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!

Finally!

Finally had some time and inspiration to get my hands into some clay. The Lake Lanier home processed clay feels awesome and is very groggy. When soaking wet it has some placticity to it but you can easily break it apart when working with it. There is so much iron that it stains your hands and makes a complete mess. I used gloves like I would when using iron oxide wash.  I first hand-shaped this chawan. Very bulky and heavy. It looked interesting enough and I paddled some texture into it.

I had a feeling about it though. I don’t know how the clay will fire, first off. So without knowing that I might as well go for broke. So I did some thinning of the bowl on the wheel and revealed the awesome texture just below the surface.

It looked so nice I had to use my new LED light panel to give it a good shot. It is still amazingly heavy for the size and shape. I can only hope that the bisque firing goes well and that cone 6 doesn’t turn it into a puddle.

I’ve made a few other things as well with my normal “Jackpot” clay body and they will go in with this to bisque.

Some newly designed miniature bonsai pots with matching drip trays.
A pinched lidded vessel
Of course my Mother’s first try with clay she made this beautiful piano. Its where I get my crafty from 🙂

Home Dug Clay

Well it took a while but the clay is processed and needs a good wedging. In the second image you can see my terrible attempt at what will be a small (and I mean very small) test raku kiln built of soft brick. I intend to simply let the material itself and the form be the focus of what I create from this using a white slip and a clear or clear crackle glaze. I hope it works out without much tweaking needed.

I took the kayak out across the lake and found a nice deposit of very iron rich clay. So rich in iron in fact that when washing up you can see the granules of iron washing out of the clay itself.
Around one gallon of dug clay yielded about 7 lbs after screening through an ordinary window screen, wrapping in a piece of cloth and hanging up to dry a bit.