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#62838 Hakeme Slip Recipe

Posted by JBaymore on 20 July 2014 - 04:23 AM

Nice Rakuken....... :)





#62807 Raku Traditional Japanese Vs. Western/modern Raku

Posted by JBaymore on 19 July 2014 - 08:09 PM

I teach a course and workshops about this.  Here's some "boilerplate" text I have written and given out before in answers to email questions about this. ( the "angle" to some parts is in response to specific questions):


"And yes, the Japanese are not as open about sharing 'pottery secrets' as American typically are. I've seen the Raku family process when I've been visiting in Kyoto..... and hence some of my knowledge. Plus I speak enough Japanese to converse a bit, and that fact along with being a potter myself leads a sense of trust to interactions when I am there. Plus introductions from one potter to another helps over there. While impeccably polite, it is a pretty closed society to "outsiders". I am fortunate that I have been accepted into their culture.
First off..... American raku and the process in Japan known as Raku are quite different.
While generalities are always wrong, there are basically two main versions of Japanese Raku wares....... Aka (red) and Kuro (black). Aka is fired a tad colder than Kuro, due to the glaze maturing difference. Both use a simple lead silicate glaze. The black version uses lead and a ground-up black-ish rock from the Kamo Gawa (Duck River) in Kyoto that is high in both iron and manganese.
For Aka only, the raw clay body is covered with a high iron slip that is bisqued onto the piece. For Aka only, there is an intermediate "firing" (a smoking really) where the bowls are placed in a brick box, interspersed with wood charcoal. The charcoal is lit. Where the charcoal is in strong contact with the red slipped wares and little air gets to it... it causes "fire clouding" of the slip...... smoke marks.
These carbon deposits will later get sealed under the low melting lead glaze...... creating the variegated color surfaces you see on much Aka Raku wares. They are more dramatic after the intermediary smoking... because the early part of the glaze firing causes some of the smoke effects to re-oxidize. But some usually stays trapped in.
Both use the same underlying clay body. It is a coarse, open high-fireclay type body, that in fired consistency greatly resembles SOME American bisqued stonewares when it is fired. The clay is pretty non-plastic, and the traditional forming methods take this fact into account. The most common way is to pinch a THICK general form... and then carve the inside and outside to the desired shape. Some is totally subtractive from a solid block of clay.
For Aka, the slip does not go all the way to the kodai (foot ring). There will typically be a place where the glaze overlaps past the slip and goes directly onto a small bit of the raw clay body. But the foot area is always clear of glaze. For Kuro, the glaze is applied all the way under the whole piece...... and right onto the entire foot ring. It is stacked on small wads in the kiln that are later ground off.
Almost all real Chawan are typically quite light. Raku ones are quite thin.... weight is an important consideration in a Chawan for actual Chanoyu (Tea Ceremony). Raku Chawan are typically at or under 454 grams...... a pound. They average about 13 cm in diameter and about 9 cm in height.
The traditional finish firing (the Raku family tradition) process uses a saggar to contain the bowls set into a small kiln that is charcoal fired, and an apprentice/shokunin (workman) runs a set of dual action bellows to get it really hot. For Aka......... the glaze is caught JUST as the glaze still has a little "fizz" in the melting process...... a tad underfierd. The pieces are pulled from the kiln and air cooled....... no post fire reduction and no water quenching happens. 
Because the tea is in the bowl for such a short period (minutes)... there is no real concern about lead leaching issues. Plus the bowls are washed very well before a ceremony, and then are ritually washed again during the ceremony....so no thin surface deposits of lead oxide coming out of the glaze will be present at use.
Most westerners have never been in a formal tea ceremony. They last a few hours. A lot is involved. Along with garden viewing, a special meal, smoking, and breaks between things, there are different servings of tea.
First is what is known as Koicha (Thick Tea). Most westerners have never had this. Most who have, don't usually like it. It is a paste of the powdered Matcha and water that is about like latex paint in consistency. Strong flavor and powerful caffeine kick. If there are multiple Guests, the tea for all of them is prepared in one bowl, and the bowl is passed from person to person after taking their requisite sips.
Second is is Usucha (Thin Tea). This is the typical "Tea Ceremony" tea that is experienced by most westerners. It is the same Matcha and watrer... but the proportion of tea to water is much less than Koicha. Strong, but not as strong. There might be multiple servings of Usucha. Tea for a single Guest is prepared in a single bowl and after consuming it, the bowl is given back to the Host.
Raku Chawan are usually reserved for serving Koicha, not Usucha. In the core of tradition, a Kuro Chawan is reserved for serving only serious dignitaries and royalty.
Far from being considered "disposable", Raku wares are the MOST sought after pieces for Chado (The Way of Tea). The prices for pedigreed Chawan (family name......usage...... etc.) are literally astronomical. There is a "tea saying"......... "Raku first, Hagi second, Karatsu third." That is the 'pecking order' in which Chajin (Tea People) hold respect for the types of wares for Chanoyu.
The insulating qualities of the open porous body are a strong positive for Chanoyu. Makes the bowl feel good to hold........ warm, not hot. As is the fact that it is NOT vitreous.
Not know to most westerners, sound is also an important part of Chanoyu.... and the sound that a whisk makes in a non-vitrified Chawan is VERY different than the sound produced by a vitreous bowl. Raku is "soft" sound...... stoneware and porcelain are "hard" sound. When a Chajin (tea person) plans a Chanoyu (tea ceremony) there is a concept called toriawase. It is hard to translate..... but it is what a choreographers does to a dance performance, and what a conductor does to a classical concert. Sounds that happens during the ceremony is a part of selecting the timing, the objects and so on in the ceremony. Part of good toriawase.
ALL Chawan are treated with great respect.... so they don't get broken often. If you were invited to a real Chakai (Tea Gathering) when you handled the bowl....... you would have taken off all rings and watches and necklaces and such. The bowl would be handled ONLY over the tatami mats on the floor of the Chashitsu (tearoom)..... and you'd hold it literally INCHES from the mats when examining it (part of the ceremony). It will be stored in a cloth bag, then a wooden box, then likely another larger wooden box. Only taken out for use. Treated as more precious than gold.
As to 'studying tea bowls'....... this is important....... get to someplace where you can study TEA. The Urasenke School seems to be all over the place. There is WAY more to making teabowls that are actually suitable as Chawan than most western potters realize. A lot of the teabowls you see made by western potters will not pass muster of a real Tea Master for Chanoyu use. Many western potters don't CARE about the traditional use.... but if you do........ you need to understand Tea.
In fact, I am giving a lecture presentation at NCECA in Providence next spring that is titled, "What makes a teabowl a Chawan?" where i will address some of the stuff that is not as evident as it might be. If you are going.... stop in and say "hi".
There you have it.
Here are some student's work in the Aka Raku intermediary firing process.
Here are some student's fired Aka Raku Chawan.

