Tuesday, July 31, 2012
I'm going to try and be as unbiased on this piece as possible, but I may wavery between hyper critical, and overly lovey dove-y with this piece. This piece I actually made the form of on my very first day of ceramics class, but actually makes a decent chawan. It is pinch-work with a coil foot. Sadly its quite wonky even for a pinchwork piece, due in part to the clay still being quite wet and weak when I attached the foot, so one side of the bowl is drooping.
The glazing of this piece was a huge lesson in how unpredictable glazing can be. I call this Chawan my Painted teabowl, because the effect is it looks almost painted ( not in any particular design, but just painted, with earthy colors). I had actually imagined a far more edgy piece, that had huge contrast, between white, black and dark green. But as I am sure the experienced potters (if there are any) that read this blog, will subtly laugh at my intent while reading this, but for the most part I was treating glazing more like painting as in, whats on top is what will be seen. I by no means considered that yes this when it is fired melts substantially then hardens again into basically a glass on the surface of the piece.
So the glazing of this piece, as I wanted that very bright white background, and looking at the test tiles, one coat did not look as white as I wished. So I did two dips into the white glaze, then took a calligraphy brush, and did subtle brush strokes of Tenmoku on opposite sides, and Oribe on the other two sides. Tenmoku of course being a black glaze, and Oribe being a dark vibrant green. Well I can understand what the Tenmoku did, as I only did a single brush stroke, and brushing glaze onto a piece does not apply it incredibly thick, and tenmoku when applied thin tends to be a browner glaze. The Oribe though still throws me for a loop, somehow the thin layer combining with the white glaze turned purple, but even more so developed a texture different from the rest of the piece.
This piece actually handled its first bowl of matcha surprisingly well. While it will by no means become a regular teabowl that I use, in part because the drooping around the outside of the foot, caused a rim around the outside of the piece in which the liquid settles, and is actually somewhat hard to completely drain from the piece.
All in all I think it's a great first usable piece made by me. While it is far from the look I was going for, it developed a rather rustic look, with a color palate similar to some pottery I have seen from the western United States, mainly in the Rocky Mountain, or Southwest region.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
I really wanted to title this post "My First Hagi Chawan" or "My First High Quality Chawan" but both would be wrong, but somehow this chawan sticks in my mind that way, perhaps because I finally got a chawan in the style of one of the very first Hagi chawans I first lusted over. It is a bowl in the style that my friend likes to call the "Frosted Gingerbread cookie" pottery.
First and foremost I think I need to remark on how big this chawan is, and quite a few artisans are known for huge chawans, some of which I think border on impractical to use, but I started out using chawans on the smaller side of the spectrum. To give an idea of the scale, I have two other Deishi pieces in a similar glaze, of various sizes.
I have a third photo like the second one but taken more from the side. But all that really shows is that even when they are nested like that, the rims of all the pieces are all level, if not the inner two lie below the chawan lid. But to give an idea of sizes, the smallest piece, a guinomi, holds about 60ml or 2 oz, while the medium sized piece is a nice sized cup for tea holding 7-8 ounces easily. As you can tell these fit inside quite easily with a bit of room to share for the chawan. I never measured the volume of the chawan, as it really doesn't matter, as when using it you never make use of the entire volume of the chawan.
This piece does have its flaws. for one I find it almost uncomfortable to drink out of, as the rim seems to thick and blocky, with almost squared off edges, as opposed to a smoother and gentler rounded edge. It is slightly heavy, but I almost find that comforting, but I am a rather large person myself, and I tend to go with larger ceramics pieces to match my own size.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
I have been remiss in posting lately, and I have had this little cup for over a month now, which I purchased before I learned that the artist is the teacher, and operator of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts anagama kiln. The outside of this piece shows remarkably well how much wood ash can accumulate on a piece during wood firing. As the only glaze on this piece is a Shino on the interior to help make it food safe. The entire "glaze" on the outside consists solely of deposits from the wood ash, which on one side creates a very thick and glass like surface, and on the other side a very thin layer, that feels almost pock marked, with little hills and valleys.
If there is one thing that absolutely fascinates me about pottery, but I have never seen any well documented guidelines regarding, would be the thermal properties of pottery pieces. This piece, feeling of average thickness, and sort of glazed is an incredible finger burner when holding near boiling liquids. But besides that the large smooth graceful curls working their way up the sides are great, and add a very funny comfortable texture to the piece.
Julie makes quite a variety of wonderful wood fired pieces, while I do not think she has an outlet to sell online, her website is http://www.newgrangepottery.com/ .