The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic


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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby JBaymore » Jan 6th, '10, 10:04

AdamMY wrote:Heres another question, this one possibly a bit more personal.

How did you get started with your art?

Short and sweet but I'm interested in hearing the answers.


Adam,

Will do ASAP... but I am busy installing a solo exhibition at the moment:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=2 ... 1813411552

best,

................john
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby Littlepig2 » Jan 6th, '10, 11:03

ronin cera... wrote:Adam,

Thanks for posing these wonderful questions...... I'd like to address at a later date however as we had a kitchen fire on New Years day making our house un-livable....... tough to contribute from the hotel lobby :(

Wishing all a happy and SAFE New Year.
R


Wow R! Sad to hear you are in a hotel due to a fire. I do hope your house is made livable sooner than later.
ja

Hi Adam,
About your question. Here is a little blurb I wrote for my brochure on how I got started with my art...well the ceramic side of art.

It was a 20 cubic foot gas kiln that snared me—one that was approaching 2300 degrees Fahrenheit. It was September 1997 when I rounded the corner of the darkened kiln room. A low rumbling shook the place.

There on the floor I saw Will, my first ceramic instructor, on his knees peering into the flame. It was too much. I turned and fled. From that moment I was hooked. I was found in that studio working as much as allowed.

A year later I returned to school & earned another bachelors degree, this in in Fine Arts ceramic studio—of course. I am also pleased to report that you can now find me on my knees in front of similar flaming hot kilns.
ja
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby ginkgo » Jan 8th, '10, 07:10

Robert,
I am very sorry too to know what happens....dust can go everywhere and it will take time to clean and so on. I hope you and your family that everything will turn for the best from that ...and hope 2010 will come with very good news for you ... best wishes
ginkgo
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby JBaymore » Jan 12th, '10, 16:55

AdamMY wrote:Heres another question, this one possibly a bit more personal. How did you get started with your art?


Way back in high school days, I was fortunate to have a strong art program and a good art teacher. As a kid, I had always been interested in art.....and was a "maker".

When I was 13 years old, I had the good fortune to be invited by a good friend's parents to spend the whole summer camping with them in the southwestern USA. Being an eastern boy, I'd never seen Mother Earth "naked". The rugged rocky and earthy landscape just fascinated me. The amazing colors and textures were absolutely fantastic. I chewed up roll after roll of Kodachrome. The muted earth tones with the occasional light greens where a bit of water allowed growth was stunning.

I graduated from high school with one of the art awards, but being a bit "practical minded" and following the "expected course", I headed off to college (UMass, Amherst) to study a nice science field major; Marine Biology. That all changed when I had my first elective course slot open second semseter. I took Ceramics 1.

I touched clay and it was as if I had discovered a long lost friend (see below). Additionally, I had one of those inspriational teachers that makes a difference in your life, a wonderful ceramist and sculptor named Brenda Minisci. The combination of the two was powerful, and by the end of second semester, I had taken the BFA major examination in order to change my major into the BFA ceramics program. I never looked back. And to their credit, my parents supported that seemingly absurd decision.

In Ceramics 1, Brenda showed an old black and white 16 mm film by Robert and Edith Sperry called "Village Potters of Onda". It documented the life and work of a tiny pottery village called Onta Sarayama near the city of Hita on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu. I was totally blown away at the simple but rewarding lifestyle and the naturalism of the work. (It certainly resonated with the 60's "back to nature" and simple lifestyle viewpoint.) And I also saw the practical use and appreciation for those earth-tone colors and textures that I so loved as a 13 year old kid.

Bang! That single film started a love of Japanese pottery and culture that was to direct my study and life for the past forty years. That film also started a love of woodfire and specifically the noborigama style kiln. After only one semester I knew what I wanted to do with my life.

As a young potter learning the craft in the late 60's and early 70's, I soon became aware of "A Potter's Book" by the the English potter Bernard Leach; the "bible" for clayworkers at the time. That quickly lead to finding out about Leach's friend, Hamada Shoji. Once again I hit upon something that just "connected"; I was totally taken with Hamada's work. I then began to study all I could about him and the town of Mashiko. That interest eventually broadened to studying about other Japanese potters and pottery centers.

A long rewarding path has ensued since then, all with an orientation to Japan and a shared aesthetic with the Japanese. This interest eventually lead me to travel to and live for periods in Japan..... and also to actually winning a rather major award for my work in the town of Mashiko, in a competition juried by Hamada Shoji's first son in pottery, Hamada Shinsaku, and Ningen Kokuho (Living National Treasure) Shimaoka Tatsuzo amongst other major figures. I realized the true significance of that award when I arrived to find Joan Mondale repsesenting the US Ambassador to Japan (her husband Fritz) and the Cultural Atachee' from the US government there at the award cceremony. That honor lead to friendships and associations in Japan that continue to this day.

