Test firing, new book

I finished making all the bowls I planned, about 1,100 or so. I will now do a test firing to see if my glazes will fit these clays. I mixed a new type of clay for my ash glaze and need to see how it works with the glaze. The pictures are of the bowls before I glaze. I have gotten a little mixed up on what each bucket contains which is why I have such strange names on the paper.

I had a small disaster with my ash glaze when I was getting it ready. I keep it in a 40 liter bucket. The bucket sprung a longitudinal crack and the glaze started spewing out all over my studio floor. I was able to empty a different bucket and only lost about 5 liters and some time cleaning up.

I just bought a new book. It is an encyclopedia of flowers in Japan. Very comprehensive. It has over 1,600 types and for each one it gives information about when it can be found, where to find it, common names, scientific names and alternative names. The reason I bought it is it also gives what kind of vase is considered appropriate and what types of flowers it can be displayed with. The appendixes are full of information too.

Here is a post on making 1,000 bowls.

I have more than 1000 bowls now. It has been a very interesting journey.

What I’ve learned:

I greatly enjoy the process of making but very much dislike the processes of telling people about my work or even trying to sell it. I feel most passionate about the doing. What I mean by ‘doing’ is the process. That process today might be throwing, it might be turning or firing. I love to ‘chop wood, carry water’. There is a book somewhere I borrowed from someone in the past by the same title. That is what I love. I find it tiring to be asked about the work. To be asked what my vision is for the work. I have always felt in my heart that if the question is there, i.e., ‘What is your work about?’, it is obvious to me that I haven’t been successful. The transfer of energy and communication that is the fundamental and necessary ingredient of making things hasn’t happened.

It would seem that the selling part is the job of galleries. I find dealing with them even more tiring than being asked about things I have made. It is this aspect of my character that has led me to try to decide what to do, continue making work or stop.

I am good at executing, poor at building brand. I think that making things is something that anyone can do. There isn’t anything mysterious or special about it. I have come to believe that there are caveats to my ‘anyone can do it’ thinking. Perseverance, vision, discipline are a few of the qualities I think are necessary. So, do I think anyone can make things?? Yes if you have or develop certain qualities. No if you don’t take the time to do so.

The type of ceramics I like to make rely on the physical version of a slip of the tongue. I love accident. In forming, trimming, glazing and firing. Without it I am completely disinterested in working. I think it is this aspect that I have found wanting in looking at work lately. I find most work formulaic and frankly somewhat boring. I feel even more so when it comes to work dealing with the tea ceremony.


About togeii

I have lived in Japan for 19 years doing ceramics almost the whole time. I have a wood burning noborigama and a long snake kiln.. I
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2 Responses to Test firing, new book

  1. Mike Martino says:

    Hello Dave, I am impressed by your project, and sympathize with your feelings on selling and dealing with galleries. I wanted to ask: what is the chemical composition of ‘probably feldspar’? Is it similar to hiratsu feldspar? ; ) Testing is wise. I ignored this in my last firing to disastrous results. Instead of a glaze, I ended up with a new high tech refractory coating. I may take it to NASA to see if they are interested….

    • togeii says:

      Hello Mike,
      Actually ‘probably feldspar’ means that the glaze is probably my feldspar glaze. The label fell off of the container and I marked it as that. It does contain hiratsu.
      I had a laugh about the NASA comment.

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