Category Archives: pottery

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. 



Rim carving

Spent the last two days throwing large and medium Karatsu style platters, 30-50cm size. There are two rim treatments and some fluting, which is a first for me. 

30cm platter, simple rim
30cm platter, step rim
fluted rim, special fluting tool which is actually a tool used by my great grandfather with his fruit orchards.