A beautiful morning

Took the dog out this morning for a walk. It rained all day yesterday and still cloudy and misting a bit today, may be in for more rain this evening. Anyway, cool and subdued, the low clouds hang in the valleys and the treetops like a soft blanket. When it’s early and like this, it’s almost like the outside world is muffled, and the immediate is drawn into tighter focus. It has the wonderful rain smell and the flowers stand out in the lush green. The dew brings all of the spider webs into view, really shining in the patches of sun that come through. All in all, a great morning to make good pots.
My neighbor’s old home. The land is all that remains now, and from the size of this little island of land surrounded by rice fields, I don’t see how a house could have fit there. I’ve been meaning to ask them about this. To give perspective, the hydrangea in the right of the picture is about 5-6 feet high. The old pots have been sitting there in the same place since I moved here 5 years ago, and I imagine they’ll be sitting there much longer. People use these pots for various things, from grain storage to oil and drink storage, to pickling, to human waste containment (which was later used on the fields for fertilizer).

I love this persimmon tree. Looks like a bonsai (with fruit and leaves actually to scale) to me. The persimmons are ripening now and the leaves are starting to fall. My neighbor has a very tall persimmon and uses the old method of getting them down. He cuts a piece of long bamboo(24″ plus) and splits the small end so it’s open a 1/4 inch or so. He can then stick it up under the stem of the fruit pinching it in the split end. Give it a twist and the fruit comes free, but doesn’t drop and smash because the stem is scissored between the split ends of the bamboo. Pretty clever.
A nice little dew covered flower. These were popping up everywhere at the edge of a field that used to have a house. I suppose whoever lived there before planted bulbs, and they’ve been coming up ever since, even though the people are long gone.

I’ve posted a couple more pictures of the accomodations I’ve negotiated for the kiln building workshop next October. These are posted at:


4 thoughts on “A beautiful morning”

  1. Hello,
    I just found your blog and have been really enjoying it. I am a potter in North Carolina and have been intrigued with the texture of the feet on Karatsu pots for a long time. I am very interested in your use of sandstone to both open the clay and flux it. What is in the sandstone that causes it to melt, feldspar sand?, or fluxes in the material between the sand? You mentioned in an earlier post about adding feldspar sand, "yuseki" to add texture. Is that a fine sand or larger chunks like in Shigaraki pots? Thanks for writing such an interesting blog.

  2. Eric,
    Good Morning!

    Yes, it's becoming cool and crisp in the morning now, though today I went out in long pants and long sleeve shirt, only for it to get up to 27C degrees in the afternoon. Hot!

  3. Hello Michael,

    I'm glad you're enjoying the blog. I haven't done any analysis of the sandstone, and I've found so many different kinds, it's hard to say what is helping the melt. One thing about it is that it is much less grainy than what you'd expect. Quite fine actually, after being stamped in the mortar. Interestingly, it seems to help the body seal up in firing, and at the same time is refractory enough not to cause any slumping. I imagine that the iron content helps the melt. The yuseki I add for large texture, something to enhance the drips on the surface of the ware. The yuseki melts to the extent that it 'rounds over' in the firing and doesn't leave sharp edged, nor does it melt and leave holes. It is generally a larger mesh material, but it doesn't behave like shigaraki spar particles, which cause the eruptions in the surface. Some of the very refractory clays I've dug up contain large pieces of silica that don't melt at all in the firing, and when the clay body shrinks around them, some very interesting eruptions occur. Interesting that is, until you notice the big drop of water forming on the outside surface of the pot when you try to use it….

Comments are closed.