Category Archives: pottery

Overglaze tests with iron pigment

Here is the original test cup (r), and one pulled from the last firing (l). The first cup was refired to cone 5, the second to cone 6. I was worried with the extra heat that the overglaze brushwork would bleed or run, but it didn’t.  
One thing I like about this overglaze deco is that it allows me a ‘second chance’ for decoration when refiring this kind of work. The other is that it allows for finer detail showing up in the final product. Underglaze iron tends to get absorbed into the glaze and/or clay body, so the finest lines become obscured or transparent.

PINCHING BALLS…

…is one of my favorite ways to make cups. 

Often, during a cycle of making new pots I’ll end up stuck. New design ideas don’t pan out, or I dont have the techinical skill to make what I want. 

Rather than sit suspended in frustration, I’ve found it is useful do something familiar for a day or two. This usually clears my mind for fresh ideas, because I don’t need to concentrate so hard on familiar processes. Even better, I have something to show for a days work. 

Pinching balls into cups and bowls was the first thing I learned from my mentor, and these things are still some of my best sellers.  The process is simple and efficient, and can be easy or difficult depending on the clay. 

Getting ready for Yakimon Matsuri

This Golden Week (4/28 – 5/6) is the 6th annual pottery festival in Karatsu. It is always fun to show and sell, but getting ready can be a pretty busy time. 

This year I want to show some new designs, items I’ve never made before and/or sizes I don’t normally make. I’ve made some pedestal platters, coffee droppers, and a style of tokkuri that was popular at a show this last fall.  The general theme will revolve around rim carving and brush decoration of shrimp, and English letters written to look like Japanese kana script. 

Many people tend to think that Japanese dishes are small and numerous, and this is not incorrect, but for home use a popular size is a bit larger, around 7-8 inches (7 sun) or even a bit larger. I find that dishes this size get the most use around our house as well. 

Here’s the damage from this afternoon:

Carved rims
Waiting to be carved
Various 24cm plates
Shrimp chopstick rests

1.3kg Bowls

Something I’d been putting off lately was making larger work, but i decidied it was time to warm up to it, so threw these the other morning. Figuring I could kill two birds at the same time, I made half into grinding mortars, and half as noodle bowls. These all came to 26cm wide wet, and have already shrunk down to 24cm, not even dry yet. After they are dry, I’ll knock off all the crumbs from the comb marks. If you do it wet, it turns into a lumpy mess. 

Next I’ll move up to 2kg bowls, then 3. 

Fall firing 2016

Open comments and notes

Front came out beautifully, mid stack as well, rear a little cool. Very top of front, mid, and rear were cold. Shelf config caused this, I think, because of the large shelves being close together, creating strata in the heat gradient. The very front shelf with guinomi and chawan was the main culprit, blocking the flame from rising, and directing it under the large shelves placed midway up the front stack. 

In the future I need to stagger the shelf levels during stacking, to allow the flame to travel upward.  Also, block some of the floor level flue channels at the rear of the chamber. Make sure upper flues are fully open. 

Front cones are 9, 10, 11, 12 Orton.