Tag Archives: 唐津焼

Going with the flow

The last slab of the bunch is the biggest at about 10kg/25lbs. I wanted an ocean motif and started out with ideas for iron brush decoration of waves and ocean birds, with a clear feldspar glaze. Somewhere along the way it changed into two opposing wave patterns, one stamped and the other carved.

The pattern is identical, but the exterior wave pattern was made with my paddle, carved with a wave pattern and used like a bench chisel, placing it on the clay and tapping it with a mallet to create a repeating pattern. The center wave pattern is the same as what is carved into the paddle, but varies more because it follows the changing width of the center swath.

If I can get this one to dry without cracking, it should take the firing ok. It will be glazed in either a white ash glaze or a green ash glaze. A nice runny ash glaze should fill in the texture and accentuate the pattern nicely.

tabula rasa. I haven't decided what to do with this yet. It is double the size of the others, 10kg of clay.
tabula rasa. I haven’t decided what to do with this yet. It is double the size of the others, 10kg of clay.
stamped pattern finished, pattern for carving drawn in.
stamped pattern finished, pattern for carving drawn in.
Carving finished
Carving finished
detail
detail
Edge treatment finished
Edge treatment finished
Detail
Detail
detail
detail

 

Slabfest

Sorry to everyone for the lack of posting lately, particularly pictures of results from the last firing. I’ve been taking photos, but keep having to scrap them because the color is all over the place. When I did the remodel of the workshop it totally screwed up the ambient light on the 2nd floor. That, combined with me moving my photo setup downstairs, and my white balance is completely out of whack. So, I will post finished work when I get that all sorted out. It’s looking like I’ll have to move the photo setup back upstairs and go back to dedicated lighting of one type only (at this point all you photographers are thinking “no shit, Sherlock”, no doubt.)

Anyway… back to the slabfest thing. After finishing a lot of pots for a wedding order, I started thinking about slabs, and the fact that I finally figured out how to make them without having them all crack during either drying and/or firing. So this next firing will include thicker and larger slab plates,  and also one experimental interlocking slab wall hanging that will be about 5 ft. tall.

Lately, all my slabs are made by slapping a piece of clay out on the floor until it is the desired thickness. After that, I get them onto a board and paddle the bejeezus out of them. Lastly, the edges get compressed with a damp chamois. On one of my dog walks a couple of years ago, I found an old rusty sickle which I hammered into a curve and now use to facet and flute different pieces. It also works great on these slabs.

smaller slabs all finished and now drying
smaller slabs all finished and now drying

 

edge detail. gouged with a piece of rough pine and smoothed over with a chamois and hands.
edge detail. gouged with a piece of rough pine and smoothed over with a chamois and hands.

IMG00452

surface carved to look like tortoiseshell bamboo.
surface carved to look like tortoiseshell bamboo.
simple fluting
simple fluting

These three do not have raised edges, since they are meant to be a wall hanging.

one of three interlocking slabs.
one of three interlocking slabs.
they will be held together with wooden butterfly keys
they will be held together with wooden butterfly keys
all three will have iron underglaze brush decoration with traditional motifs.
all three will have iron underglaze brush decoration with traditional motifs.
36cm square slab, same size as the others above. This one will be for food, so the edges are raised, and smoothed.
36cm square slab, same size as the others above. This one will be for food, so the edges are raised, and smoothed.
detail of rim and fluted surface
detail of rim and fluted surface
tabula rasa. I haven't decided what to do with this yet. It is double the size of the others, 10kg of clay.
tabula rasa. I haven’t decided what to do with this yet. It is double the size of the others, 10kg of clay.

 

The new improved second floor

I like the floor addition so much that I decided to fill the space in completely. It was a quick project and gives us much more space to use upstairs. We now have a place for guests to sleep, although there is still no hot water or toilet in the studio. Still, moving in the right direction. There is room enough to sleep 6 people easily in the studio now.

One problem: all of the lighting is attached to the upper beams, so the floor effectively blocks all light to the 1st floor. Some re-wiring will be done to add lighting to the first floor. I’d prefer to put in brighter lighting downstairs for working, and soft lighting upstairs for entertaining guests, with spot lights added for displayed work.

Oh, and padding  for the upper beams, now that they are within forehead striking distance…

catwalk removed, and top of ware storage area torn out.
catwalk removed, and top of ware storage area torn out, beam in place.
beam added, and joists in place.
joists in place.
floor boards going on.
floor boards going on.
floor boards all done. it's DARK down here now!
floor boards all done. it’s DARK down here now!
view from the stairs to the storage area behind the curtain.
view from the stairs to the storage area behind the curtain.
view toward the stairs and display shelves previously over the catwalk.
view toward the stairs and display shelves previously over the catwalk.

The heavy table

I made this table about 5-6 years ago with the intent of using it with guests downstairs in the studio, but as things filled the space I never had a place for it, and it ended up under the staircase for the duration. It had literally never been used  for its originally intended purpose and gathered dust. Until a few days ago when I started rearranging the studio. Now with the stairs out of the way, it is out, clean, and ready for action. I scrubbed off 6 years of dust and crud this morning and started thinking about how best to use it.

If you haven’t noticed already, this is a huge grindstone (one of a pair I acquired), and it must weigh at least 200kg. Somehow I was able to get it up on that railroad tie frame with the heavy duty casters underneath so it can be moved. The current top is actually the bottom, and the actual top is slanted, so one side is propped up on two short kiln stilts so the table top is level. The grooves are close enough together that cups can sit without wobbling or falling over.

