Thursday, 3 November 2016

Gaiwans ... and notes on the accidental death of a temple jar

Some suitable autumn colours. All three gaiwans are around 100ml.

They may look sturdy but they're really thin (weighing around 150-170 gr for the three gaiwan parts in total). See how the light plays in this bowl. I was packing it up in the late afternoon and saw the light go right through it, so placed it in my kitchen window sill and took this picture.

It is not the first time I point this out, but I have a pet project, the quest for a red oilspot/ kaki glaze, that I pick up on an intermittent basis... Mostly it is hard to get excited about it nowadays, because of all the past failures. I still have a unattended-to kiln shelf that became so splattered with dark red glaze during the accidental death of a tianmu bowl... And the whole research process takes a lot of time and energy, too.  In this last kiln, I fired a porcelain bell jar  - one of my favourite jar shapes - thinking that the shape would be a perfect foil for the glaze with its gently flared wall and its concealed footring. I was right about that, it looked magnificient:

 Wonderful graduation from red to blackish, great lustre on the edges and shoulder - pretty much a success until I started to hear the jar shatter... Soon I could see cracks appear and I could see the light through them just like the great Leonard Cohen sings.... The jar continued to sing for most of the afternoon. Now, this can happen if you open the kiln before it is properly cooled down. That was not the case. Rather the problem seems to be that this glaze is viscuos (due to the zirconium in it maybe?) and since I did not have the same glaze on the interior, the tension in the pot was off balance. This is my guess. I shall try again, using the same glaze inside out.

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