Saturday, August 29, 2009

Handbuilt Greenware Textured Dishes

Worked on producing multiple handbuilt square plates today in the studio. These are made with white porcilen clay and a rolled rope texture. The first time I've tried using rope and I found it easy and delievered a nice subtle overall texture. I'm still devloping my makers mark and as you can see from the bottom of these dishes I can't make up my mind. My current thought is to keep the Japanese stamp of course and the n*s or perhaps just the *. I am also thinking of using a 3rd symbol that would change month to month or year to year. Too much?

Brocade Retro

A set of four small square dishes from my last firing were another study on how to use a stamped texture. I thought by only stamping roughly half the dish that the piece would go modern in design. As it turned out, I think I got more a retro result. What are your thoughts?

Monday, August 24, 2009

A New Mark

I worked with using porcelain yesterday for the first time in a few years. It was fun to work with again. Such a creamy smooth texture verses the stiffer earthenware. My first pieces were 9 small Japanese inspired tea cups with an embossed "Chrysanthemum". Of note also is the detail added to the bottom of the cup. My "NEW" makers mark. It is the Japanese characters for my name, "Mark". So cool.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

New Glaze Experiments

I've been trying to produce a nice bright white on a buff earthenware body for sometime. I think I finally have something. Above are two that both turned out extremely well. They both appear very similar, except the upper most left test tile is much more glossy than the test tile bottom right.

Out of my recent firing I also achieved good results with a tan, blue and green. The matt blue test tile bottom middle is not food safe.

Do you have a favorite?

What A Pretty Pitcher

More pieces from my recent firing. These small pitcher and lidded jar sets were all made from a red earthenware clay body and fired to Cone 6.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

New Brocade Mugs "Water Lily's"

I was please at how these new brocade mugs turned out. The flowing of the green and blue glaze swirling down over the brocade texture reminds me so much of a Monet painting. The water lily's. The are handbuilt, 4.25"T x 3" in Diameter, Cone 6, earthenware with stamped brocade texture. August 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New Work At Last!

I was excited to open the kiln tonight! It's been too long since I've had the thrill. I was please and I took a few quick pictures kiln side of a few highlights. I will be posting more pictures over the weekend. The really new concept in this firing is the fusing of real silver to pendants. The silver can be seen above as it pooled in little points over the the face. The dark blue/black color on third pendant is fused glass.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Time To Make The Glaze

In preparation for glazing my last load of bisque ware I need to replenish my glazes. The process of mixing glazes uses raw minerals in powder form. Each color will require on average about 6-8 different minerals that need to be dry mixed and then an equal amount of water by weight is added. The now wet glaze is poured through a #80 sieve making it ready to use.
This part of the ceramic process is very time consuming and one that most people don't think about or are aware of. These raw materials like silica are very dangerous to injest so I must wear a resperator durning this process.
I spent the most part of the day today just "making the glaze".

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My New Japanese Clay Stamp

How cool is this? Some friends of mine in Japan gave me this stamp on my recent visit to Tokyo. It came in a very nice presentation box.

It is metal, and the Kanji represents my name "Mark" in Japanese. I plan on using this on all my new work in addition to my current North"Star" stamp.

Thank You, Thank you, Thank You!

Monday, August 3, 2009

I have been reading a book called "The Book Of The Five Rings" which is a Japanese book writen by a Samurai. I came upon this sentence I wanted to share.

"Water conforms to the shape of the vessel, square or round, it can be a drop, and it can be an ocean."

Some how I just think about making pots and how what goes inside them conforms to the shapes I create.

Japanese Inspiration

I'm just back from China and Japan and you can not help but be inspired to create after returning from such a trip. I had the amaizing chance to walk on the Great Wall and to visit a Japanese Ceramic Museum (Toguri Museum of Art). I also just yesterday visited the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco were I saw a symbol very similar to the one above.

It is called, Ensō (円相) a Japanese word meaning "circle" and a concept strongly associated with Zen. Ensō is one of the most common subjects of Japanese calligraphy even though it is a symbol and not a character. It symbolizes enlightenment, strength, elegance, the Universe, and the void; it can also symbolize the Japanese aesthetic itself. As an "expression of the moment" it is often considered a form of minimalist expression. In the caption at the Asian Art Museum they also said something like that it can mean "everything and yet nothing" which I found so interesting.

I want to use this symbol of Enso on some new work. I can wait to get started.