Tag Archives: karatsupots

Starting brush deco

Still working on making pots in between a sudden flurry of activities I hadn’t planned on. Isn’t that how it always works?  The pots from last week are all dry and ready to be glazed, so I’m in the middle of doing the underglaze deco on them. Hopefully I can finish that up and get them all glazed tomorrow. Then start loading the kiln with them to free up shelf space for more pots.

In the pictures today are some larger versions of the small ovals from last week. The top two ware boards are medium sized ovals thrown off of the hump. The lower shelf is ovals made from individual 2kg balls. The big round one was a 3kg ball, and is about 34cm in diameter. The decorated pots are the round dishes, and the shoe shaped (kutsugata) dishes. They will all be glazed while green and once fired.

Still trying to figure out how to draw a good bird, and had fun experimenting with the various brush strokes for making the wings and body. So many variations for all the body parts. Tried very hard to do all of the strokes as quickly as possible, to keep them looking fresh. Far from being skilled at this yet, but feel that I have taken a step or two in the right direction.

A Nice Belgian

I sat down this evening with my last bottle of St.Feuillien Tripel. I had been saving it for a special occasion and in this case it was finding a wonderful hand blown beer glass.

This last weekend was one of the kurabiraki (open to the public) of Amabuki Sake Brewery in Miyaki Cho, Fukuoka. They do it twice a year, once in fall and once in winter. They invite a line up of artists of various flavors and open the whole compound to guests. The old buildings are magnificent, with the main brewing building at the center of everything. It was restored a few years back and the original timbers are breathtaking. The roof beams of this huge building are pine beams almost two feet in diameter. You can sit on the wide natural wood planks of the second floor and look up to their red/brown patina as you knock back a nice cup of chilled sake. I took my camera all three days of the show, and all three days forgot to take pictures. Doh!

One of the artists this time was glass blower, Akiko Maeda, who makes really nice work. Simple, warm, and organic, much more appealing than the standard fare which I usually find to be cold and .. well.. ‘glassy’.
She was gracious enough to trade me two of her cups for two of my bowls, I think we each thought we got the better deal, so it worked out great.

The St. Feuillien was delicious, by the way….

Shelf space and more food dishes

With the wood kiln and trying to fill it, there is not nearly enough shelf space (or ware boards) in the studio. My neighbor has a small grove of bamboo up the hill, and gave me permission to cut down a few for building a ware board frame. Here in the pictures it is mostly finished, but still needs about 2 more tiers added higher up.

I moved most of the new pots out here, and it freed up all kinds of space in the studio, but there is still a shortage of ware boards. Cheap plywood is still about $10 per sheet, but it looks like I’ll have to bite the bullet and buy some soon.

The oval dishes are the next run of food dishes. They look really good with Chosen Karatsu glazing, and also with iron brush deco under a feldspar glaze. The clay is a new one I’m experimenting with, bought from a clay specialist, but after trimming these I don’t think I’ll use this again, at least unaltered. Wedging in some sand might perk things up a bit, but the basic clay body is pretty boring by itself. We’ll see, it might have really great color in the wood kiln and that makes up for a lot.

I had a lump of left over sandy clay that I wedged in near the end of the run. From the looks of some of the trimmed feet, I could have done a better job…

Quick Tables II

The other day I posted pics of  a low table I designed for easy breakdown/setup and transport. Here is the tall version of that table. It uses the parts from the low table, the low table top as the high stretcher and the low stretcher as the high table top. 60 x 90cm leg pieces were added from another sheet of plywood.

After assembling, the table is quite stable, though it does rock a bit because of the plywood thickness. In spite of the rocking, it is very hard to unbalance.

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.