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Member Since 06 Apr 2010
Offline Last Active May 23 2017 01:23 PM

#126967 Ceramic Flasks- Shoji Hamada

Posted by JBaymore on 20 May 2017 - 10:51 AM

Hi. And welcome to the forums.


I have a bit of "history" in Mashiko (Hamada Shoji's hometown) and Hamada Shoji-sensei's work has been a huge influence on me since the 60's. 


What you are asking for is difficult.  Especially "from afar".  The more detailed photos you can give the better for any ROUGH opinions to be shared that are anywhere near accurate.  On this piece I'd need to see more views and closer up, in in fine surface focus.  I REALLY need to see the foot of the piece.


I can't tell from the photo, but the exposed clay at the foot area where that might be finger marks looks quite white-ish.  That does not match the Mashiko clay used.


Hamada made work in various parts of the world as he and Leach and Yanagi traveled and gave workshops... using materials local to those places.  So sometimes a piece MIGHT be his work, but be "atypical" in the glazes and claybody from the "normal" Mashiko materials.  The press-molded forms (like this bottle) are less common from places other than Mashiko, because it required him taking the heavy, bulky molds with him to the places he demoed. 


There are a LOT of fakes out there for Hamada Shoji's work..... of course because of the fame and valuation.  Including fake boxes with fake signature stamps.  So...... beware.


I am a bit of a friend with his grandson, Hamada Tomoo-san and know Shinsaku-san (Shoji-sensei's son) ....and could get you connected with them via snail mail to possibly authenticate the piece, should you desire.  However be aware that the Japanese families charge to do this kind of work.  It is expensive to do this, authenticated as genuine or not.  The value of a Japanese work is about 50% residing in the signed box.  If a piece is worth say $10,000 with the box, it is worth only about $5,000 without that box, and also assuming that the visuals of the piece are CLERLY from the artist it is supposed to be by.  If a 'pedigree box" needs to be made (signed as "verified" by either Shinsaku-san or Tomoo-san), you can expect a bill for many thousands of dollars for a piece like this.


Another resource for you might be to talk to Robert Yellin at eyakimono.net and who on occasion sells Hamada's work at his gallery in Kyoto.   Or potter Phil Rodgers in the UK who handles Hamada's work as a dealer also.  And there is the Facebook group "Collecting Japanese Ceramics" to try.  Auction houses such as Southby's also provide such professional services.


Hope this is helpful.





#126798 Free And Open Source Glaze Software

Posted by JBaymore on 16 May 2017 - 03:41 PM

Calculated COE, as far as I can tell, appears to assume that there is a full melt taken to completion (all reactions done) AND that there is no excess of any material that will tend to precipitate out upon cooling.  So it is a "get in the right ballpark" approach.  Not very precise.





#126772 Free And Open Source Glaze Software

Posted by JBaymore on 16 May 2017 - 09:12 AM

Nice stuff, Pieter!  I wrote and sold some glaze calc software back in the early 80s... and it is amazing how far we have come.  (A lot was in machine code to keep it fast and small....... tiny RAM........ ugh.)  GREAT functionality you are approaching there.  Nice idea.


Get help to compile it to runtime code.  I am sure you can find someone up to speed to do that with you.





#126771 Sake Set

Posted by JBaymore on 16 May 2017 - 09:00 AM

 I plan on going to a tea ceremony soon for the same reason, I want to know more about the Chawan. My plan is to find an official place and go visit and do the whole process together with my wife.


Joseph, if you are serious about understanding and making Chawan..... find a branch of Urasenke.... they are all over.  Take classes... don't just attend the typical "group" demonstration ceremony. It takes years to understand "tea" in this context.  I've been on this road for a long time.


Here's a reference for you:  http://blog.nceca.ne...awan-now-online





#126770 Sake Set

Posted by JBaymore on 16 May 2017 - 08:55 AM

Background stuff for you.................


While there are many serving pieces used for sake in Japan...... the most "traditional" serving piece for 酒) sake (actually more typically called "Nihonshu" in Japan) is called a "tokkuri" which is written 徳利.      The word  酒) (sake) actually simply means "alcoholic beverage" (it can be all kinds).   From a Westerner.... in Japan they typically will expect you to say "sake" and mean "rice wine"......which is Nihonshu 日本酒 .   If you look at the kanji there for Nihonshu....... the first two are the name of Japan..... "Nihon".  And the last one is "alcoholic beverage" (sake).  What we call "sake" is the traditional national beverage of Japan... and is considered "sacred" in the Shinto religion.  Nihonshu has a special place in the heats of most Japanese.


