Naming glazes for fun and profit

A funny thing happened at the kiln unloading a few weeks back. One of the glazes, a somewhat crawly feldspathic glaze, had really come unglued on one of the clay bodies and gone all over the place, but at the same time had adhered to the pots really well and rounded over, leaving no sharp edges or uncomfortable spots. Not being what I had aimed for, I was prepared to hammer them when my mentor said “No, you never know what people are going to like and there is nothing wrong with those pots, in fact they are pretty interesting, just unexpected.”

Well, my wife comes out, takes one look at them and says “Oh, you can call those Yuki No Yado Karatsu!” which was responded to with much chuckling and chortling by everyone present.

Yuki No Yado, if you don’t know is the brand name of a rice cracker here that is long time big seller, could be likened to Little Debbie snacks or Ritz crackers. It is a salty rice cracker covered with a crawly sugar glaze, and they are pretty good actually. Here is a picture of them:

Here is a picture of one of the cups in question.
I’ll admit there is a definite resemblance…

Anyway, we decided that calling them Yuki No Yado Karatsu, while entertaining, was probably an invitation for a lawsuit, so I finally decided on Shiranami, which is a term for white caps on a rough sea. It is also a name of a popular shochu drink brand, but first and foremost is a regular expression, so probably safe.

Sometimes it is hard to think of ‘cool’ names for glaze. A traditional effect in Karatsu glazes is a crawling that happens on trimmed surfaces or areas where the glaze is especially thick. My friend Stephen calls this glaze effect ‘pink intestine glaze’ because he first saw it from a macro photo of the glaze surface. Unfortunately, though interesting, this name doesn’t sound all that appetizing for most people.

Luckily, the Japanese thought of the more appealing name ‘Kairagi’, which means ‘plum tree bark texture’.  I wonder if that particular glaze effect would have become so prized historically if it had been initially named ‘pink intestinal texture’.