me to this book…


At the Alabama Clay Conference both Gerit Grimm and Kurt Weiser highly recommended this book (see, I was paying attention) and I usually do not base my reading choices on recommendations from people that I hardly know but I was captivated by the idea of a true story or subterfuge and espionage that revolves around porcelain. I won’t ruin the story (as if someone might actually go read this) but the pith of it is that when explorers brought porcelain back to Europe from Asia, the monarchies went apeshite and the white clay became literally as valuable as gold. To stop the flow of money to Asia, one monarch decided to use his alchemist to find the arcanum for porcelain so they could make their own. Arcanum also refers to the secret formula for turning base metals to gold and, as a bonus, the fountain of youth or immortality. Of course the alchemists never did turn anything into gold and I’m sure they welcomed working on the mystery of the formula for porcelain because it was actually possible. What follows is many years of conspiracy, espionage, back-stabbing, trial and error, war, etc. I’ll leave it at that and only add that the behavior of the monarchies and powerful of the time only confirms that the wealthy and powerful from any time period (and especially our time period) are and were bereft of any sort of consideration of the plight of the masses upon whose backs they accumulated their fortunes. And so another clumsy segue… I’ve been seeking my own arcanum of late attempting to add these feldspars, frits and other crushed up stones and shells to yield a glaze or two to my liking…


My last big glaze test was a complete bust so I’m hoping for a bit of success this time.


I’m also working out some different terra sig colors…


So here’s some of the test tiles and I’ll be firing them in a couple days…


Last but not least, even though I’ve been sick I took Sofia to our friend’s home last night to participate in their annual pysanky-fest. I don’t associate pysanky with the Ishtar worshipping holiday that we now refer to as Easter (Ishtar/Easter), to me it’s just an excuse to make cool decorations on eggs. Here’s the bug hard at work…





I wish I was feeling a bit better and had more time to commit to some intricate eggage but it was not to be. Also, the UofL basketball game was on at the same time and you know how crazy everyone is about hoops. Sayanora.

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3 Responses to “Feema Koola Ya Ya, How Arcane…”

  1. Rob - Simple Circle Studios Says:

    That book sounds wicked cool. It shall be added to the list of books that I would like to eventually get, but in all likelihood never will.
    I was doing a demo at a high school art fair a while back and was set up right next to a woman doing pysanky. She was an older lady from Ukraine (I think) and had obviously been doing it for quite some time because she was making ridiculously detailed designs. I never tried my hand, but it was indeed cool to watch.

  2. jojoaruba Says:

    Great blog post! Now I want to read about porcelain and get the rest of the story!

  3. Ronald R Deaver Says:


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