All posts by KaratsuPots

Ramen Bowls

For some reason the last couple of days, I’ve been thinking about ramen bowls a lot. They’re another thing like the rice bowls that I thought might be good to have for the exhibition next month. They are a very basic bowl, with a tall foot and no fancy rim treatment. Wet, they are 22cm across at the rim, 9.5cm deep, and the footring is about 9cm x 2cm.

I like this style of ramen bowl, more upright and deeper. Many ramen bowl designs are wider and shallower, sometimes with no curve to the wall, just a straight shot from foot to rim. For these, I’d prefer some sort of treatment at the rim to accentuate it, but everything I tried changed the feeling of the shape too much. Something to ponder for the next batch… I’ll snag a few of these for house use, perhaps slurping up some ramen in them will help with having a ‘rim treatment epiphany’.

Rice bowls

Since I have an exhibition coming up in mid June, I’ve started working on various everyday things to sell at a lower price range. These are some rice bowls. Oddly enough, I’ve never really made rice bowls before. I think there are about 30 here, that seems to be what a run of pots usually comes to, 30 to 40.

I took a rice bowl that I like from my kitchen and measured it, added about 17%, and made my measuring stick (tonbo) for the pot’s width and depth. Even with a gauge such as this to keep every pot within a certain width and height, I always marvel at the profile variation you get within these two parameters, even when using a fairly precise tool like the cows tongue rib. I’m having less trouble these days getting a more uniform profile among pieces, but what still gives me fits is trying to make a light pot that is strong visually. Especially with rice bowls, you want a strong foot and rim because they’ll be used heavily, but because people spend so much time holding them, you don’t want them to be heavy overall, or unbalanced with a heavy foot and light upper half.

One of the reasons my teacher’s bowls are such a pleasure to hold, I realized one day, was that they are well balanced. Even with the tall foot of the Ido shape, his bowls turn in the hands nicely, without the foot trying to sink in your grip. This is one of those things that most people aren’t aware of, but notice unconsciously in mature well made pots. One other characteristic of his pots that I aspire to is not visible in the finished product, but one notices as a potter when they are being made, and that is: he has very very few trimmings even from a large run of pots. The shape has been well planned and executed on the wheel, so that almost no trimming is necessary, and the bulk of the trimmings come from inside the footrings of the pots. Very little waste.

Nothing to do but practice…

Nice Weather

Have been spending the last couple of days in the garden getting some much needed work done. It was nice out yesterday, warm but not hot, and sunny with a cool breeze. After we finished prepping the ground and laying out sod, I noticed this little guy sitting on some flower leaves under one of the cherry trees. They’ve been  everywhere lately, on anything green or wet and shady. Perhaps it’s some wierd fetish of mine or something, but I think they’re just  about the cutest little creatures.

Last spring, when I had a friend over, we were out on the deck late into the evening, finishing off a nice sake, when one of these little green guys came up from under the deck to go after the bugs attracted to the deck lights. He would wander around a bit getting the lay of the land, then one by one, he’d focus on a single bug, stalk it, and pounce. Never missed one. We sat there and watched him for almost an hour, fascinated. He spent half the time vertical, on the sliding glass door, pouncing in all directions, and never fell (him, not us).

Anyway, here’s a picture of the frog, a volunteer flower in the walk path, and some of the bees having a good time with the lavender.

Accepted to Korean Show

Good news recently: got accepted to the foreign potters exhibition at the annual Gangjin Celadon Festival. They selected 20 people to participate in the show. I have no idea how many people applied for acceptance, but I’m hoping it was more than 20….

Here are the pictures of work that I submitted. I recently bought the gradient and am very happy with it. The lighting are standard 500W halogen shoplights with thin foam sheets (think thin foam material for wrapping pots and glasses during moves) dangling in front, as diffusion screens. Sony camera is set to ‘One Set’ (hold up a white sheet of paper under the lights and take a reading to calibrate white balance) WB, and shutter is set to ISO priority mode. Setting this camera to ISO priority mode did the most to keep the pics clean while maintaining good color.

One more jar

Just finished this one this morning. Started it yesterday, but the shoulder needed time to firm up before finishing the neck and lip. It started raining cats and dogs yesterday, so it wasn’t in danger of drying out too much. The kiln hole is full enough now to have a nice morning swim…

This jar ended up at about 48 inches tall and about 5.2kg. Both those numbers will shrink quite a bit as it dries.  It’s bigger than the onggi style pot I did and is about half the weight. I think that says more about my ability to make onggi pots than the onggi technique itself, though. Oh well, practice, practice….

All the jars so far, side by side

All the jars so far, side by side, with their hats on (if the mouth is not covered, sometimes it shrinks too fast and stress cracks appear around the base.) After they have firmed up enough to turn over, I’ll do that and let them dry completely.