I have the opportunity to convert an old electric kiln to LP and found that leasing a tank is supposedly very inexpensive. This way I can get to cone 10 temperatures without shortening the life of my electric kiln, experiment with reduction and test glazes in an environment closer to a wood kiln.
I’ve been working nights to get some more work done. It’s much cooler. The Georgia summers are just brutal with the heat and humidity.
I’ve been using porcelain exclusively for a month and it’s a beautiful thing. I’m trying to push it to its limits, which means that my scrap bucket does not go hungry 🙂
I am experimenting with some irregular shapes and found the issue of trimming the bottoms was a pretty simple solution. I used a large enough lump of clay as a chuck. I should turn a few sizes on the wheel and then bisque. I can use a small lump of clay (carpet under-matting or similar) as an adhesive. This will solve the secondary problem of not being able to bear down on the clay to get a good cut.
I’ve been finding things to do indoors as well. So I have hijacked my own island in the kitchen for my small ceramics projects that don’t need the wheel. I have a beautiful backdrop thanks to my wife 😀
Been carving with the Mudtools brand tools. The Do-All Trim Tool is a Ferari of a tool and just gets better the more I use it. The Drag Tool, I still need some practice with but there are a lot of possibilities there too. I’ve been making small guinomi chalices as they are small, quick jobs and keep my pinching skills up.
Ohi Toshio – 大樋年雄 is an 11th generation Tea bowl master. I had the privilege of spending 2 days with him at Piedmont College watching him form Chawan, learning about the importance of tea in the Japanese culture and getting a glimpse into the depth and symbolism that tea ceremony and the tea bowl bring in Asian culture. (Think golden ratio kind of deep. Think Shinto kind of deep. Think about layer upon layer of symbolism.)
Mr. Ohi is a fantastic and widely knowledgeable person and I stopped taking notes exactly 3 minutes into the first workshop so that I could just focus and take in as much as possible. This was, I later found out, a 2 week session put into 2 days. The fact that he came at all speaks of his generosity. In my humble opinion you will learn more about the teabowl and the culture from deciphering the man who makes them than by memorizing any kind of technique.
Here is a man who is, a father, photographer, artist, designer, speaker and tea bowl maker (among other things probably as well). He continues a tradition began in the 1600’s while still being an artist who is true to himself. He blends and balances the new and the old through his ideals. Mr. Ohi unfortunately did not have time for me to create a proper portrait of him as the gallery and Japanese consulate were awaiting his arrival. I wanted it to be a a gift to him for imparting so much knowledge to myself and the other attendees. I am hopeful that we will meet again with more time one day.
If anyone has any questions about the workshop I will try to answer as best I can or try and locate the information requested. Please enjoy some moments from the working sessions. I apologize in advance that I did not get more pictures of the attendees but please share links if you have some. I would love to see the perspective of others.
So I’m in the middle of doing the third iteration of my Kusamono / Shitakusa vessels and they are coming along nicely. I love love love this clay. Its very porous and I think that it would be good for the plantings in such a small place to be able to get enough oxygen to the roots. This is the advantage of terracotta, not only is it cheaply produced and low fired but it is porous as well. We’ll have to keep in mind that the plants that are paired with these pots may need to be watered more than something that is in a plastic or fully vitrified pot. I’ll have to prove this out but it seems that if the roots can get more oxygen then they will flourish for longer.
I have been getting heavily into Kusamono since I learned the term from my friend Chuck. This is something that I’ve never seen before. Mushroom cultivation for Kusamono! It seems to be a high investment in effort and time for a small payoff but for originality I give it two thumbs up. If you care to dive into the way other mushrooms are grown the success rate is a bit higher and the technique should translate very well to the more decorative mushrooms such as the beautiful Amanita Muscaria which reminds me of Christmas.