All posts by hancho

Washing your Oribe

Sounds kinda dirty, somehow, or maybe that’s just me. Anyway, when you fire Oribe greens, you usually get an oxide layer over the surface that dulls the color, or in extreme cases changes the color completely to a sort of what I always imagined the color of the Great Grey Green Greasy Limpopo River to be. (always loved Rudyard Kipling)

The traditional method for cleaning this up is chestnut husks soaked in water, which creates an acidic, extremely smelly brown concoction that you soak your dishes in for a few days. Nowadays, people use a 3% solution of hydrochloric acid. Now, this is nasty stuff so if you are going to use it, use it in a very well ventilated area, with gloves, eye protection, etc… When you open the bottle, white mist rises, just like in the movies. Breathing that is not a good idea.

Here is a before after pic of a dish I cleaned up. These dishes did not have a heavy oxide layer, but the cleaned one is noticeably brighter.

Kamadashi / and a nasty case of the runs

I unloaded the kiln yesterday evening, confirming my suspicions about my glazing skills. While I got some good smaller ‘souvenir’ level work out of the kiln, the chawan and guinomi were for the most part not so good. These are the higher yen items, so I like to get more of those than less, but it does not oft happen. Two problems with them this time: the iron glaze was a bit thin, because the water was a bit too deep in my foot soaking dish, and my band of rice straw ash glaze at the top was a bit too thick.

The pieces that I needed for the upcoming show were the small dishes and yunomi, and for the most part they came out great, aside from about 10 that really ran, and had super duper pinholing. The smaller dishes that I tried out my copper green on turned out nicely as well, looking like a cross between an Oribe green and a Nuka Seiji.

I’ll post pictures of some individual pieces in the next few days, but for now here are the unloading pictures:

Rain, rain, GO AWAY…. REALLY!

It has been raining cats and dogs since this morning, and we must have gotten about 8 inches in as many hours. Unreal. It is the first time the water has risen in my kiln to a level that would affect pots if they were loaded into the first chamber. In the past it has always stopped short of the front floor but today it was a couple of inches deep in the front floor area.

At least I had good weather yesterday and into early this morning for firing the gas kiln. Turned off the kiln at around 5 am (fired for 18 hours) and when I woke up at 6, it was pouring. Later in the day, I peeked into the kiln when it was still around 700C. Snapped a couple of pictures, with and w/o the flash. The first glance doesn’t look too good. Ame yu was a bit too thin, I think, but won’t know for sure until I open the kiln up completely and have a good look. One thing I am happy about is that the new clay blend I was testing seems to have stayed together nicely, no bad slumping (a little slumping, I like).

Tiny 5 artist show in Taku

The go-nin ten is a tiny 5 person show that is more of an afterthought to the annual lotus blossom viewing event that happens here in Taku. Strictly speaking, it is not much of a chance to sell pots, but it is nice to mingle with the locals and meet new people. Most people come through the area after seeing the blossoms, give the pots a sort of disinterested glance and pass right out again. The ones that do stay to look however, are a good chance at advertising my bigger show later this month. I keep a stack of mailer postcards for people to take.

There are  three other potters, and one jewelery maker exhibiting.

As we were settling in for the morning, getting ready for customers to come by, a HUGE box arrived by express carrier. This box was big, probably about 2x2x2 meters! Turned out to be the new town mascot costume. Since the town’s biggest attraction is the 300+ year old Confucian Temple, the Taku town mascot was voted to be Takuo, a big dude that looks like Confucius, a big Confucius who likes to run around and hug people a lot, and who has a fuzzy pink heart on his butt for people to rub.




Major Changes

You may or may not have noticed, but the Karatsupots blog that you are seeing now is not the one you usually see.

In my never ending struggle for money, fame, and absolute power (it’s why I became a potter after all…) I have migrated my blog from to my own Karatsupots server, and will continue to publish the blog via WordPress. I’ll have better options regarding archiving and organization, ease of update, better optimization for being seen by the search engines, etc…

Those of you who visit frequently, don’t worry, everything is secure and aside from a few cosmetic issues, fairly seamless so far.

I’ll be hammering out the remaining cosmetic issues over the next few weeks and months, and am hoping to add some options for improved usability and visibility.

Incidentally, it is not just the blog. The website and online store is also experiencing an overhaul and will be up soon, new and improved…

Boy am I sick of sitting in front of the computer though… need to get back out to the studio and make some pots!

Oh, almost forgot the eye candy. This is an Oku-Gorai chawan, and exhibits most of the characteristics treasured by tea bowl enthusiasts. Chirimenjiwa (crinkly trimmed texture), Kairagi (glaze crawling over the trimmed surface resembling plum tree bark), Yu-kire (uneven glaze spots), Yubi-Ato (finger marks in the glaze), Ishihaze (stones erupting from the clay surface).