firing

Making more flowerpots at Shiho

史火陶芸教室で新しい植木鉢のシリーズを作り始めました。他の生徒さんが作った碗の質感と釉薬に感激して、自分で簡単なものを作りたかった。

右の植木鉢の縦線は底にある排水の溝とつなげます。対象の線は、グリップにもなります。左の植木鉢は構造的な機能だけを考えて、シンプルに作りました。生徒さんの一人が、この形はキャンドルスタンドに良いと言いました。

一回、焼いたあとで、釉薬をかけます。釉薬をかけないところもあって、そこは生地が見えて、感触を楽しめます。

素人なのに、先生のおかげで、作品がもっとすてきになりました。先生はいつも生徒のアイデアを後押しして、手伝ってくれて、良い作品ができあがります。とても良い先生です。

I am making a new flower pot series at Shiho ceramic studio. I was inspired by the texture and glazing of another student’s bowls, and wanted to create something simple.

The vertical lines on the right-side pot connect with the drainage channels on the bottom and also provide contrast and something to grip. The left-side pot was an experiment in removing material without compromising structural integrity. A fellow student suggested this would make a good candle holder.

After they’re baked the first time, I’ll apply the glaze. Usually I leave some parts unglazed so that you can see and feel the ceramic directly.

It’s a credit to the Shiho teachers that my amateur efforts turn out look more intentional and better designed than I am capable of. I like that they encourage me to do what I want, and yet somehow always ensure that my work turns out OK. That’s evidence of great teaching!

Making bonsai pots at Shiho

史火の教室で盆栽用の植木鉢を作っています。

In the aftermath of the tsunami and nuclear crisis, it seems many have retreated into their homes and offices. Now more than ever is the time to go outside, interact with neighbors, and support your local small businesses in Tokyo: restaurants, vegetable shops, artisans, and creative studios.

I started making a series of bonsai pots at the ceramic studio Shiho. Here’s the basic process:

Step 1: Create shapes. Form clay into a block, slice off slabs, place slabs around molds covered in cheese cloth, remove, and let sit to harden.

Step 2 (between 2 days and 2 weeks after creating shapes): Trim the tops and sides. Add holes and channels for drainage. Carve name in bottom.

Step 3: First firing.

Step 4: Add glaze. I will leave each pot partly unglazed to show off the clay.

Step 5: Second firing.

The whole process may take 6 to 8 weeks, depending on the studio’s firing schedule and my free time.