Wednesday, November 27, 2013


After loading a small test batch of work into the newly repaired kiln I punched in the firing cycle and waited to see how the freshly refinished Kiln Gods would treat me.

The outcome is a mixed bag of over exposed and passable results. The kiln's programed cycles all were wiped durring the repair, and I must not have quite gotten the down fire temperatures right for this firing. Some adjustments are in order, but we'll get it sorted.

I'm particularly happy with the sculptural form I'd been working on for some time. It's one of the biggest peices I've ever done.

These little ochoko were really fun. At the end of the day, I'm jus texstatic to be back in buisness. The kiln is finally filled with the tiles from the workshop I ran back in October. As the weather turns my mind shifts to how to keep my hands warm in the studio, and what forms I most want to work on for the comming months. In January over half the school goes on class trips for about 3 weeks, and I will have more than ample time to get my hands really muddy.

If you just can't get enough of pottery and people talking about pottery, and you'd really like to see some fantastic surface treatments check out fetishghost (a fellow blogger user and great potter). Until next time keep creating! 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Follow Up

The school is like a came. The halls are dark, and the thick cement walls hold the night's cold far longer than one would think. Fall's colors are all scattered across the hills and it's dark by 5:30 if your lucky now. It seems like winter came almost without any sense of Fall at all. Perhaps two weeks at best, but that's ok by me. Winter here is quite mild, and though the homes are not so well heated or insulated it means more hot beverages and soups. I'd take being cold over being hot any day.

I wanted to follow up on my post about the young potters I saw in Tobe with a few pictures of the more traditional Tobe Yaki look.

There is a lovely little hand made gallery just down the street from my apartment where I try to stop in once every month or so just to check what pottery and laquer ware turns up, and this month they had a real surplus of new potters. The two folks from tobe above, and a new Kochi potter. All I was able to understand from the store owner's description is that the potter was a woman who lived about 20 minutes away in Tosa and that she built everything by hand without the use of a wheel. I really love the glaze on the first tea bowl pictured.

Hoping to return to posting every Monday and Thursday now that the kiln in back on line. We'll see you soon everyone. Go CREATE!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Dream Walks and Fixed Kilns

Step by step in the quiet rain I head for temples hidden amoungst the hustle of one of Shikoku's biggest cities. Two weeks ago Steph and I checked off Matsuyama from our 88 temple trek. Along the way we stayed at the always fantastic Sen Guesthouse (seriously if you travel through Matsuyama do yourself a favor and stay there!). While there, I got to conversing with the owner about local potters. Matsuyama is home to Tobe Yaki, a place which I am sadly very under educated at the moment. The work that I associate with Tobe Yaki (as I knew it) is traditionaly a white clay body with blue designs painted under a clear glossy glaze. The owners at the Sen guest house assured me that that may be the traditional imagery, but that there is some really creative and absolutely fantastic contemporary ceramics comming out of Tobe.  

 This is a pot from Asato Ikeda, and I am absolutely in love with his forms. They're loaded with motion and energy. Appearantly the folks and Sen Guesthouse are friends of his and work to help him publisize his ceramics from time to time. I'd love to pic this guys brain, and watch his process for creating such movement within the clay. 

As some of you may know my other obsession in life is tiny houses, and I saw this little beauty cruzing down the road on the way to the Kochi Air Port for a business trip to Tokyo. Similarly to my desire to pic the brains of Tobe's youthful potters I would LOVE to spend an afternoon exploring the construction of this little movable cabin. I doubt it is used for camping or dwelling. It is owned by a bakery, but I am willing to bet it could be repurposed to be dweld within. If you asked me why I love tiny houses I don't think I could adiquately articulate my feelings in a clear enough mannor. The biggest appeal of them is that they seem doable! I have always wanted to build my own home, but have absolutely no knowledge of carpentry, construction, and only the very basest of handymanery. Constructing something tiny is a way to get around the daunting challenge of learning all of that full scale. They are also significantly easier to heat, own, make energy efficient, and leave less of an imprint on the world that surrounds us. I could go on for days about hwo freak'n cool tiny structers are and how much I want to make pottery in one, but I won't . . . because that isn't what you're here for.

You're here because you're my friend, and you are curious about my ceramics and life. Now we come to the news that you and I have been waiting for, for weeks and weeks. The kiln repair is complete! There is a bisque firing happening as we speak and Yamatogi Sensei assures me that I can do a glaze firing this weekend if all goes well. Extatic does not do my feelings justice. I have a load of my own work (mostly ochoko and a few tea bowls) to fire, and probably at least a load of tiles from the workshop I did last month during my exhibition.

Thanks for reading! If you get a chance go check out Asato's work. Keep creating.