Recently I visited a friend and I didn’t recognize a piece he purchased from me about 3 years ago. The style and glaze on that piece seemed so remote to me. It seems hard for me to make the same type of work for too long. I think that’s why I love ceramics so much; the potential within clay is endless. Here are few pieces I am working on lately - textures.
Last Friday, I met many blogger-potters and saw their works at the Clay and Blog show opening reception. Tracy was wondering why I don't blog anymore. Well, I am still existing in this blogosphere. I was just out of country for two months. My wife and I, along with kids, went to visit our families in Korea and Taiwan. We visited many historical sites and watched traditional performances. It's great for kids to immerse themselves in different cultures.
an annex hall of Suwan Palace (水源華城), Suwan, Korea
Here are 4 glaze fired platters with carved lotus and painted plum blossom motifs. Lotus (荷花) and plum blossom (梅花) carry important symbolism in Chinese culture. In a natural environment, lotus grow in muddy pounds. However, when they emerge from the water, they always reveal the most pure color to their surroundings. Chinese often refer the lotus to encourage people to be true to oneself regardless how bad the environment he/ she was brought up with. Chinese plum tree always bloom in a hush winter. The colder the weather is, the more their flowers bloom. In the old time, Chinese lived in a vase land with a hush environment. People often look for comfort and encouragement from nature.
For the past few weeks, I have been trying to fine-tune my production cycle and to find an effective way to produce works. The result, in terms of quantity, was good. I pretty much fired kiln every other day. I also found some interesting glaze combinations to create a nicer cone 6 firing result. I will start to post some of my new works (as finished products) in a few days.
My first commission work, after moved to Greensboro, was a rice jar. A Korean friend I met in church couldn’t find a nice rice jar from local Asian grocery market. Soon as she knew that I am a potter, she requested one. Making a larger piece is fun and rewarding, especially in a show. It often quickly draw people’s attention. After hand built flower vases for 2 days, I tried to go back to wheel and make few more rice jars. Yesterday I threw 4 separate sections for making 2 rice jars. Today I connect them and then threw handles, lids, and knobs. I should be able complete them over the weekend.
use 25lb of clay for bottom section (20lb for top)
Plate and platter are probably the simplest ceramic objects to make. They are just the combinations of a few curve and straight lines. However, the simple thing is often difficult to deal with. It took me for a while to create new designs on new platters.
try to bring some Summer heat to warm up this messy weather
After dropped off kids to schools this morning, I "flew" to studio right away. Schools were closed for 3 days so I needed to shift myself from a full time potter to a full time daddy. Did I say that my vacation mode will go till Chinese New Year!? My body said so but my mind did not allow me to do so. I missed clay......... After threw 2 bags of clay on floor to wedge them, I made some bowls to warm up my hands and then threw some plates. Not too bad, 2 hours made four 25" plates and several bowls. I am back to business.
I would like to share Hsiao Fang Pottery Artsweb site with you all. I have gained tremendous practical knowledge and experience from Hsaio Fang Pottery Arts when I worked as personal assistant to the founder, Mr. Tsai Hsaio Fang. To me, it's more like an apprenticeship than a full time job. What kind of boss would willingly teach you how to properly do reduction at 2:00 am? Hsiao Fang Pottery Arts is also the place I highly recommend to visit beside National Palace Museum whenever I have friends plan to visit Taiwan.
December and January were 2 very non-productive months to me in terms of pottery making. On the other hand, the holidays and school winter break had brought me wonderful quality family times. I think my holiday mode is not going to end so soon until Chinese New Year which will fall on February 14 this year.
Over the holidays, I read my pottery mentor-friend Tom Turner's article regarding refiring. Since I haven't produced any now pieces, I tried to refire some old pots. All the refired pieces turned out much "nicer" than from the first firing. On the refired pieces, glaze surface shows slightly runny and gives the piece a reduction fired look. I can see the potential on refirng.
a brown glaze from cone 6 firing
after refiring, the brown glaze looks more like Temmoku
a white glaze looks like cone 10 Yellow Salt glaze after refiring