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Make a Guinomi

The other day I made some guinomi and took some pics so folks can see how it’s done. I start with a ball, about 150g. Once it’s centered on the kickwheel, I start putting my open it up with my thumb by pinching. This clay is really non plastic so starts cracking at the rim right away.

I keep pinching and rotating slowly until the cup is as high as I want it.

Perhaps now would be a good time to compress the rim…

Loft/Showroom Area

Well, the loft is slowly coming together, and I finally am able to display some work for customers in something other than green plastic containers.
For the guinomi/tokkuri/katakuchi area, there is a large rusted chain I found at the beach while snorkeling last year. It’s rusted completely through and very crumbly, but just gorgeous. I rescued the old timber from a kiln’s lumber pile. Totally eaten through by worms, and still had the carpenter’s brushwork labelling. It’s pine, so probably old, but I couldn’t make out the date. I split it in half lengthwise and used half for the bottom of one of my shelves, and the other half for standing teabowls on.

Antique Nagahibachi for the loft

I found this kansai style nagahibachi at a local collectible store the other day. Got an unbelievable deal on it. It’s in beautiful condition, with the original hardware intact, and the copper sake warmer/kettle stand in the ashpit. I serve tea to customers at this table now, my coasters and tea caddy (thanks again Craig!) fit nicely into the covered compartment under the table top’s wooden section. I just happened to have a piece of glass to cover the ashpit with, how lucky! Can’t wait fill this little guy up with rice straw ash and fire it up this winter for tea (and maybe some sake too).

New Wheelside Shelf System

Here are some pics of my new shelf system for ware boards. It sits between my two wheels and is turning out to be super convenient… I drilled holes for pegs, inserted pegs, and the boards sit on these. Very simple. I can stack four wareboards on the bottom set of pegs then shift them up as they become full. 4 shelves is plenty, forces me to get up and move around every once and a while.

Here are some freshly trimmed katakuchi happily perched on their new shelves. I swear I can see those spouts turned up at the corners….

Adjusting Kiln Draft

Noticed some problems in the last firings regarding evenness of temp. I think I’ve always had them, but just recently started to take notice of them as something that needed fixing. I’d noticed that temp from top to bottom was more than a cone in difference, with the top back even hotter. I tried raising the bottom shelves a bit to get more draft moving through. This resulted in a couple of firings that were mostly throw aways. Temp was all over the place, not just top and bottom, but front to back as well. (I was getting pretty fed up at this point)

After asking around (my mentor as well as some very nice folks at the Claycraft email list), the general concensus was that I needed to reduce draft in the rear so the heat would come up front. The idea being that the kiln gets hotter where the flame flows. This ran contrary to how I’d understood this issue in the past (I was thinking in terms of heat alone, not in terms of heat as a by product of the flame, perhaps because I’ve never fired a wood kiln. In a gas kiln it is nigh impossible to view the flame movement in the kiln) but since my way of thinking wasn’t resulting in solutions to the problem, trying something new was a no brainer, especially considering the experience of the advisers in question.

I reconfigured the shelf setting configuration so that it was now divided front/back, rather than left/right. (The manufacturer set the shelves up in left/right pairs when they installed the kiln and I never thought to change.) In addition, I lowered the back pair about a centimeter lower than the front, and layed some old posts sideways between the shelf and the car at the back and sides.

I loaded the kiln leaving less space between levels on the rear setting, and packed things in a bit tighter. In front, I packed more openly and left more headroom above the ware on each level. The results were great. For the first time ever, I fired with less than one cone difference from top to bottom, and the back was actually a bit cooler than the front. A little tweaking should bring it up to match the front.

With the exception of some experiments in the top rear, just about everything is a keeper. This was my best firing ever in terms of results of firing process.

First Mugs

Here are the first mugs I have ever attempted. Don’t know why I waited so long. I’m looking forward to seeing how much they deform from the weight of the handles during firing. If I want chosen garatsu, then I can’t put them on those nifty little angled discs specifically made for handled cups, because the glaze will all run at an angle. I may try one that way anyway just to see what it looks like. Call it ‘windblown’chosen garatsu, or somesuch.
The handles are all altered from a rat tail of clay. The clay was way too open even after I added ball clay to the already plastic (comparatively)handbuilding karatsu claybody I buy from Hara Toudo. Tried to pull the handles with a little water, and got huge cracks after the second pull or so. So… I laid the rat tail on the table, flattened it a bit and shaped it with my fingers, sort of a handle pulling exercise while stuck to the table, so no cracking. The first to the last I made that day are all here in the pictures. You can probably tell which are which. : )
The next batch of cups I made with some white clay from Seto which was the medium (fine, medium, rough)roughness from that particular company. Handles pulled beautifully, even with all that grog. Sometimes I wish the karatsu clays were a bit more user friendly. The Seto clay mugs are not pictured here but I’ll put them up as soon as they get bisqued.