(Unfortunately.... beer is taking over as the preferred drink.  Arrrgggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....................)


In the Romaji system of transliterating Japanese to English characters, when you see the double consonant "kk" there, you do a "stop" at the first "k" and then put in another "k" when you start the second half of the word.  So it sounds like TOKE  KUUREE.  It gets this name because of the sound it is supposed to make when poured.  The traditional very narrow neck opening causes the liquid to block air from going into the bottle... causing it to come out ........ tok....tok....tok....tok....tok. 


Tokkuri traditionally hold about 180 - 200 milliliters, but some are a bit larger.  They are typically rather small.. and nest comfortably in the hand when being used to pour.  They are meant to get refilled (from larger storage) frequently.......... because the temperature range for proper serving at the table is important.  When warmed.... it is very close to body temperature.  When chilled it is quite cold.  Fresh tokkuri being presented assure the beverage is properly served as it is consumed.


A very traditional 'sake set' is called shuki or 酒器.  It is a bottle and some cups.


The cups are either of the choko   猪口  or  guinomi  ぐい呑  type.  Choko are quite small....... and typically are more cylindrical or slightly flaring.  (Bigger diameter flat flaring ones are ceremonial and not in common daily usage.)  Guinomi greatly resemble very small Chawan and are quite a bit larger than choko..... but not as large as a yunomi.   


As ceramic art objects relative to pricing......... choko are generally rather cheap and guinomi and tokkuri are quite expensive.  Sake aficionados are as crazy about the serving ware as the drink. 


And it is important to note here that Nihonshu is as varied as "wine" is in France.  There are literally hundreds and hundreds of varieties.  Assuming that "sake" is one thing is like going to France and just asking for "wine".  If you get the chance and can find it in the US ( or wherever outside of Japan).... try different Nihonshu.  They are wonderful.  I can typically judge a Japanese restaurant here in the US by what their Nihionshu offerings are.  If all they list is one "sake",........ and if it is only served hot, likely the place will be not all that authentic in food or quality of food.  Really good Nihionshu is often served cold .... particularly in the summer.  Cheap Nihionshu tastes AWFUL cold.  Good Nihonshu is like good wine.... it can get expensive fast.


Please do not drink the Gekkeikan sake you typically find in the US and assume you like or don't like sake.  it is basically cooking wine!





#126648 Making A Mould Via Cnc

Posted by JBaymore on 13 May 2017 - 11:54 AM

 Is my naivety showing through here - should I be aware of some pitfalls and possible modifications? Thanks / Luke




I think it might be a small dose of "not enough information" yet at this point.  I am assuming here you are doing your 'due diligence' on starting up a production for a very commercially viable object.  And hence eventually, if the business plan numbers work, heavy production.  For a heavy production setting... and large number of objects sold.... likely this is a viable idea.  Small run......... maybe not.


The only experiences I've had with it (in Japan) .... there was some significant investment in equipment and also in the actual master and working mold making.  Not as elaborate equipment as the video I shared above... but still, compared with more handcraft type studios, an expensive setup.  Continuous slip blungers and reservoirs, high pressure slip pumps, casting racks that clamp molds in gangs to resist pressure, air compressors to do the release from the molds, "nice" working gang molds, and so on.


The design work for the pieces created is/was done "in-house".  (note....... some work is /was done in Rhinoceros 3-d modeling software and CNC machined for the original mold master objects.)  Then the mold work (master and working gang molds) was done by people that specialized in the production of this type of mold for ceramic use (in Mashiko-machi).  Mashiko is a long way from the actual pottery production center...so that tells you something about the need for someone who knows what they are doing in making the molds for this process.


Maybe a field trip to a place like Kohler is in order?


Also.... most all of my friends in japan are dealing with this next issue also.........


Within about 6 mos. to 1 year after your object hits the market.... there will be low price knock-offs coming out of China and Southeast Asia.  Over the past 20+ years working in Japan..... I've watched the demise of a LOT of the more 'production oriented' ceramics facilities.  Chinese imports are killing that market in Japan also for Japanese made work.  Can't compete on price.


The only reason the place I mention above can continue to work on their production lines (they have a VERY diverse production range from one-off hand thrown and handbuilt, to slip cast , jiggered and jollied, and so on) and is that the finishing process for the work cannot be economically reproduced easily (wood-fired, yakishime, charcoal reduction finish). And they also are designing/producing new objects constantly to stay ahead of the imports.


