All posts by KaratsuPots

It is a cruel fact of life that the cooler the kiln gets, the slower it cools. Back when I started making pots, I could never wait to open the kiln, that feeling of anticipation just unbearable. I figured that would abate over time, but if anything it has gotten worse! This kiln is bad too, very well insulated. It may be cool enough to unload by tomorrow evening.

from Instagram:

Brushwork all done, 110 of each. When doing even this many of one thing, I’m like a spoiled kid. Somewhere in the middle I inevitably think “hhhhaaaa….I’m bored”. Then adult Mike reminds little Mike that this is a really great chance to practice and to keep his head in the game. Which always brings me back to this thought: “I get to make pots for a living, how unbelievably awesome is that?!”

from Instagram:

Some brush deco for spring

These are some of the new patterns I’m playing with for the spring firing. There is much inspiration to be had from old Shino and Oribe work. 

Many people don’t realize there was a great deal of cross pollination between Karatsu and Oribe in particular. There is also evidence that Furuta Oribe came to Taku at one point: one historical document mentions his name, and there are shards from the ruins of Taku Koraidani kiln that show very ‘Oribe-ish’ decoration, as well as most of a kutsugata bowl which is quite obviously made for tea ceremony. 

Last year I bid on a small old Shino piece being auctioned (I bid about ¥12000, and didn’t win. The winning bid was ¥52000) the reason I wanted it was that it had a wisteria decoration on it that was virtually identical to some of the Taku Koraidani shards.   

Rice plants and horse tails are both representative of Karatsu brush deco.     
The birds separated by a line bisecting the dish is a typical motif in the Taku pot shards.  

Below is one of the pieces that I’ve started experimenting with this year. I really like Japanese brushwork but I don’t have the decades to study it for my pottery, and I’d feel bad doing a crappy job of it. I decided to try writing English with a brush, with little regard for the shape of the letters, rather letting the flow of the patterns emerge with soft, quick uninterrupted strokes. It’s intended to be gestural more than anything else, since it is quite difficult to read even if you know what it says. It has been a big hit with customers so far, and many people have thought it was Japanese script. 

This cup says: “Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” It’s a quote by 11th century mathematician and poet Omar Khayyam. This is actually more legible than some of the other pieces I’ve done.