Warning: some Shino enthusiasts may find content in this post offensive and/or snarky.
When I was in Korea this last October, the subject of Shino came up. Shino, like Raku, Chawan, and Geisha, tends to have a different set of meanings and expectations, depending on who you are talking to (usually Japanese vs non-Japanese).
Most Shino enthusiasts in Japan get their pantaloons in a twist when they see this smooth orange, white, or carbon trapping glaze that most Americans call Shino. “Sore wa Shino janai” is a common thing to hear when showing off your American Shino to a Japanese Shino lover.
In Japan, Shino is a combination of clay, glaze, and firing method. The definition is somewhat cramped , and leaves little wiggle room. Same with Raku, Chawan, and Geisha. There is all this history and tradition hanging on at the end of the label, foiling our attempts to add new dimensions to the term.
Here’s the problem: The Shino purists are vastly outnumbered. Actually, I’m one of them (to a degree) but acknowledge that on the worldwide level, Shino means more to a whole lot of world potters and enthusiasts. I really wish the word had not been co-opted by English, but it has, so oh well…
Embracing this trend, I have decided to widen the definition of Shino even further. Here are some examples:
(I do make a ‘Shino’ glaze, but do not call it Shino for fear of reprisal.)
This is one way I make slab plates. I posted the pictures to FB but am reposting here with descriptions of each step. You can adjust the steps if your clay is more or less forgiving than mine.
First cut slabs and let them rest overnight to stiffen up some. These slabs are 10mm thick.
Place the trimmed slab bevel side down on your form and paddle it THOROUGHLY, from center to edge, then once more evenly all over. You can use whatever you want as a paddle, here I used a sandbag, but I usually use a wooden paddle.
Press the center of the slab down gently and let the edge pieces support the edge of the plate. While supporting the edge with one hand, use the other to define a concavity in the bevel with a convex tool. Anything convex and with a curve you like will work. I used a little ball here. Sometimes I use a rib, sometimes a roller, sometimes a clamshell. I like rollers and balls because they compress the edge well.