Sunday, September 16, 2012

still-sound 105. Shino

I love a nice bit of shino.  Who doesn't?  This style of glaze originated in the Mino and Seto areas of 16th Century Japan.  The surface tends to be milky white with random markings caused by accumulations of gray carbon.  The tea cup pictured above comes from a book I borrowed from Evan, my ceramics teacher.  I asked if he stole it from the Rochester Institue of Technology Art Library, like the last book I borrowed from him.  He had not.  He bought it in Shino country when he took a long tour through Japan.  Here is the cover of the legally-purchased book:

When I use shino glaze I apply it to the bisqueware in a very thin layer.  The fired surface is translucent like polished Carrera marble.  The first time I used it, the coat of glaze was particularly thick.  I had a habit of dipping objects too slowly.  When the bowl came out of the kiln I thought something had gone horribly wrong.  It appeared curdled like spoiled milk.  I now know that 'crawling patterns' are characteristic, in fact, desirable in shino glazing.  Like in these beautiful old bowls I recently saw at the Mingei Museum in San Diego.

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