So...... back to that "long lost friend" idea I mentioned above. In a way, clay was a long lost friend. It was only well after I had changed my major to ceramics that my mother mentioned to me that our family had a long history in pottery! I never knew it. A number of generations on my mother's side of the family had worked in the traditional pottery industry that was located in the Trenton area of New Jersey. These were the Mercer and Cook potteries. So I am technically an Xth generation potter...... with a little gap in there of one generation.

So there you have "the early days". :wink:

best,

...................john
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby AdamMY » Jan 25th, '10, 22:22

I was kind of hoping that other people would have questions to ask the artisans also. With all the discussions about glazes in other threads, it seems that quite a bit of chemistry is involved.

So is the knowledge about ceramic properties, and chemical properties of glazes and how to achieve different colors come from intensive studying, experimentation, or piecemeal where a wealth of knowledge was acquired bit by bit over your pottery career?

I hope this isn't a loaded question, but being a student of math I've acquired knowledge in each of these fashions, and I feel the later two tend to lead to better retention.
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby Seeker » Jan 26th, '10, 03:22

I have a question that I thought I'd pose here for our distinguished artisans.
This is inspired by a most recent couple of posts on the artisans topic under the Ericka O'Rourke (Elm Studios) thread.
Here's the question:
How can one tell -or- can one tell, if the beautiful "glass pool" chadamari or bottom of your yunomi (or whatever type vessel) is formed from ash as a part of the firing process versus pieces of glass or marbles added to the piece and then fired?
Also, what percentage of 'recycled glass' that might be used in such a way, say old bottles, etc might contain lead (or other potentially harmful stuff that could leach into tea/food)?
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby Victoria » Jan 26th, '10, 05:44

Well Seeker you beat me to it. I knew this questions was coming, in fact, I have been doing some research in the background on it, waiting to have more information before I brought it to light here on TC.

Considering how the raku thread got everyone worried I really wanted to research and present some facts before I jumped in with my latest concern: Glass pooled bowls. I own several and have been using them and I am seeing more and more members buy them and more and more potters using glass. Even now I have seen it making an appearance in some Hagi.

What initially caused my concern was a small yunomi I bought from a Canadian vendor. When I touched the bottom I could feel a crack in the glass. That really freaked me out and I have never used the cup. The thought that a tiny sliver might come loose ...

So I became leery. Then on Etsy in the MudStuffing store I saw a lovely piece with pooled glass labeled NOT FOR FOOD USE. I wrote to Keith and got a very nice PM back explaining why. I have also been in contact with Ericka O'Rourke Of Elm Studios, who perhaps will weigh in here herself.

Before everyone gets all freaked out I want to stress that there are TWO very different issues here - the same as we had on the raku thread.

My concern on the yunomi I bought (Canadian) was the glass crack and possible sliver. I am not talking about whether cracks can harbor bacteria that can have possible effects. It is the same situation that muddied the discussion with raku.

That being said I feel much better now about MY situation, but I fear a can of worms is about to open regarding the secondary discussion.
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby Victoria » Jan 26th, '10, 06:17

Actually now that I have posted and re-read Seekers original post I guess there are 3 safety concerns here. I want to make sure people understand what we are discussing. While Seeker's concern seems to be glass with lead content being used, my issue is with splintering or cracking. The third being the possible bacteria harboring, which frankly is a non-issue for me. But that is my opinion. If the glass does not have lead content, and it is fused smoothly with no surface cracks, I have no problem with it.
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby JBaymore » Jan 26th, '10, 08:38

Seeker/ Victoria, et all: I'll hit on this one later today..... and maybe see the "Is this Teaware Safe" thread too.... some stuff there vaguely relates to this. I'm off to a professional photo shoot of my exhibition in 1/2 hour....so no time now.

Excellent questions...... but like the comments I made in the other recent thread... unfortunately no "simple" answers.

best,

.................john
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby Littlepig2 » Jan 26th, '10, 10:14

Victoria wrote:Actually now that I have posted and re-read Seekers original post I guess there are 3 safety concerns here. I want to make sure people understand what we are discussing. While Seeker's concern seems to be glass with lead content being used, my issue is with splintering or cracking. The third being the possible bacteria harboring, which frankly is a non-issue for me. But that is my opinion. If the glass does not have lead content, and it is fused smoothly with no surface cracks, I have no problem with it.


Morning, With all these glaze questions you all are opening a very complicated box which should be opened. I am only a humble BFA with about 10 years of study and glaze testing experience, so I should have little problem being brief. :wink:

1. I am with Seeker on the question regarding lead content only I go another step when I see the pools of cracked glass at the bottom of pots. Glass (and glaze) gets its colors from oxides and stains, cobalt blue, copper blue/green, cadmium red and so on. I need to know if any of that is present and if the glass melt is stable enough not to leach those oxides into my drink.

2. While pooled glass is lovely it has different properties than glaze and pot. This becomes very evident with Victoria's concern over potential splintering.

a. glass expands and contracts at different rates than glaze and clay
b. glass has very little stabilizing clay (alumina) to hold it to the pot during the firing and it will run right off the pot if it has no place to pool.
It is these concepts and my experience on seeing lots of badly cracking pools of glass at the bottom of plates that has led to my opinion that very possible the "badly fit" glass can fracture & splinter from the pot over time.