It occurred to me that the depression in the center would make a good improvised receptacle for tea goodies, and a garbage can could go under the hole for waste disposal. One other suggestion was to place a bamboo section in the whole as a small waste basket. One of the railroad ties partially overlaps the bottom of the hole, so the bamboo doesn’t fall through.

The freshly scrubbed table, about 80cm/32in in diameter.
The freshly scrubbed table, about 80cm/32in in diameter.
table surface detail
table surface detail
Fresh section of bamboo cut for the waste basket.
Fresh section of bamboo cut for the waste basket.
goodies, with wrapper disposal in place.
goodies, with wrapper disposal in place.
Mmmmm. Nice steamy tea on a cold morning...
Mmmmm. Nice steamy tea on a cold morning…

Snagged a new wheel!

I managed to get my hands on a used wheel, cheap. It is a gigantic banding wheel: wheel head is 50cm across and the whole thing assembled weighs 60kg. It looks like it might have been someone’s homemade wheel, made from acquired parts and put together.

It is an oddly constructed wheel, no bearings at all. The top of the shaft accommodates  a pin in the wheel head like my kickwheel, but there is no bearing in the bottom, just tapered sleeve on the shaft that engages the bottom of the wheelhead shaft, heavily greased. It requires a very fine setting of the tapered sleeve. Engage it too much and the wheel doesn’t turn well, not enough and there is a waggle in the wheel.

It arrived pretty rusty and dirty, looks like it saw a lot of use at some point, then got left in a corner somewhere for a few years. I got a wire brush disc for my angle grinder and spent quite a while getting the accumulation of clay, gunk, paint, and rust off.

Removable wheel head shaft
Removable wheel head shaft
Base shaft
Base shaft
wheel head
wheel head
tapered sleeve
tapered sleeve
The whole shebang, still dirty.
The whole shebang, still dirty.
wheel head assembly oiled and ready.
wheel head assembly oiled and ready.

Finally got the wheel head assembly cleaned up and oiled, and with some experimentation found the ‘sweet spot’ for the tapered sleeve when engaging the wheel head shaft, and the wheel spins quite nicely. Click on the link below to see it spin:
Wheel spin test

My plan for this wheel is to weld arms to the base of the wheel head shaft and mount a wooden fly wheel, and add a wooden wheel head onto the current steel wheel head. The resulting kickwheel should be great for onggi style coil and paddle work.

Remodeling the studio

It has become increasingly obvious over the last year or two that a major remodeling of the studio was going to be necessary. As output has increased and work habits have changed, and the fact that I want to put in a wood burning stove for winter heating, changing the configuration of the studio has become unavoidable. I’d been putting it off for a long time because it is going interrupt, but I last week it finally reached critical mass and I decided to bite the bullet and get to work. So…

First order of business is to get the stairs into a more manageable place, and add some floor space to the second floor. Here is a series of photos of the project:

Start. Gotta get the stairs out of the way, remove the visible section of floor, and remove the shelving underneath.
Start. Gotta get the stairs out of the way, remove the visible section of floor, and remove the shelving underneath.
Stairs and floor removed
Stairs removed, floor next.
Shelving gone.
Shelving and floor gone.

Interesting note here: when I removed the floor and started taking things off the shelf so I could dismantle it, I found my studfinder that I’d been searching for since, well since I put in that floor section 4 or 5 years ago. I looked everywhere for that thing!

Bottom shelf/clay storage gone.
Bottom shelf/clay storage gone.

I’ll still need to remove and redo the shelving at left, but for now just removed enough to get this project accomplished. Baby steps…

Post secured, main beam laid over the top.
Post secured, main beam laid over the top.
Oops, very heavy stairs on the wrong side of the beam.
Oops, very heavy stairs on the wrong side of the beam.

The ‘beam’ is actually two 4.5 cm thick boards screwed together. In my rush to get the beam in place, I forgot to move the stairs to a place within the work area. Doh!  Stairs 1, Homo Sapiens Sapiens 0.  But it all worked out ok, I threw the rope over the newly placed beam and used it to lower the stairs to the ground, then slid them over near to their final resting place, without destroying any discs in my back. Yes! Stairs 1, Homo Sapiens Sapiens 1. Take that, stairs!

Stairs on correct side of beam, cross supports almost in.
Stairs on correct side of beam, cross supports almost in.

This is my first project where I have discovered the forbidden delights of the Simpson Strong-Tie. I’d seen them before in the States, but only recently in Japan, and only at one of the home improvement stores. They saved me all kinds of time, since I didn’t have to cut all the joints for the floor joists, and as an added bonus, they’re cheap.

Floor boards almost done.
Floor boards almost done.

I secured all of the floor boards from below, so there are no screws or screw holes visible on the floor surface, and no need for wood plugs or putty.

Floor boards done, stairs back in place.
Floor boards done, stairs back in place.

As you can see, the stairs come awful close to the remaining shelving at left, but they are accessible. Moving the shelving is on the to-do list. Still, looking good from here…

The view coming up the stairs.
The view coming up the stairs.

Nice expanse of natural wood with no nails or screws visible.

Staring down the floorboards.
Staring down the floorboards.
The view of the stairs from the far corner. All done.
The view of the stairs from the far corner. All done.

All finished. This is the view from the doorway side of the shop looking back toward the stairs. The original part of the second floor at left. Stairs are up against the wall, and the studio already feels roomier.