Category Archives: pottery

Cups, Plates, Small Group Show

I’ve spent the better part of the last week working on a wedding gift order. In Japan, the guests give the marrying couple cash, and the couple gives their guests presents.

Here are the yunomi and small plates for the bride. The yunomi were altered, carved, then given a slip deco, the plates given iron brush deco ( irises with grass and birds), and they are all going in the bisque this weekend.

freshly thrown cups
altered from the inside, 5 points
various stages of drying and carving
trimming tools: band steel and pine rib, sharpened
faceting with wooden knife
faceting finished
carved detail
carved cups
finished slipping the cups
slipped cups, closer up.


brush deco detail
kiln dog
plate deco finished!

There is a small artist show at the house and garden of another potter here in town. I have a small space there for the next 3 days. Quite to my surprise, there were many guests on the first day, and I even made some sales, though I wasn(t really expecting to.


more of my stuff.
some of my stuff
some of my little plates, and Haniwa dolls from another potter.
Outside at the show, nice weather for spending some time in the garden

Saving space

When I built the studio I thought that 10×4 meters would be plenty but it filled up faster than I would have imagined. A white board that I picked up at Costco some time back was just gathering dust because I couldn’t find a good place for it, but finally the light bulb went on and now the whiteboard issue is resolved.

Since the ceiling is low here it is quite easy to reach up and make notes, and I have a new appreciation for magnetic markers and erasers!

We fired up the wood pizza oven on Saturday night, our first fall firing, with around twenty guests over the course of 9 hours, from two pm to past eleven pm. Four batches of dough in all (a new record), pesto, curry, seafood, teriyaki chicken, tuna n mayo (tuna mayo pizza with wasabi is awesome, go figure!), bacon and sausage, and yes, even dessert pizza with marshmallows, chocolate, and bananas.
One of the guests is a calligraphy artist, and he brought his brushes for a small calligraphy demo, which was very interesting. He did my studio name in two different styles, and I am really split on which I like best. Both are just fantastic.

Perhaps I can convince him to do the same thing in iron deco on some clay tiles next time he comes over to visit…

-Posted from iMike

New pots and clay

Last night I spent a significant amount of time writing this post, only to lose it all with a slip of the fingers. Here goes again…

I finally had a chance to sit down and make pots with one of the batches of clay that was mixed, de-aired and pugged using the Peter Pugger. This particular batch is a prime example of why I bought the PP in the first place: to mix clay bodies that would be otherwise near impossible to wedge by hand. The main ingredient in the clay body is the clay that came out of the hole that I excavated when building my wood kiln, a cone 5-6 clay that is quite short and sandy. The PP makes a 20kg batch, so I mixed 12kg of kiln hole clay with 7kg of crushed sandstone, and added water to taste.

Now, the great thing about this is that I didn’t have to prepare the clay for the mixer, just dumped in 12kg of dry chunks, dry sand, water, and flipped the switch. After letting it mix for about 25 minutes, I turned on the vacuum pump, and then pugged out some of the clay, fed it back in, mixed a few minutes more, then pugged out all of it. Even after de-airing, it tore pretty badly as it exited the nozzle, but it held together enough for some light wedging to make a hump for throwing.

It is almost unbelievable for me to get a workable clay body in such a short time. Without the machine it would have taken me hours and hours of work, crushing, slaking, drying, wedging, etc… The biggest difference is that this particular body would have been nigh impossible to wedge by hand, all the sand in the clay plus the added sandstone just makes it all crumble in your hands. I believe that the de-airing gives it just enough added ‘stick’ to make it workable.

Here is some of the work that came from the batch, mostly yunomi and teabowls:

Tsutsu chawan and guinomi

Foot detail





Foot detail

-Posted from iMike

Location:Takumachi Nishinoharu-Chōme,Taku,Japan

Chabana Exhibit in Fukuoka

Yesterday I had the chance to visit a Chabana exhibit with my cousin and his fiancé. I have always liked the aesthetic of Chabana, but have never had the chance to see so many at once.


Posted from iMike


I got my hands on some nifty epoxy putty called Apoxie that has simplified pot repair for me. It behaves like clay, has along working time, and doesn’t shrink. After the hole or crack is filled and sanded down, I go over the crack with Cashew Lacquer and sprinkle gold powder, or just mix the powder in to the lacquer and thin, then paint on. The hardest part for me is getting a nice thin even line. Here are pictures of two pieces, a bowl and a small sculptural piece.

I’ll make a wooden base for the sculpture, along the lines of what you might expect from a suiseki piece.

-Posted from iMike