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touchdry

How was this vase made?

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I hope this is OK for a non-potter (ie collector) to ask a technical question. If I am asking a stupid question then please forgive me ... and just ignore this request. If you are willing to answer my questions then please use laymans language (no sagger-makers-bottom-knocker type answers please!).

So, my question is ... what is the technique used to make this incredible vase? The sides are almost machine-like smooth; the top seems to be produced by engine turning machinery; how have the different coloured clays (or perhaps pigments were involved) been applied?

Is this typical of one country like the UK, Scandanavia, Germany, or some other part of Europe ... or elsewhere in the World? I bought this in France.

Perhaps I can be cheeky and ask if any of you know who might have made this ... I have included their mark which could be a GL and something else?

Height 9cm Diameter 10cm

I look forward to any kind of response ... thank you for reading this. And - yes, I am happy to give any other information.

orange1.JPG

orange2.JPG

orange3.JPG

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The pot was thrown on a wheel.  The smooth exterior was done by compressing the surface with a tool, probably a thin piece of stainless steel, or flexible plastic. 

The regions your refer as "the top seems to be produced by engine turning machinery" was made with a 'chattering tool' -- a chattering tool is a springy handheld tool that bounces on the pot's surface in a rhythm as the pot is turning on the wheel.  This step is done when the pot has been partially dried.

The various colors appear to the result of using a clay body of a mixture of clay bodies of different colors, some are light color and others are darker.  The blending is limited so that when the clay is shaped on the wheel, the streaks and areas of different color will show on the surfaces.  I cannot make any reliable judgment on the final glaze/stain surface treatment of the pot from the photographs other than there is a sheen which implies a thin layer of transparent glass.  This could be a result of a clear glaze applied by spraying.  

An alternative possibility is that the colorations are the result of color stains and slips applied after the surface chattering and the clay body is not a mixture of colored clays.  This alternative has strength from the color of the carved signature on the bottom of the pot - it is an off-white color unrelated to the other colors on the surfaces.

LT 
 

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Thank you for the response LT.  Are the processes you refer to used internationally? I ask this question to see if I can pin point where this might have come from. Also, could this shape of vase be a specific design ... I have seen a number of similar examples from the obvara firings of Marcia Selsor ... but she does not appear to describe the vases in any way. I am talking of descriptions such as "cylinder vases", "bottle vases", "onion vases" ... 

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Hi TouchDry!

A neophyte potter, I've been chattering since week three, inspired by Lin - search "Hsin-Chuen Lin chattering" - I'm using a piece of hacksaw blade. A bit of heat makes the ninety degree bend easy, then a grinder shapes and sharpens, finally a mill file to touch up.

See also NHK "Ceramic Treasures" episode on Onta-yaki - search "Onta-yaki, Oita Prefecture" - curious what they used before the steel age? ...perhaps bamboo cutter lashed to a thin springy piece of bamboo - any road, chattering isn't new.

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Thanks for that Hulk ... so, do I understand you correctly - that chattering has been around for quite a while, and is now used in the pottery community anywhere in the World. So, the process does not point to anywhere in particular?  Presumably, that goes for the  stainless steel/plastic tool thing ... it is employed by just about anyone?

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Lots of nice YouTube videos when you look up Ceramic chattering. I think @Magnolia Mud Researdh Is right the first time on the clay body being multiple colors worked together, judging from the mix of colors apparent on the bottom. Although the sides look like they might have been burnished, I don't think so because it would be pretty difficult to burnish the chattering, since it's not a smooth surface. 

Its a beautiful pot, sorry I can't identify the potter. Maybe my fellow potters can point you to the potter's Mark registry that was started a while ago. 

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3 minutes ago, touchdry said:

Thanks for that Hulk ... so, do I understand you correctly - that chattering has been around for quite a while, and is now used in the pottery community anywhere in the World. So, the process does not point to anywhere in particular?  Presumably, that goes for the  stainless steel/plastic tool thing ... it is employed by just about anyone?

Everyone uses the stainless steel/plastic tool thing.

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Thank you Rae and Gabby.

So, the general technique used here is  ... pretty general ... like, most people use it. This just leaves me with the question of the style of work ... I have not seen many examples on the west side of the pond. So am I seeing a European style coming out here? Although I bought it in France, it seems to be whispering from up north towards the Vikings ... or someone along the way ... like the Germans or the Belgians?

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26 minutes ago, touchdry said:

Thank you Rae and Gabby.