#62671 How Fast Do You Run Your Wheel When Centering?

Posted by JBaymore on 17 July 2014 - 09:24 PM

The speed of the shell isn't what dictates the function of the outcome. it is the skill of the hands.


Amen... and amen.


My favorite wheel is a Korean/Japanese wood kickwheel.  No momentum to speak of.





#62630 How Fast Do You Run Your Wheel When Centering?

Posted by JBaymore on 17 July 2014 - 03:43 PM

SLOW>>>>SLOW >>>>>>>SLOW.


Speed is the Dark Side........ decieve you it will. :ph34r:


Also...............don't confuse speed of revolution with torque (power).  Wheel HP affects torque rather than than speed. 





#62617 To Share Or Not To Share

Posted by JBaymore on 17 July 2014 - 12:19 PM

So when does copying happen between professionals?


It doesn't happen.  Because if one is copying in that fashion....... there is only one professional present. B)





#62616 Hakeme Slip Recipe

Posted by JBaymore on 17 July 2014 - 12:08 PM

Try the broom bristles..... I have one made with those to that works great.


Try every stiff coarse brush you can find.  I've used a toilet bowl brush in the past... that works good. (I'm a frugal potter like most, but in this case...... new... not used ;) ). 







#62452 Non-Legal Ways To Address Copying Issue

Posted by JBaymore on 14 July 2014 - 08:35 PM

If I spend any more time thinking about it, then I'm just doing what they want me to do: think about them.


Back to .... "Stay Calm and Make More Work."





#62346 Non-Legal Ways To Address Copying Issue

Posted by JBaymore on 13 July 2014 - 11:13 AM

Here again... like the "black clay" discussion... we simply do not have the WHOLE picture. One side profile.


I'd love to see pictures for the work of BOTH individuals side by side.


And then .... just for yucks..... put up some pictrues of "well respected" artists by the other two ...... side by side with the people (or works) THEY have been influcenced by.


It has often been said that the "originality" of your work is directly linked to the obscurity of your sources.





#62340 Mixing Black Clay Body - Cone 10 - Need Expertise

Posted by JBaymore on 13 July 2014 - 10:23 AM

 In this relationship/setting, for the instructor to deliberately share incomplete information without disclosure just strikes me as wrong. 


I and my colleagues (at the college level) frequently discuss how we gave a particular student some feedback on something........... and then later discovered that the person had taken that single piece of information and had ignored all the other things that they already knew about the ceramic process... and went off on a total "blinders on" tangent and did something totally absurd with that information.  And that action then of course "bit them in the butt"..........   And then they were flabbergasted that WE had given them that information.  (Eventually ,........ they usually see the context of what they did and how they screwed it all up.  Hindsight can be powerful.)


Maybe the instructor would have NEVER anticipated that this particular student would suddenly go off and produce a whole body of work with the untested reformulation and even plan on showing the work produced....... without taking all the knowledge that they already had about ceramics and doing things like the necessary TESTING WORK before ever doing such a thing. 


