Being Busy

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. 

Night time in the stidio looks like something out of a dream. Living the dream 🙂

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. 

   
 

Third Iteration

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.

Keeping the pots from cracking by wrapping them to carve the hard clay.
First two done!
All 8 carved. Got a bit fancy with some texturing on a few.

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.

There is an excellent article dealing with creating Mushroom Kusamono that I found – http://ofbonsai.org/species-specific/accent-plantings/simplified-cultivation-of-mushrooms-for-accents-and-kusamono – Just beautiful!