So, the general technique used here is  ... pretty general ... like, most people use it. This just leaves me with the question of the style of work ... I have not seen many examples on the west side of the pond. So am I seeing a European style coming out here? Although I bought it in France, it seems to be whispering from up north towards the Vikings ... or someone along the way ... like the Germans or the Belgians?

It would be fairly impossible to pinpoint it's origin based on technique.  Everyone uses methods that were once traditional, an American Potter firing in a Japanese style anagama kiln, using Italian slip decoration on porcelain from New Zealand is not an out of this world combination.

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Why don' you contact the retailer for info on artist. Most galleries have files on their artists....

From the edges of the potter's Mark which are sharp indicating done at a very dry state, I think the colour is a surface application only. Where there are streaks around the pot, some other application had affected the "patchy"solid orange and black  affect.

Edited by Babs
errors

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Hello Babs

I would love to contact the retailer except that I bought this on a boot sale from someone who had no idea what it was! Seeing as I acquired it in France I will ask on one of the French Pottery Collectors forums. I came on here because I had no idea how the vase was made. And 'googling' it is almost totally impossible because, again, I have no real way of describing it. I have tried 'barrel vase' to no avail ... but this forum gave me the keyword 'chattering' ... that brought up lots of chattered vases ... but nothing like this one. So I will continue to search. If you have any descriptive words that might give me a more specific search then please let me know.

Thank you all for being so responsive ... onwards ... and upwards!

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43 minutes ago, Babs said:

And tonight with ifferent glasses on looks like the maker trailed the initials Z G on on top of glaze:-))

Nah...With the main light coming from the right side and the initials being highlighted on the left side, I would agree with LT that the initials are carved and not slip trailed...

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Thanks for that JohnnyK and Babs,

I can confirm that the mark has been scratched into the clay, and reveals that the different colors are surface colors ie glazes ... but the actual marks themselves eludes me. I am going to ask Marcia Selsor if she can shed light on the 'how' ... and perhaps the 'who' ...

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touchdry,  if you look closely at the bottom of the vase can you tell if the deeply scratched initials are just a little lighter in color than the outside surface?  using a flashlight to see deep into the crevice, are you able to see a variation in the color of the clay that would be similar to the variation seen on the exterior?   or is the clay a consistent color which might indicate a surface decoration instead of the marbling of the clay before throwing.

if so, the darkness of the exterior is due to  a glaze or burnishing technique and the clay is not  colored.  marbling the surface by dipping would  fit since the color is uniformly seen on the bottom as well as the sides usually worked on for decorative purposes.  

my vote on the initials, GV  cannot think what the other thing is.

Edited by oldlady
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Thank you oldlady ... believe it or not but I have a super miniature microscope, and I can tell you that the scratch marks reveal an almost uniform colour (light creamy brown). The scratches easily show that the variations in surface color are just that ... surface color _ otherwise the clay appears to be the same color clay under the surface.

As for the marks ... I think you potters do it on purpose - just to make the collectors scratch their heads - maybe yelp a bit! But I can tell you that over here in France I have found an incredible variety of marks from the makers ... take Jacques Blin ... the 'n' looks nothing like one!! But it does not not stop me loving what you do ...

... I am beginning to see an LG .... that has been underlined ... or is it something else? DOH!

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In terms of how it was made, I think maybe the piece was probably covered with one or more colours of terra sig (thin, smooth coating of really fine clay particles) and pit fired somehow, particularly from looking at the bottom. If that's the case, then the puzzling thing is why did they carve the name in afterwards, because there's no soot or anything in the maker's mark. The sheen on it looks like the finished piece has been waxed or oiled, which is a common finishing technique for pit or saggar fired work.

It looks like a relatively modern piece to me, probably influenced by the studio potter movement. It could come from almost any of the countries you mention in your original post, or from North America at some point in the last 50 years.  It looks pretty 70's to me, but things come in and out of fashion all the time. That clay body looks pretty smooth and refined, without any weird patches of improperly mixed ingredients, sand, or any voids from larger organic bits burning out.

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Hey ... I've just been informed that this is a "terra sigillata" vase ... and if I google that term I get loads of the stuff! Incredible!! Its all beautiful ... sorry, I mean 'daggone pretty'! All I have to do now is to ask the French if they know the maker ... one has already suggested Jean Jacques Gentil ... love it! Go and check him out. In the mean time I will ask him if it is his ... stay tuned ...

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