This mug was inspired by my karate style; Goju Ryu.
Goju Ryu means ‘hard/soft style’ (the kanji on this mug says ‘soft’ – yes, there is another, complimentary mug coming, but the ‘go’ mug wouldn’t be fired in time for Christmas so I left it for the new year)
At my Nidan grading this summer, O’Sensei told me ’Be as hard as the world makes you, and as soft as the world allows you to be.’ That was the inspiration for this piece.
Here is the ‘Ju’ cup in the raw – the technique used for the texture is the same as these mugs. I use shellac to paint on my design, in this case the kanji, wait for the shellac to dry then gently rub away the clay with a damp sponge. The areas where the shellac have dried stay positive. The shellac itself burns away in the first kiln firing.
The rest of the texture was done by filling my hands with a very wet mixture of clay and water and smoothing it over the sides of the mug until I was happy with the results.
I think pottery is about as ‘ju’ as I get, so it seemed like an appropriate medium. Clay needs balance; if it’s too wet, too dry, too stressed or if you’ve been working it for too long – it won’t work out. You have to be patient & sensitive – but still know when to muscle the clay into place. If that’s not Goju then I don’t know what is ;)
Just a random smattering of what I’ve been up to lately – Enjoy!
Following on the fun I had with my swirly mugs I tried to take the same technique to this vase. One thing I’m realizing is that the shellac doesn’t form a complete barrier against the underglaze, but I kind of like it that way.
I love the colours – this was inspired by the white sand and blue green colours of the beaches in Maui – a place I have been wanting to return to so I could take up surfing.
Another random thing are these earrings I made on the weekend:
Mom and I saw these at the Swarovski store at the mall on the weekend and decided to make our own versions. I love them, and they’re a far cry from being $120 a pair ;o)
Genuine Swarovski orchids (I love how they look like trilliums) hanging from sterling silver chain.
The design was inspired by these but I humbly admit that I like my version better.
- I’m not into hearts
- These particular stones have a front and a back to them – which to me doesn’t make sense on a flashy, dangly earring. I’d rather know that the sparkle factor would be the same no matter which way it was hanging!
In other news my sweater is off the needles and blocking – I’ll try it on as soon as it’s dry, make the buttons this weekend and decide what I’m doing with the neckline (possibly a hoodie)
It’s going to be sunny and 8 degrees in Toronto this weekend, welcome April!
Published March 9, 2011
Tags: mugs, pottery, shellac technique
These lovelies, just out of the kiln;
There is a fun technique involved here that I just learned, and that I think I will be addicted to for a while. It’s hard to tell in the photo, but not only is the filigree design a different colour than the mug body, but it’s in relief.
First you paint the texture on, using shellac.
Then you rub the clay gently with a damp sponge. The sponge starts to remove clay from your piece, but not where the shellac is – resulting in a raised design.
I then applied my underglaze. The shellac prevents the raised design from receiving the underglaze, which gave me the two-toned effect.
In the bisque firing, the shellac burns away in the kiln. Afterwards I coated it with a clear glaze, resulting in this delicious, adorable set of mugs. There is actually a big teapot that goes with them, but they came out of the kiln first and I couldn’t wait to blog about them!
It’s a good day for a hot cuppa something because, in other news it’s snowing in Toronto. There is a myth that the Inuit have 200 different words for snow… well Torontonians have different tones for snow, for example;
- SNOW! – Usually happens around mid November. It’s said with delight and pleasant surprise. This type of snow covers the drab greys left behind by October’s splendour, and heralds the coming holiday season. Ice skating, hot chocolate, and best of all, warm knitted items!
- Snow… – Usually said with some exhaustion in the voice, around early January. This snow happens just after the January thaw that always comes along to tease us with thoughts of spring. The holidays are over, your dress pants all have salt stains, you’re dying for a pedicure but feel that there isn’t any point.
- Snow…?! – Incredulous tone of voice to this one, tinted with depression and maybe even mild disgust. This is the snow we get in the long dark eternity of March. We’ve had enough, it’s bloody cold, and damp to boot. Today this is the kind of snow we have. It gets better… a month hence there is a good chance that it will still be snowing, and don’t ask how a Torontonian feels about snow in April.
That makes it all the better to have warm, bright, cheerful mugs like these to wrap my hands around on a day like today!