Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's been too Long!!!

Spring at the studio! Cherry blossoms are blooming along with other flowers.

It has officially been way too long since I have last posted. My graduate school essays and applications are all done with so I can finally focus on pottery again. I have skipped out on lots of time slots so not much has been done in March. But there are still a few new things I'd like to share.

Title "Blue Moon"
First and foremost, I entered this vase in the Imari International Amateur Ceramics Contest and won honorable mention! (4th place) I was so surprised and happy about the award! I wasn't expecting it at all. It is my first official award of any sorts pertaining to my pottery. Feels great to have achieved something :) It will be on display from April 1st to 10th at the Nabeshima Pottery center in Imari City. Awards ceremony will be on the 10th at 2pm. I'm so excited!

On to regular business

Remember these? Well they turned out awful! So I re-glazed them all one color and am hoping for a better outcome. The handles are the finished product, but there is a base of a white glaze under the red and light green so I hope they won't turn out worse. I'll do OF firing, but there's not many pieces to fire right now so probably another few weeks until I know how they'll look. These were a lot of work so I'm hoping my effort pays off.

The wavy cup I made awhile back, it turned out pretty lovely actually. I gave it as a gift to one of my teachers at work who transferred. Joshigaraki clay with kohagi glaze RF firing.

Next are a few simple pieces I made awhile back. I tried a new technique (new for me at least) and they turned out pretty well.

An indented design, very Japanese. I've seen it on many pottery pieces here in Japan and thought it was difficult to do, which is actually not so.

The key is this simple tool; a long curved metal ruler shaped thing. There's two type, rounded edge (left) and flat edge (right)

The rounded one is used for round surfaces like cups, and the flat is used for flat surfaces like straight bowls or plates.

Holding it at a certain angle while the wheel moves is the key to creating a vibration. The mild vibration causes the tool to bounce up and down creating the design.

This picture is a demo, as you can see I'm not at the wheel but it looks something like this. Getting the angle right is tricky at first (looked terrible when I first did it) but after some practice it turned out quite well. (Sorry don't know why this photo is crooked, tried turning it around many times on blogger...)

When done correctly it should look something like this. Mine is still a little off, but this looks so much better from my first try.

These two have since been bisque fired and glazed. I choose a nice green shiny glaze. My teacher recommended shiny glazes (ones that look like glass) since the glaze will settle into the indents and show off the design better. Other matte or thick glazes won't show the design as well since they'll just end up covering it up.

Here are two other bowls from this month too, plain and jo shigaraki clay. U glaze on the left and B glaze on the right.

These four glazed pieces will go into the next noborigama which is April 9th. So soon! It kinda crept up on me this time so I only have these four pieces going in this time.

Well that's it for now! Until next time!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What's going on

I've been super busy with graduate school applications and haven't been keeping up with my blog much lately. By the end of March I'll be back to normal though, but for now I'll just post blogs with lots of info and pics.

First is my giant vase, I sanded it again last weekend and some more holes appeared so I filled those and I'll sand it one more time before letting it be. Shouldn't be long now until it can get bisque fired.

On Saturday, while I was sanding my vase, a Sasebo TV crew came to film the studio and Arai Sensei. They filmed me sanding my vase (not very exciting haha) but I was on TV this past week. The program was about things and places in Saza, they do it every year. Besides getting shots of the studio they filmed Arai sensei making a big vase on the wheel. Afterwords the three crew tried making their own cup. One of the crew was a French intern from Nagasaki university. Here he is getting advice from Arai Sensei.

Next are the pencil holders and two cups from a few weeks back. They've been bisque fired so I glazed them last night. A lot of the colors I like were out so it gave me the chance to experiment with colors I wouldn't normally choose and be creative with the colors left.
Joshigaraki clay, Glaze L (green) on the base with glaze E (red) as the accent on the top and inside. OF firing

Joshigaraki clay. Glaze C as the base bottom and glaze Z as the accent color at the top and inside. RF firing

Joshigaraki clay. Glaze I (light pale white blue) with an accent dip of glaze Z over the handle. RF firing

Joshigaraki clay. Glaze R, RF firing.

Here are all the pieces after the glazes were applied with their color samples next to them.

And last, three pieces I made last night with my left over bits of clay. I had joshigaraki and regular shigaraki so I mixed those and made the bowl and cup on the right. I also had a good amount of bizen so I tried making some plates (first one flopped) and the second one turned out so so. I'm waiting to see how it dries before I decide to keep it. It was a little wobbly and dipped in the center.

Until next time!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

busy busy busy

It's been a busy few weeks so I haven't had much time to upload onto my blog here. Few new things...

My vase is almost finished, I spent a few hours sanding it last Saturday and discovered there's a few small holes so of course I had to fix those up. Arai Sensei showed me how

First you have to make the hole a little bigger. I know it sounds strange but in order for the clay to bond well with the vase you need to have a good area to put it in.

Next you have to wet the area with water and a brush.

Last, stick a small amount of clay inside the hole and smooth it out with something flat. It should look like this when it's done. The dark area where the hole was filled is a different color since it has to dry.

Make sure they clay you use to fill the hole is the same clay you used to make the piece. It's been a few days since I fixed the holes but the color is still different since I may have used the wrong clay...I won't know until it's bisque fired. But the holes are so small it shouldn't make a difference.

Next were some cups I made awhile back that I carved. Here is the first one, basic coffee cup with handle added.

Last were two pencil jars I made. Swirly design. I used joshigaraki, these will dry and be bisque fired later.

Remember these two? Well they've been bisque fired, sanded and glazed.
Both are joshigaraki.

Slightly larger one's body is glaze G (white cream color) and the handle is L (green color) OF firing

Small one's body is also glaze G, but the handle is E (rusty red color) OF firing.

Glaze G is super thick but doesn't run so I had to scrape away a lot of glaze after these dried to make sure the pieces won't be lump after being fired. I've also never used this clay and these colors before so it should be fun to see how they turn out. (Good I hope!)

And finally, two larger bowls I made out of regular shigaraki. They're pretty thin so I'm a little worried about when I carve them.

Anyways, that's all for now! Next blog will be coming up soon!