Shiho Kanzaki

I have just finished a fantastic autobiography of Shiho Kanzaki called – Voice of Fire, Voice of Earth. It’s only available in ebook format and the $3.00 I spent on it was well worth it. I love this man’s work and his philosophy on life. A true potter who understands that pottery is not just about pots, its about life. As you shape the pots and participate in the process, the process shapes you!

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Very few of the older generation potters are computer savvy but Shiho Kanzaki is on Facebook as well!

Understanding Core Materials

Years and years ago I got up the courage to develop my own black and white film after reading an article that gave me the very basics in a way that I could understand. That understanding only took place after researching over the period of many months.

I’m experiencing the same thing with glazing. After seeing the results of cone 10 glazing and seeing the depth that it creates I’m ready to take it on.

Cone 6 in oxidation just pales in comparison. It looks as if there is a film of glass on top of some clay. Sure some of it looks good but cone 10 just has something that makes it sing. It’s as if the glaze is a part of the clay itself.

This article from Ceramic Arts Daily, along with John Britt’s excellent books on mid range and high fire glazes just pushed the right buttons for me and I’m ready to go.

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I had previously bought chemicals for some cone 6 testing so I have a lot of 2 gallon buckets with a lot of the chemicals I need but cone 10 calls for some specifics. So I’m off to my supplier in a few days to pick up the rest of what I need.

I’ve made up some small pinch pots to test without fear of melting stuff to the kiln shelf. These will also be to test the creation of a black englobe to go along with the buff white clay body I’m using. I want to get 2 complimentary glazes, and with the color of the at body and a black englobe I will have a decent start for decorating and making functional wares with my OWN glazes.

I’m very excited to get some good reliable glazes:

  • Temmoku
  • Celedon
  • Oribe
  • Cream White
  • Nuka

🔥🔥 I’m fired up! 🔥🔥

Out of the fire and into the …

The bisque firing went as expected to Cone 04. The home processed clay from Lake Lanier was sifted through a window screen and retained some pretty course grog and stones. There was a single crack in the lip of the Chawan after the firing. I repaired it as best I could with some slip, let it dry.

The main firing to cone 6 went very well a few nights ago. I had several items of high value in this firing and spent the night getting up and checking the temperature and inserting the final plug in the kiln to slow the cooling once peak temperature had been reached.

I glazed my new style miniature bonsai pots in Shino and used a sponge to remove some of the glaze on the higher portions of the texture. The internal I left unglazed. My Mother and I did a quick project using one of the pots and created this beautiful little accent. I learned that this is the art of Kusamono or Shitakusa. You can find these pots and others on my Etsy Shop – https://www.etsy.com/shop/FireCrownPottery

Small ceramic bonsai pot with matching drip tray. Kusamono / Shitakus

 

The Chawan was glazed in clear. The inside was glazed very heavily to see how a thicker glaze application would take and to possibly seal the very porous body. I was very surprised, neigh stunned, to see what came out of the kiln once the temperature dropped and I was able to pull out the wares. The color had changed from its mars-like red to a dark brown with white speckles and an almost purple hue. You can see the contrast in the Kodai (or foot ring) below. An absolutely gorgeous gem! I have to work on the clay body as it is very porous but there is so much potential here and it is very exciting.

 

My Mothers sculpted piano is precious to hold and admire and I think we have an heirloom on our hands.

Miniature speckled stoneware piano sculpture. Glazed in clear.

Although the Chawan, made from the earth beneath my feet is exiting and bursting with potential, this is the one that I consider my finest piece so far. I call my pinch vessels my Ensō series. Like the Japanese concept of the Ensō each of the pinched Yunomi vessels I make are unique and singular in their existence. Each portrays the character of the creator and the context of its creation.

Made with white stoneware and glazed with Tenmoku which displays a beautiful variation of dark brown breaking to gold. It was created by hand over the course of about an hour. Each curve is subtle and graceful. It is the culmination of each pinch and motion of smoothing the inner and outer. It is a quiet mediation on creation in its simplest form. Shaping by hand. No tools involved.

Next post will be something that has been in the making for around 6 months. A wedding (and now baby!) gift for friends.