All posts by KaratsuPots

Spice Jar Lid

I made some failed tea caddies a while back, but wanted to use them for
something, so saved them as candidates for having lids made. Thought
they might be nice as little spice jars, etc…

Finally pulled out the lathe, dusted it off and gave it a go. Used an
old piece of olive wood that I'd had laying around for a long time. Put
a little piece of rosewood on that as a handle/accent. Lid ended up
looking like a had with a feather stuck in the brim.

in Taku, Japan

Shino exp. continued…

Here are some additional shino experiments from a subsequent firing. No
added/sprinkled wood ash. Again, it's a just personal taste, but I like
the charred parts on the foot.

I'll be including some weathered chunky feldspar in the glaze mix for
the next round of tests. Hoping to get some of that sugary surface like
authentic shino.

Pics of the chawan were taken after it spent time in the 'aging tank',
which is a tannin soup, made by steeping chestnut husks in water. I
originally made this solution for dissolving the brown film from the
surface of green oribe glaze. Stinky, but safer than working with
concentrated acid.

in Taku, Japan

Ocean wave pattern

When you use the pine branch as an anvil, burning and brushing the end
grain to bring out the growth rings, this is what you will get on the
interior of your pot. This is a rather uneven example. With practice you
get a wave or fish scale effect. I often decorate the lid with the anvil
as well to mirror the interior of the pot.

I make my bats in the same way as paddles, with the burner treatment.
Then the bottoms of everything made on them reflects the nice wood
figuring. I make the bats out of cedar because pine is so pricey. Too
bad, because pine often has nicer figuring.

in Taku, Japan

Making a homemade paddle 2

After burning the paddle, take a soft brush and brush the surface clean of the carbonized matter. I use a brass brush for this, or sometimes stiff plastic. Steel is too stiff and will scrub out your hard earned texture. Use water during the brushing process, or you’ll end up looking like a coal miner after a hard days work.

When I looked at the old pots, the surfaces were sometimes pocked with odd bumps, bumps which didn’t look intenional or man made. Finally realized this could have been from wormholes in the paddle used to make the piece. Lacking access to highly trained, hungry pine beetle larvae, I used a rusty nail held in a vice grip to burn texture similar to worm holes into the surface of the paddle. Holding the vice grip away from you heat the nail until red hot with the burner, then jab and drag it into and across the paddle to create your texture. Use your imagination, have fun!

Burn and brush again to knock off the sharp edges from your texture and you’re finished! I don’t usually burn texture into the whole surface of the paddle, since different parts of the paddle can be used for different effects.

This paddle was textured with saw cuts before burning for the crosshatch design.

Making a homemade paddle

The other day I made some paddles, and took some pics of the very simple process. Paddles are easy to make, and really have a significant influence on the final look of the pot. You can buy them in various places, but what you get is fairly uninteresting compared with what you can produce on your own for next to nothing.

I first became interested in homemade paddles after looking at old Karatsu pots and pot shards. If I wanted to mimic those pots I was going to need similar tools.

In the first picture you can see the blanks to be used for the paddles. I had a pine branch laying around waiting for a chance to be useful. It is cut diagonally at about a 1″ thickness. If you cut vertically (rip), you will lose the interesting figure created by the growth rings. If you cross cut you will need a very large diameter log to cut blanks from to get the size paddle you need. Also the paddle will be very weak and easily broken. Cutting diagonally solves both problems giving you a strong paddle with interesting wood figure. This will later be reflected in the clay surface. Also, you can get a relatively large paddle from a small diameter branch.

Here are the blanks with outlines of paddles marked on them. I flare the base of the paddle handles because a tapered or straight handle tends to slip during use.

I used a benchtop bandsaw to cut the blanks out. You could use any saw really, it’s just a matter of speed.

Next get your trusty burner torch, and blacken the whole paddle. The burning will create texture in the paddle since the soft ring burn faster than the dense rings, leaving the dense rings raised. Also, it’s just fun playing with the torch, and the pine smells nice. The burning also rounds off sharp edges and corners making the paddle more comfortable to handle.

Yohen Tenmoku

Here is the magazine article that I have regarding the fellow who reproduced the yohen tenmoku effect made so famous by the old Chinese ‘Inaba’ Tenmoku bowl. I’ve just scanned the cover of the periodical, and one page of the article, leaving out the text pages.
The periodical name is すきっと (Sukitto) and the artist’s name is 林恭助 (Hayashi Kyosuke).