I again come back to the fact that we have NO idea the context of this whole discussion.


There are many "styles" of instruction.  In the US we geneally try to give "constructive feedback" and in some cases "prescriptive feedback".  In some cultures the norm is "destructive feedback".  I've heard tales of apprentices who had worked hard for a full day finding hundreds of the forms they'd made broken to bits the next morning with one single one left standing.  No other feedback.  Tough love.


I agree that if the instructor did this deliberately to cause the problem .......... NOT good.





#62339 Inspiration, Appropriation Or Downright Copying?

Posted by JBaymore on 13 July 2014 - 10:07 AM

Mel Jacobsen tells a very instructive story about "originality":


He was apprenticed in Japan. As the "American" he was looked at as the "creative one" amongst the apprentices. His sensei challenged him to come up with a new form. Most every night after he had completed the studio work he was doing for his senesi... he worked at coming up with a good original form. He would leave the piece on his sensei's shelves. The next day on his shelves would be a book opened to a picture of the form. This went on for about a year.


One assignment I use in my advanced BFA throwing course is a "copy the masters" assignment. I give the students a series of choices of a piece to recreate. (I do some specific editing as to who gets which choices.) These are to look like "3 dimentional Xerox copies". Finish fired... to match (brings in the full spectruim of the ceramic process learning). This assognment is intended to develop the EYE, and to develop handling skills. They never fully succeed........ and I don't really expect them to.  It is the pursuit that is important... not who "wins". Nothing wrong with copying..... if it is done in the appropriate context for the appropriate reasons. (Pieces are signed as "copies".)


So next we get to "traditional" ceramic work.


Master and apprentice. The apprentice spends (typically) something like 7 years working to make the master's pots. By the time they become independent, the work they produce looks basically identical to the master's. In a lot of cultures, this skill anmd trained eye is greatly applauded. The passing on of a tradition.


When your work stops loooking like other's pieces and look like yours... you've matured as an artist (not necessarily as a craftsperson). When you have amassed the technical and handling skills to flawlessly (most of the time) execute your ideas...... you've also matured as a craftsperson.


When you put the two togetehr.... you probably actually know what you are doing. :)





#62335 Non-Legal Ways To Address Copying Issue

Posted by JBaymore on 13 July 2014 - 09:42 AM

For non-legal ways of dealing with the copying......... you could blow up her workspace in the studio. That would certainly be "non-legal". ;)


Seriously.... keep making your work. You'll do it differently. Look at how many people try to make Malcom Davis and Tom Coleman American Shino pots. They don't.


"Stay Calm and Make More Work."





#62289 Mixing Black Clay Body - Cone 10 - Need Expertise

Posted by JBaymore on 12 July 2014 - 01:55 PM

One thing I have leared from teaching for 40 some years is that when you hear a story being told by someone else about what transpired... you are not always getting the 'whole picture'.  You are getting a single viewpoint on the genesis of the situation.   


Sometimes what the student hears/sees and what the instructor was saying/doing are completely different.


It would be interesting to hear the instructor's side of the same story about how the situation reached this point.


Iverall, Chris summed it all up nicely in her posting above.





#62163 Refiring Question

Posted by JBaymore on 10 July 2014 - 09:43 AM

Plates are flat objects sitting on THICK thermal masses called kiln shelves. When the kiln is heated up, the exposed thin plate rims will heat pretty quickly and evenly. But because of the thermal mass of the plate bottom and the kiln shelf, the poor circulation with kiln atmosphere on the back side of the plate, and the fact that radiant heat transfer (particularly if this is an electric kiln) is not typically hitting even the plates top surface well......... it can cause the plates (and low wide bowls) to crack.  Rim expands... bottom does not at the same time.


Almost the same effect happens in reverse if ther kiln is cooled too quickly due to the cooling retarding of the thermal mass of the plate bottom on the kiln shelf.  Rim contractss... bottom does not at the same time.





#62019 Slip Casting. Is It The Best Option For My Project?

Posted by JBaymore on 08 July 2014 - 12:11 PM

. Furthermore, you may want to research the demand for your product. Will these objects in clay stand up to similar products in glass?


Yeah... guaranteed.... offshore manufacturers will be doing knock-offs in a heartbeat if there is a market.  You'll need to get in fast, make the money... and be gone before the knockoffs that will be cheaper start to appear.


Posting that drawing probably was a bad idea.





#61878 Chimney Build

Posted by JBaymore on 06 July 2014 - 07:36 PM

There are things to be said for having a smaller kiln ALSO. I have a big wood kiln, a medium gas kiln, and a small electric kiln. I am thinking of adding a small gas kiln now......... maybe 6-8 cubic feet. For quick tests of ideas/glazes/bodies.


Will you "outgrow" the kiln .... likely. But you have to start somewhere. And starting with something you can fire often as a newer potter........ that is a GOOD thing.


Keep in mind.... maybe you can add a second kiln down the road.