Celebrating Failure

Pretty much everything that could have gone wrong with this last firing has gone wrong.

Clay body cracks
Crazing
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Crazing reduces the strength of the vessel by up to 80% A short drop to the wooden floor split this right in half.
Blistering AND crazing
Blistering
Blistering
Pinholing AND Blistering
Pinholing like a CHAMP!
Even a bit of reduction in part of the kiln. Although I must say the reduction looks beautiful!

I’m picking up some dry materials to start testing my base glazes. At least I know that my chosen clay body tolerates overfiring very well.

I’m getting some witness cones (5, 6 and 7) to stack on each shelf and see what they do. I don’t understand whats happening yet. Olympic says that the kiln usually underfires if something is wrong rather than overfiring. The company that makes my clay body says that blistering happens from overfiring. The cones should tell the tale though. I need to get that straight before I drive myself crazier than usual.

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!

Coming Along Nicely

Enso project coming along nicely!

Also I just found a neat little plugin called Orange Twig that lets me import my entire Etsy Store into my Facebook Page. Nice!

I’ve gotten a new tattoo based on the 3 Hapkido Principals

yu-won-hwa
Yu – Won – Hwa or Water – Circle – Nonresistance

My explanation in a very very condensed form and are ever changing and take on new meaning in different situations and at different times in life.

Yu – Water or Flow – Flow like water. It can be soft or it can crash. It can find the lowest ground. It can conform to any container and take its shape. It can bore a hole into solid stone over time. Flowing movements.The indomitable spirit of the Hapkido practitioner!

Won – Circle – Using circular motion to overcome instead of using force against force. Do not counter a linear attack linearly. Counter it with circular motion. “Roll with it”. It can lead away from something and also to completion. The circle is a sacred sign that I talked about in a previous post.

Hwa – Nonresistance or Harmony – Represents the harmony between mind and body, the spirit and the physical self, It represents harmony in every aspect of your life. Nonresistance is a big part of attaining harmony. The huge oak tee will crack and fall down in a storm while the wispy tree next to it is flexible and offers no resistance to the wind.

These three principals exist and fit together in a way where they become greater than the sum of their parts. These principals are used time and time again and are an integral part of my pottery, my photography and my life. Now I have a visual reminder to delve even further into the symbolic depth of these symbols.