The Burial of Horus the Hawk In April of 2020, my assistant Ludovico Orsini and I buried Horus with with rose, sage, Palo Santo wood from Ecuador, and Tibetan prayer flags in a “traditional Tibetan hawk burial.” 😉 (I am joking, of course.) The Death of Horus the Hawk Harry the Hawk grew up on my deck … […]
It took a year and a half and a team of potters to completely dismantle Teruo Hara’s kilns at the Japanese House. The potters took apart the kilns, brick by brick, and plan to rebuild them in southern Virginia. Mr. Hara had built a large gas kiln and a small wood fired kiln. And now we’ll begin to rebuild the kiln house as a studio, part […]
The Japanese House (with Karl and workers) in early stages of rescue. There were no interior stairs; the upper floor had to be accessed by ladder! After the first wave of restoration of The Japanese House.
This is the state in which I found the house, kilns and teahouse in 2010.
These are photos from the 1970s when the Hara family lived there, with photos of the kilns and a pottery exhibition in the garden. Click to enlarge.
Part II of The Monticello Connection Fay’s “other house” was quite a bit different from mine: hers was famous. I’d already read about it, in Architectural Digest. It was called Chogetsu. (Moon Tide.) Architectural Digest (May 1985) “Hewn by Hand” In the 1980s, Mr Hara had been commissioned to build a Japanese complex on seven acres […]
One very hot June, shortly after buying the Japanese house, I was standing on the west lawn of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, waiting for us to be called into the big open tent for our annual Cabinet dinner. The 250 Cabinet members fly in or drive in from everywhere and meet once a year for a […]
Cherry blossom festival is the best week in Washington DC, and always falls on my birthday. I wrote an entire scene in The Fire set during that first week in April. Here is a vase filled with cherry blossoms from my own tree, a 60-foot tall ornamental cherry planted fifty years ago by the famous […]
As part of the restoration of the Japanese House, a team of professional potters is dismantling Teruo Hara’s historic, hand-built kilns, which will be reassembled at a pre-designed location for continued use. We are documenting the complete deconstruction/reconstruction process. Teruo Hara was a famous potter serving at the Corcoran School (now part of George Washington […]
When it comes to gardening I’m into instant gratification. I can’t stand empty spaces anymore, I’m planting every plant I can before snowfall! Here are a few highlights from my recent gardening endeavors at the Japanese House. New ferns in the garden beds Ginkgo fruits Sedum with bees White wort Winterberry Nandina Tree of Heaven […]
Scott, the director of my heating & plumbing company, sent me a surprise that he’d found in his mother’s attic, along with this story… When Teruo Hara built my Japanese house in 1965, Scott was a child and his own father was Mr Hara’s mortgage banker. In the course of constructing the home & kilns […]
KATHERINE NEVILLE’SAutumn Equinox NewsletterSeptember 21, 2016 Autumn Equinox Equinox (the day each year when day and night are equal in length) is the time to sow and plant, to prepare for us to reap next Spring! Today is one of the eight Celtic Festival Days, when it is time for us to plan for the […]
The Mysterious Symbol August 8, 2014 Late at night, my first winter in the Japanese house, I was sleeping on cushions on the floor when my resident herd of deer ran through the front courtyard, and set off the motion detector light at the upper entrance, flooding the interior with light. Wearily, I crawled out […]
“Wind and Water” (Feng Shui) There is a system of building design that precedes Neutra’s by millennia: Feng Shui is the ancient oriental art of siting and designing buildings in keeping with key features of the natural landscape, like mountains and valleys created by “winds and waters.” I had studied it for years, including a […]
Escape from Structured Environment As a child, I’d always wanted to be outside climbing trees, picking persimmons or pears to eat, or buckeyes that bring luck if carried in your pocket. I hated being trapped indoors in the sterile “educational” environments created to torture young children. Some of my least favorite recollections are of being […]
As layers and years of neglect of the Japanese House were peeled away, something interesting emerged: a vision of “the house within the house.” It was not my vision, however. I am not an expert in Japanese architecture or any other. It was the vision of what the house itself wanted to be. I had […]
The sounds of Japan are evoked by temple bells, wind chimes, water over stones, wind in bamboo groves, taiko drums (first created, as myth assures us, from a Sake barrel!) – and one of my favorite combinations of all of the above: Jazz Impressions of Japan, the 1964 album of musician Dave Brubeck’s trip to […]
When I write a piece of music I note on the score the kind of emotion I have in mind. A garden should be calm and still, but at the same time it should be a strong calm. So I say: ‘Ecstatic’. One might think you can’t combine the two – calm and ecstasy. But […]
One August, decades ago, I journeyed to Japan. It was the hottest August on record, the Tokyo sidewalks were scalding, one couldn’t walk on the pavement after five o’clock in the morning; when we went to the fish market at four a.m., the fresh fish were already spoiling in the heat. Even up in Kyoto, […]