So maybe keep in mind that the item you are thinking about will possibly have a short exclusive window in which to make big profits.  Sober reality in the globalized world.





#126514 Clear Glaze Chemistry

Posted by JBaymore on 11 May 2017 - 09:22 AM


The "problem" with barium carbonate is that having it in your waste stream = toxic waste according to current EPA rules.  It's not *that* toxic to humans as you noted, but problematic for fish and aquatic life forms.  It is one of the things we voluntarily removed from the studio where I work in order to simplify disposal of glaze waste, spray booth filters, etc.  It also meant that we don't have to worry if a careless student washes it down the drain.  Some things are great, and make beautiful glazes, but we simply don't need the headache of dealing with them in an educational setting.

 " one of my favorites contains barium carbonate which many potters refuse to have in their studio.


if i researched it correctly, the fear comes from the fact that it is used as rat poison.  history shows some really strange mistakes.  someone used it in place of flour in cooking for group of soldiers(?) and poisoned them.  they all recovered but the fear is strong.  i cannot imagine a potter trying to cook with ANY ingredient from the studio.  so after finding no fatalities online, except for a suicide, i decided i could use the small percentage of barium carb the recipe calls for.  it also goes over green underglaze without changing the color to grey, a big deal for me."



This is exactly why I always stress that "education is a good thing" when it comes to the health and safety aspect of our field.  There is MUCH misinformation and "hysteria" in the ceramic community about various compounds and practices.  This is not to belittle that there ARE things that we should be concerned about.......... but to remind people to vet their sources, to go to primary sources whenever possible, to learn enough "science" so that you can understand the information at an appropriate level, and so on.  Those concepts are one core part of my ceramic toxicology sections I teach.


The "waste stream" business is an important one to be aware about for a large operation like a college ceramics program.  One issue there is that while the single ceramics department itself might fall under the 'small generator' exceptions in the laws, the college is typically looked at as a "whole".  So the wastes from the photo department, the ceramics department, the painting department, and so on all "count" toward the total tonnage/poundage that the institution produces on an annual basis.  Hazardous waste disposal fees are not trivial.


Yeah, I also believe that the "rat poison" aspect is what got the whole BC business started in the ceramics community.  A concern ... yes.  But people not really understanding what the "LD50" concept information for barium carbonate might imply helps to fuel a totally hysterical approach to the material.  Some places you'd swear it was radioactive plutonium we were talking about.


Then there's the craziness said on copper in glazes!  (Unless you have Wilson's Disease.)


Then there are the things that people SHOULD take far more seriously than they typically do.  The potential respirable microcrystalline silica issues from the ubiquitous "clay dust" that is REALLY prevalent in a studio situation, for example.  Diverse non-localized sources, large amounts of material in pretty constant use, hard to appropriately ventilate without huge costs for heated/cooled make-up air..... and so on.



The liability differences between a single person running a tight ship, and an institution where people are encouraged to learn through their mistakes is very different.


Very, very true.  And some of the "mistakes" can be whoppers.  ;)





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#126433 Nine Warning Signs Of An Amateur Artist

Posted by JBaymore on 09 May 2017 - 08:17 AM

I think that what we tend to call "talent" is maybe an expression of the matching up of Howard Gardner's "multiple intelligences" with some human activity.  Find the activity (or activities) that your brain is "wired for"... and they tend to "come easily". 


Which can be a blessing.... but also a curse.


Because to really excel at an activity...... you have to WORK at it.  Sometimes if all you tend to do are things that come easily to you at first... you don't learn to really work (at anything), and you don't learn to deal with failures and move on through them.


When it comes to reaching what we might call the "World Class" level of performance, we then get into the "persistence and determination" factor, combined with opportunities and "circumstances" as outlined by Malcolm Gladwell in "The Outliers", likely combined with a dose of genetics providing a body suited for the activity (if it is a physical one) good for "the long haul".





#126304 Nine Warning Signs Of An Amateur Artist

Posted by JBaymore on 07 May 2017 - 08:34 AM

"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."


Calvin Coolidge

#126262 Nine Warning Signs Of An Amateur Artist

Posted by JBaymore on 06 May 2017 - 09:33 AM

i have had "art and fear" for years but i am afraid to open it.


:lol:  :lol: :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  


"Art and Fear" is on our "must read" list at the college also.


