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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tea-bowl for Monica, #31 of 36, "Shino Tears"

     "Streaks of lightning, striking down,
      Thirty-one is crying, 'I"m almost done!'"

Bowl #31. I'm on the last row.

Most agree that 'Shino' in Japanese, means "white'. In wood-fire, this one turned out anything but white, though a few drips did turn the more classic Shino soft white color.

It flashed intently red in areas where the glaze was thin. Ash fluxed the clay and dripped from the lip.

Most likely I wasn't happy with this piece after I glazed it.

I washed the first application off, and reapplied the Shino sometime later. The wet biscuit made the new glaze run like water; drips built up on the lower edge.

There's a saying amongst Shino potters that glaze should be applied generously. Shino more than most glazes, does lend itself to a heavy application, as the feldspathic base fuses to the clay, but doesn't melt per se, or threaten to run off. It takes a furious heat to melt a good Shino and make it run.

Shino is fussy about what it sits upon however. I've learned the saying "Shino first, or be cursed", the hard way, more than once! When Shino doesn't like my pots, it crawls off, flakes off, flies off like a bird not happy being on a branch.

When Shino sits happily on its clay roost, a lot may be put upon its shoulders. In fact, almost any other glaze may be applied over Shino. Sometimes the results are interesting, sometimes not.

Temoku is one glaze that tends towards runny. Crystalline glazes are the worst culprits for running. If one's not careful they'll drip all over the shelf!

White teardrops.

I like glazes thick, and thin. It all depends. The key is the spirit of generosity when glazing! Are you just dipping your pot, or are you baptizing it? I'm not trying to get Christian here. This is ritual, applicable to all belief systems. Pottery is made with ritual, and the ceremonial dunking of an object meant to hold fluids, in a fluid itself, is ceremonial.

One must not be parsimonious! Hence the generous spirit employed during the dunking. If a child says "I"m afraid of water" you don't hold her head down for a minute aka some fiction by Truman Capote. You sprinkle water on that one's nose.

Thin applications definitely shows splashes and slight touches of the potter's fingers in a way that a thick application won't or can't. Even the thickest Shino will take a fingerprint as perfectly as a piece of freshly wedged clay.

This cup is fairly large. . .  for creative hands.


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