On Establishing a Rhythm

Art takes rhythm. Ceramics is no exception and probably needs it moreso than the majority of other art forms. It is especially slow paced and the process from beginning to end to create a piece can be weeks to months depending on firing schedules. Not to mention that it can take years before you truly master your materials. Testing glazes alone will take me many months to complete.

The rhythm with ceramics tends to go at “life pace”. Most of us hold down full time jobs, have families and other obligations to attend to before working on our own projects. It seems that it falls into a slow seasonal rhythm spanning years and this is something that I do not mind.

Winter is spent mostly indoors for me so I tend to work on pinched vessels and things that I can do away from the wheel. Spring is a time for re-invigoration, cleaning the mental ¬†clutter and getting back on the wheel. Summer is hot and with that comes the long days and trying to tighten up with routines. Fall is a magical time where I feel the most creative and bold. We’ll see how it goes over the years and how it gets more integrated with life until the goal of life being pottery and pottery being life comes about.

Here is a nice video on Establishing Rhythm with Dionne Swift. While not specifically a pottery video the core concepts span across mediums.

Establishing a Rhythm from R&A Collaborations on Vimeo.

Shou Sugi Ban

Tonight’s project involves a blowtorch, a nice piece of poplar wood, some sandpaper, a stain and sealant, a drill and some drawer pulls.

Sword holder made with Shou Sugi Ban technique on poplar

Shou Sugi Ban or Yakisugi is the process of charring wood, cleaning it and then using an oil or stain / sealant to protect the wood. It weathers the wood and paradoxically protects it via a charred outer shell to give it resistance to the elements.

I first learned about this watching a documentary about an architecture class building a tiny house and using this method instead of more expensive materials to weather seal the outer structure. its becoming all the rage for interior design as the grain patterns are intensified and it lends a look that you cannot achieve otherwise.

A fantastic example can be found on this forum – http://www.forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=58314.0

Burning a timber