72 Hands

From the Tiangong Kaiwu (天工開物) encyclopedia compiled by Song Yingxing (宋应星) at the end of the Ming Dynasty comes the oft-cited quote: “共计一杯工力,过手七十二,方可成器” For the total work required to make a single cup, it must pass through 72 hands, and only then can it become a vessel. 72 Hands is an effort to document all types of ceramics techniques.… Continue reading 72 Hands

Painted 2017

For 2017 I have refined all aspects of the “Painted” series, from the designs and brushwork to final glazing and firing. In the following “Lobed” series, the form emerges through application of a chaotic brushstroke. I’m personally enamored with the floral lobed forms and delicate brushwork in the following dishes.  2017 was also the first… Continue reading Painted 2017

Working with a mirror

A potter friend once made fun of me for using a mirror. But no matter how much I improve, I don’t think I’ll ever stop using a mirror when I throw and trim.

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Categorized as Technique

Nothing new under the sun..

With 10,000 years of history, there’s really never anything new in ceramics, just reinterpretations of the past.  Bowl base fragment, Edo period, Takeo Karatsu type.  Freer & Sackler Galleries.

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Categorized as Antiques

Traditional celadon

Recent firing with traditional porcelain stone glaze. In the past I’ve tried but failed to use modern materials like feldspar and kaolin to capture the beautiful, unctuous surface and depth of porcelain stone celadons. In this glaze the coloration is completely due to iron occurring naturally in the material.

Blades

I use X-acto blades all the time, some modified for specific tasks like carving porcelain or scraping glaze off of feet. I’m not sure if it’s all part of a vast X-acto conspiracy, but it seems that a lot of people don’t know that these blades can be easily & quickly sharpened?  While there are a… Continue reading Blades

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Orton vs. Chinese Cones

Well, that didn’t work out. The kiln master ended up over-firing, past Chinese cone 10. Orton cone 12 probably dropped around Chinese cone 8/9. Looking forward to doing a better test in my own kiln.

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Categorized as Ceramics

Low-fire Electric Kiln

I’ve finally gotten a new low-fire electric kiln. This kiln is designed to fire up to 1000°C, so it’s useful only for on-glaze enamels and bisque. Total cost was 2900RMB, which is about $420USD.

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Slow drying

I have a couple “wet boxes”.  These are plastic bins with lids into which a layer of plaster has been poured.  The plaster is kept wet in order to maintain humidty, slowing (if not stopping) the drying process. However, I haven’t used the wet boxes in a long time.  I’ve found it much easier and… Continue reading Slow drying

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Kiln & Firing

This page is in progress and will cover my kiln and firing.  For now it is just a place to store my notes.

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Painted

The history of ceramic slip decoration reaches far back into antiquity.  Much as ancient pottery emulated more valuable vessels in precious metals, white slips were often applied to darker clay bodies in an effort to increase “value”.  Many inventive uses for slips have evolved through the centuries, such as Cizhou black and white slip carving, Chinese “cut-glaze”… Continue reading Painted

Colors of Celadon: Iron and Titania

Following images from Bonham’s 2014 auction, The Feng Wen Tang Collection of Early Chinese Ceramics The best resource I’ve found about color in Chinese glazes is Nigel Wood’s Chinese Glazes.  Chapter 8, Iron in Chinese Glazes, covers iron in detail, while celadons are covered throughout the book. There’s a great range of colour in Chinese celadons.  In traditional… Continue reading Colors of Celadon: Iron and Titania

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Categorized as Glazes

Glazy: One Year Old

One year old! Exactly one year ago, Glazy registration was opened to the public. Since then, we’ve made a ton of improvements and added many more recipes. Thank you! 94% of website server fees have been paid with your generous donations. Thanks to all of you who have added recipes, photos, and contributed valuable ideas… Continue reading Glazy: One Year Old

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Razor trimming

I’m not sure if double-edged safety razor are still available in the West, but here in Jingdezhen they are an essential trimming tool.  These razors are thin, sharp, and most importantly flexible.  Great for wheel-trimming details on small forms, or for scraping hand-built objects.  The most used brand is Flying Eagle.  I get the more expensive stainless… Continue reading Razor trimming

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Categorized as Technique