Tag Archives: karatsu

Quick N Dirty Tables

There are two small exhibitions coming up that require something to set pots on. Until now I’ve been lucky, showing at places that have good pot setting space. This time I need to bring my own, so I tried to think of some sort of break down table. Found a couple on the internet, but wasn’t really excited about them and tried to come up with something a little different.

For better or worse, this is what I came up with. They are made from sheets of plywood, hinges, and Douglas Fir beam cutoffs from my firewood pile. Plywood sheets are 90cm x 180cm, cut in half lengthwise to make 45cm x 180cm sections. 3 of these comprise one table. The ‘V’ shaped table body is two sections joined with hinges. A ‘V’ is cut into the beam cutoffs (with my chainsaw) to seat the table body. The table top sits on the ‘V’, I’ll attach cleats later which will prevent the top from sliding.

The reason for the hinged ‘V’ table body is that this can be opened to create a larger 90cm x 180cm table top if necessary. In this case, the 45x180cm table top will be used as a locking stretcher between two 90×90 sections of plywood used as legs. Each leg will have a 45cm slot cut into it for the stretcher to slide into, creating an ‘I’ (if viewed from above). The hinged piece can then be opened and placed on top.

Here are the table parts:

More pots

One of the things I’ve not done very much of is Japanese tableware. Well, I’ve done some, but never really had a good idea of what to make, because I had no knowledge of dish types and acceptable sizes. So, if someone liked a food dish, it was usually a very common shape and size.

Last week, my mentor lent me his 15+ volume encyclopedia of Japanese food dishes. You would not believe all of the recognized dish types and sizes, all divided into which season they would be used in. And they are all shown with full color photos of food in them, to give one an idea of how they are used. Looking through all of this just blew my mind. So much variety, but at the same time fairly specific size requirements.

Anyway, now that I have the big kiln, there is much more room for various dishes to be fired, so I’m going for it. Today, I continued the work I started yesterday, finishing out that clay with the round dishes. Today, I prepared some different clay and made some spouted bowls (actually food dishes) and some kutsugata (shoe shaped, not sure I understand origin of this term) food dishes.


Here are the pots from yesterday, trimmed. The hump wasn’t finished when I was summoned for dinner, so I left it overnight to use as a trimming chuck this morning. This clay is full of sand and not very plastic, so doesn’t stick to itself too badly if one of the surfaces is not wet.

After trimming that group, the hump could be used to throw some more pots; I think I got another 8 or 9 small plates out of it.

Like I mentioned above, this clay has a lot of fine sand wedged in, and it trims real nice. Lots of crinkles.

Making pots again

Started making pots for the wood kiln today, after spending some time making a list of what needed making, and working on some sketches and sizing.

These are the beginning of the first items on the list, I wanted to get more done but spent much of the day cleaning up the studio after the gas kiln unloading. This is a very typical Karatsu shape, and you see them from very small all the way up to very large. These are 19cm and 16cm sizes.  As you can see from the pictures most of these plates will probably get brush deco and feldspar glaze (cone 6, give or take), some others will get rice straw ash glaze (cone 11, give or take)

Here comes the flood


The concrete combined with the sump pump is doing its job admirably. I took these pictures this morning after a night of med/heavy rain (but nothing close to the storm last evening). Water has started to seep in places, and since the part in the foreground is not under cover, some rain falls right in, but that will only be a problem during firing.  Last firing there was some rain and I strung a tarp down at an angle from the cover which worked alright, if not very elegant.

Here are the pictures of everything when it is moderately wet. Water is collecting around the edges of the concrete, but even in the heavy rain yesterday, was unable to reach the top. The sump pump has activated at least once, judging from the wetness of the concrete in the sump. When the top float goes up the pump turns on, and when the bottom float goes down, the pump turns off. It takes about 25 seconds to pump the water out, MUCH faster than the previous pond pump. The sump form collapsed under the weight of the concrete so is not the oval I had planned, but looking at this pic now, the sump really resembles a fish, don’t you think. Especially with the corrugated edges where the tail would be.

I installed a tube into the concrete through which to run the pump hose and power line, so it would be hidden. There is a drain about one meter to the right of where the hose and line emerge. Once a trough is dug between the two, the hose will be almost hidden.  A trough will also prevent water from traveling along the surface toward the workshop path and kiln.

The unfortunate casualties of all this improvement are the frogs, and I am going to miss them. Hopefully they will find other low wet areas in the yard to hang out.

Non saggar stuff

Some other things from the last firing included teabowls, sign post caps, katakuchi, and a lot of hammer fodder. Been having problems with my Chosen karatsu lately, the ame-yu is not playing nicely like it should, and this firing for the first time ever, I ended up with pinholing in my regular madara-yu. This is usually a very dependable glaze for me so I am kind of mystified and perplexed. The only difference from the usual was the clay, so I’ll start diagnosing the problem from there.