Sunday, February 26, 2012

Flat batteries.

I've spent the week trying to get my camera to work.
Camera kept saying "charge" and I had just charged it, and charged it again and again. So Yesterday I ordered a new battery. Guess what; last night I decided to disconnect the charger lead and insert again with full force and try one last time. Today my camera is working without incident.
Guess I'll have a spare battery now.
Pity I can't find the energy to work in my hot (29°C) studio.

The bowl in the image is one of many I made this last week. Will be bisqued tonight.
Am enjoying throwing at the moment (when the studio is cool enough); not so happy with my range of glazes though. Think I'll work on a dry white outer glaze over the next few weeks.

*blogspot have changed the post "compose" layout. I hope they don't start to change things as often as Facebook.
Where do I put the "tags".
Found it. It's now under "labels" though I like its new suggestion list.
Now what do I click to "publish".

Eek! I have to manually change the font colour now. 
Seems default is now black. And black on black does not work so well.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Trim free bowl.

Yesterday I made some bowls from a stoneware clay. As I was doing this as apposed to throwing it out, I decided to experiment. I decided to make some mixing bowls; and to make them with the least amount of work; and the least amount of water.
I have a direct drive wheel that has a keypad that allows me to dial in  the speed. So from stopped through just going and all the way to propelling the clay off the wheel. I've found that at a rather slow speed I don't need to keep dowsing the clay with water. In fact, I only need water for centering, coning up/down and first pull. Then it's just a matter of making sure the dampness of the clay is consistent/even. The only other steps I need water for are leathering the rim and sliding the bowl of the wheel head at the end. Also with a slow consistent speed it's like using a kick wheel, and so gives you the ability to really pull the clay around and even throw it off centre like a wabi sabi or tea ceremony vessel.
To minimise the work, I've basically eliminated trimming, by shaping the foot with a curved stick end as the last step of throwing.
I've trimmed the inside of the foot so that it sits properly. I used the scoop part of a bamboo wooden spoon.
When leather hard I just thumbed the foot to close the open clay.

Added: 26/02/2012

Distorting the bowl and photo. Somewhat interesting result.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Vietnamese Ceramics: A Separate Tradition.

"The evolution of Vietnamese ceramics parallels the course of Vietnamese history, reflecting how people lived and how they related to neighbouring cultures. The vocabulary of ceramic shapes, glazes, and decorative motifs allows us to read the development of a culture that now has little remaining in the way of physical artefacts by which to trace its history.

The Chinese potter aimed for and frequently achieved perfect technique, characterised, for example, by the colossal and almost mechanist productions of the Longquan and Jingdezhen kilns. The Japanese tradition may be characterised by its consciousness of accidentally achieved beauty. The aesthetic appeal of Vietnamese ceramics, which combine informality with great technical skill, lies somewhere in between these two extremes.

It is the interface between art and technology that gives ceramics their flavour. Yanagai Soetsu, founder of the Mingei movement in Japan, was awed by the beauty achieved so casually by Korean potters. He wrote of the unconcerned manner in which a Korean would set up his wheel. If the wheel was slightly off-true, the potter would compensate in a very skilled way. Nevertheless, the results would probably not be straightened the potter simply would not care. The imperfections resulting from such an attitude can give great vigour to a vessel, yet they cannot be calculated, or the piece loses its quality of spontaneity.

It is this same serendipitous combination of spontaneity with technical excellence that makes Vietnamese ceramics so attractive.

The combination of skilled potting, rigorous shape, casual finish, free and calligraphic painting, and accidental glaze effects # all features typical of Vietnamese ceramic tradition # is powerful indeed. Perhaps the son of the former head of the Hue museum may be allowed to characterise the freedom and individualism of the Vietnamese ceramic tradition: "Chinese pottery is good for the eye; Vietnamese pottery is good for the heart."

The evolution of the ceramics of northern Vietnam over the last two thousand years reflects the links between a culture's artistic expression and its socioeconomic and geopolitical environments.

Editor's Note:

This above text is a very short and incomplete excerpt from a wonderful... book which is the first definitive study of the Vietnamese ceramic tradition in any language."

Vietnamese Ceramics by John Stevenson and John Guy, Art Media Resources, Ltd., Chicago, 1997.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

White bowl.

A bowl with character. Not too much, just enough.
Getting the throw line just right. The transition from foot to bowl, then the rim. I find the rim to be the tricky part at the moment.
Then there's the glaze. You think a white glaze would be quite simple. Just a gloss with a heap of tin. Sure, that's a white glaze, but dead. I like a glaze that you can look into. So just enough tin or zircon to opacify, but still give a rich white.
I'm tending to like a sloppy glazing finish at the moment. Complete with marks from where I held its foot when dipping in the raw wet glaze. A thicker run spot adds character too I think.
So a simple white bowl with character is not all that simple to make.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Square platters.

It's February already...
I didn't realise it was way back in December that I last posted until my Brother surprisingly said "it's been a while since your last post" I didn't even think he took an interest. So I've made a special effort just for you Charlie.
Hope your flight back to Denmark was hastle free. I bet your feeling the cold after spending Summer on the beach in Australia.