I think I said I'd be brief so stopping now.
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby Chip » Jan 26th, '10, 12:04

:mrgreen: Call this "Moderator intuition," but I sense this has the potential to get a bit "fired up."

So I would ask, please discuss openly and thoroughly, but also respectfully of others.

Thanks,
Chip
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:mrgreen:
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby Chip » Jan 26th, '10, 12:25

Since this was born from a ElmStudio topic/pieces ...
Image

Owning 5 Elmstudio recycled glass bottom pieces, I can tell you they are amazing to see first hand, so much more so than in the photos. Clearly there is a wave of interest in the glass bottom chawan, yunomi. I even saw a Yamane Seigan glass bottom guinomi.

Therefore, it is a good discussion to have. And Ericka from ElmStudios is hopefully going to also respond in her topic.

I think TCers in general are much more attentative of their teaware ... with each use. I tend to inspect each piece before using, each time. Perhaps a bit OC, but I truly appreciate the individual beauty of each piece, and I think others do as well. I have noticed no surface cracks by touch and sight on these Elmstudio pieces. If I did, I would have reservations in continuing that particular piece's use.

So, I do thoroughly inspect each of these glass pieces prior to using. They are not used daily either, but maybe a few times a month.

I do not wisk directly in the glass bowls, mainly because they are around 4.25" wide and have tapered sides, mostly. Plus I do not want to risk scratching the beautiful glass. So I wisk in a seperate Korean bowl that has a nice pouring spout, then pour into the chawan.

Oh, I do preheat the chawan, but well below boiling.

A byproduct of this practice is likely increasing the longevity of a glass bottom piece. IMHO. And long term avoiding of problems mentioned above.
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby Victoria » Jan 26th, '10, 13:15

Chip wrote::mrgreen: Call this "Moderator intuition," but I sense this has the potential to get a bit "fired up."

So I would ask, please discuss openly and thoroughly, but also respectfully of others.

Thanks,
Chip
Immoderate TeaDrinker who happens to Moderate
:mrgreen:


Yes, I too had this feeling which is why I wanted to do some research and also why I felt it was necessary to make sure we are all on the same page about the different concerns here.

I also have several Ericka bowls and would like to make it very clear, that my specific concern was with a bowl I purchased from a Canadian vendor. Ericka's bowls feel smooth with no cracks to the touch and are lovely to behold and a joy to use.
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby Seeker » Jan 26th, '10, 13:46

Thought I'd share a photo of my "glass bottomed" kids:
Image
(click to enlarge)
Clockwise, left to right, starting at top left the artists are Strommen, Lum, O'Rourke.
I've always had the sense that the Lum chawan is "natural" glass formed by the crystallization of keawe ash in the firing process. I originally assumed the strommen was crystallized ash as well, and same with O'Rourke. But, again, an experienced ceramicist pm'd me about the strommen, and with the recent info from Ericka's thread, I'm curious.
So again, how can one tell if the "glass pool" is crystallized ash (if I even have this process named correctly) or glass added?
I notice with the O'Rourke and Strommen pieces, there is a border around the glass (much more pronounced in the strommen piece) - something that formed in the firing? This is not present in the Lum piece. Could this be a hint about the process the piece underwent?
Lastly, and most importantly - I mean absolutely no disrespect at all to any artist I have mentioned. Ericka's work is STUNNING, as is Cory's and Jay's. Just beautiful. I merely want to be informed, learn more about this wonderful process, and of course, be safe and healthy.
all the best,
Jim (aka - seeker)
Last edited by Seeker on Jan 26th, '10, 13:50, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby bearsbearsbears » Jan 26th, '10, 13:49

Seeker wrote:<snip>
Here's the question:
How can one tell -or- can one tell, if the beautiful "glass pool" chadamari or bottom of your yunomi (or whatever type vessel) is formed from ash as a part of the firing process versus pieces of glass or marbles added to the piece and then fired?
<snip>


Regarding just this question, it's difficult to tell if the glass pool is ash, recycled glass, frit, or none of the above.

Regarding ash: Some types of non-wood-ash are very high in silica (rice hull ash is ~96% silica. rice straw ash ~77%, oak straw ash ~47%). My guess is kiawe ash is similarly high in silica.

Most wood ashes, however, are very low in silica. This varies by where the wood was (trunk vs. branch), but wood ash from most kinds of trees has up to 4% silica. Wood ashes traditionally act to melt a glaze, not to form part of the glass.

Regarding the others: glass bottles are made of fritted silica, so differentiating between them and new powdered, unprocessed frit would be difficult or impossible.

Also, any clear glossy glaze that crazes will have a similar appearance to recycled glass or frit. Check out this glaze I made, which has no recycled glass or ash in it:

Image

Just putting a thick layer of that glaze at the bottom of a piece would have the same effect.

In the end, I don't think it's all that important, but it's an interesting question :)
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