Then there is the famous Chuck Close quote:


"The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who'll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you're sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that's almost never the case.”





#126045 How Many Cubic Feet Of Kiln Space Do You Use In One Month?

Posted by JBaymore on 01 May 2017 - 09:59 PM

Neil hit a lot of the important points above.


Other considerations come in here also.......


If you find you need $100,000 a year gross to net enough to live on........ there are lots of ways to get there.


You can make one 20" tall piece that sells for $100,000.  (Maybe think "The Scarab Vase".)  Won't use much clay or kiln space there.


You can make 100 20" tall pieces that sell for $1000 each.  Way more clay and lots of firings.


You can make 1000 20" tall pieces that sell for $100 each.  The clay tonnage and kiln firing volume is getting big.


You can make 10,000 20" tall pieces that sell for $10 each.  (Are you crazy!!!!!   ;) )


Add this kind of thinking to Neil's points above... and you will find that there is no "simple" answer to this question.  You are starting to look at a "business plan".





#125960 Low Fire Glaze

Posted by JBaymore on 30 April 2017 - 07:28 AM

Presently I bisque at 08 and fire at 04. I think according to the article I should bisque higher can I bisque and fire at the same cone?


Yes.  As long as the body is still absorbent enough to get the glaze coating you desire in a reasonable fashion.





#125952 Kiln Conversion Updraft Downdraft Chimney?

Posted by JBaymore on 29 April 2017 - 05:23 PM

I do have the homemade flame retention nozzle. I think it does a good job but the fan I am using doesn't have much control at the lower end so it blows the flame right off, once I get somewhere I can use more than a smidge of gas it does well.



Do you know anything about flame colour John? Do I need the sooty yellows or is my blueish flame ok?



Unless you have cast those home-made nozzles from well-engineered designs... they will not work as well as commercial ones.  And even they have trouble maintaining the flame on the nozzle at low settings (on a high output burner).  This is one reason why larger burners usually have pilot burners.  On really low input... it is run on the pilots untikl the lowest stable setting of the main burner is OK to run.


As to flame color........ no, you do not need to have yellow.  In fact... SOOT is not a good situation... because that indicates that a portion of the fuel is going to carbon...... and a carbon particles are not as good a reducing agent as CO.  If you are trying for carbon trap... well... then you want that sooty flame (VERY early).  But for "normal" firings (whatever they are) you want just enough deficiency of oxygen to get the job done at the correct times.  No more.... no less.


That being said... it is also very much about mixing.  It is possible that in certain locations in the ware chamber that the character of the flame you are seeing at the exit flue and the peeps is NOT what the ware there is "seeing".  You might have a blast of hot air with almost literally no fuel in some places.  And in others you might have amazingly oxygen starved hot fuel and air ratios. 


So kiln and burner design and the matching of the two also gets into cause consistent mixing to happen before the combustion products start interacting with the wares.  Forced air burners can be GREAT for this. 


Unfortunately, for your specific kiln/burner combination.... you are going to have to do some experimentation to get it right. 


A lot of potters use an approach of "overkill" to get consistent results.  Excess reducing gases in the kiln beyond what is needed, and present for more time than what is needed.  A "shotgun" approach.  If you fire enough pellets at the target.... one is bound to hit something.


An example on this "what is needed when" is that I did some tests with a certain celadon glaze recipe.  To get a good celadon color I found that I needed to start reduction before cone 04 down.  And that I could do anything I wanted to the atmosphere after cone 4 down...... oxidation, reduction, neutral... didn't matter.  That is for one specific glaze.





#125894 Quick Question: Sea Shells - Cone 6 - Which Type?

Posted by JBaymore on 27 April 2017 - 04:20 PM

As promised... here is the results of one of my students tests of "manmade sea shells".


This handbuilt bottle form shows the marks left by Josh Query's "manmade "seashells". The mix is 50% plaster, 50% whiting, and salt water to mix the stuff up with. Josh wanted shapes of marks that were more rectilinear than what naturally happens with scallop shells.

Was fired in the spring 2017 firing of New Hampshire Institute of Art's #Fushigigama. Was in the last rear stack of shelves.








#125870 Qotw: The Power Grid Has Gone Down In Your Area A...

Posted by JBaymore on 27 April 2017 - 09:35 AM

The better question: the grid goes down for a year and the battery on your cell phone is dead in 24 hours: now what?


PANIC! Arrrrrggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh..................................