The Heart of Man

I had a very hard time letting this yunomi go up for sale. However to fund further projects I have to let some of them go. Its hard to convey how the vessel feels in your hands, how it is thrown a little thicker to accommodate hot tea, how big it is, how heavy. A picture is worth a thousand words but holding it in person is the final answer. And even that is subjective.

I want the pieces that I create to fit the owner and to fulfill their purpose. I’m so glad this one went to a repeat customer in Australia. I’ve talked with him several times and we share some of the same tastes and ideas about pottery. He even sent pictures when it arrived. It truly makes my day when I get pictures back! If it is being used and enjoyed then I am on the right path with my work.

The Heart of Man is truly at home. I hope he discovers the “secret” to the name during its use. ūüôā

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Speaking of Nuka

Speaking of Nuka. I got some great information from my friend Lance‚Äč who is continually learning things about the beauty of the world and he creates videos to educate on his findings. He talks about “the living fossil” : Equisetum, which was around in the days of the dinosaurs. It is edible and has medicinal properties but what struck me was that it is very high in silica.

Since rice husk ash is used to create the beautiful nuka glaze. Its color is not easily describable but it has shades and hues of blue, green, white and grey. Every nuka glazed pot is different. I think that the somewhat random nature of the glaze is one of its greatest characteristics.

Look at this beautiful square bottle by Shoji Hamada Sensei using nuka over black glaze. Exquisite!

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Image from Pucker Gallery

 

I have a theory about my own work: that it needs to have an element of control (shaping the clay) and an element of relinquishment (letting the fire do its thing). And since my shapes are so simple, the two need a perfect balance.

Miranda Forrest published a book called Natural Glazes: Collecting and Making in which she describes the glaze using horsetail:

“The first test with horsetail ash alone produced a melted, creamy, greenish glaze with an optical blue in the centre, perhaps the most interesting single land-vegetation result to date. It also mixes well with other ashes and rock dusts. One of the other interesting effects associated with horsetail is carbon trapping during the firing, which gives a dark smoky colour to the glaze in places.‚ÄĚ

Very very interesting! I’m all about local materials and making work that is harmonious with nature. After all, nature gives us what we need to live, to thrive and to create. Working with clay is a very primal type of creation for me.

I read somewhere that Shoji Hamada Sensia made nuka using the following

1/3 rice husk ash
1/3 wood ash
1/3 terayama stone ( a high silica bearing feldspathoid)

The highly respected Michael Coffee uses the following:

Custer Feldspar    36.00
Quartz   30.00
Whiting   22.00
OM-4   6.00
Wood Ash (unwashed)   3.00
Talc   2.00
Bone Ash   2.00

Another potter, Steve Mill uses

Silica  40
Rice Straw Ash  50
Feldspar  60

I plan to start somewhere along the lines of the simpler one and work from there. Now… Horseail grows in very wet conditions. It favors clay (how appropriate!) It’s summer. It should be around somewhere. I just have to find it ūüôā (then burn it, then wash it, then test it, etc…)

Good Times at the Wheel

Clay is a beautiful beautiful thing. We collaborate with nature and refine it and shape it and then offer it to the flame. If you are lucky, it will give you something back that will last a lifetime.

I’ve been turning out some decent work after a hard few weeks. Its good to get going and I’m maintaining some momentum. I had a success with my Terra Sigillata experiment and I’m really liking some of these new shapes I’m designing.

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I also made some small hand jewelry plates, which if the clay cooperates with the heat of the kiln it wont bubble or blister. I’m planning to bisque a looooong cone 04 to burn out as much junk as I can and glaze fire to cone 5. I think I’ll do it in two batches as I don’t want to risk them all in the same load.

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