ceramics

Primitive Technology: termite clay kiln & pottery

Digging clay out of a termite mound, using straw to reinforce it, and making a crude but very effective kiln to fire clay pieces to be used as roof tiles, a water jug, a blower and more. Brilliant.

There are many more of these great videos at the Primitive Technology site and for those who prefer, he has a Primitive Technology YouTube Channel.

[via The Kid Should See This]

Ueno San

My friend and neighbor Christine Owen apprenticed in Japan with this potter, Ueno San. This process especially the wood fire piece of the video, is what my neighbor Joy Brown does every year in her anagama kiln in Kent, the next town west of me. Both Christine and I not only put pieces in her fires (the kiln is huge), we help fire it. The kiln takes a week to load, a week to fire, and a week to cool.

This is a terrific process video on ceramics in general and what the Japanese tradition looks like in particular.

Luck Pot dinner

Maria's earring

Maria’s earring

Verbank, New York.

A group of women (artists, a poet, and a chef) get together for a special “luck pot” dinner every now and then. Five years ago they asked me to join them as “photographer” and I did, using my Canon 5D and some nice lenses. They loved the images and so, asked me again. I warned them that I now have smaller cameras but I’d give it a go.

I took close to 300 images with both my Ricoh GR and Sony RX100 III and whittled them down to 150 which I burnt on DVDs and sent them. I did very little processing, just a bit of noise reduction and bumped exposure a bit on the GR images which tended to be a bit under exposed in the low light of an evening dinner party.

It’s fun doing this sort of thing: being in the house of an artist who has all sorts of interesting things to photograph and watching these women present their various dishes in aesthetically beautiful ways.

No doubt I could have gotten better images with a Canon 5D III and 24-70mm f/2.8L lens but the small cameras were good enough and much less intrusive.

The Ricoh GR with its bigger sensor made more detailed images with deeper color, but they were consistently under exposed and the camera hunted for focus a lot. The Sony RX100 III nailed focus perfectly, the articulating LCD was very useful and while exposure was almost always perfect, the images lack the depth of the GR (sensor size matters). I was glad to have both cameras and I have a Fuji X100T on order which I’d have enjoyed using as well if it had arrived on time.

This was not a paying job; I know almost all of this group well and I’m happy to do this for them. I gave them the images to do as they like with as long as they cite me as the photographer, don’t alter them before sharing, and don’t sell them.

In the end, doing this kind of shooting helps make me a better photographer and I got a very nice meal with some nice people on top of it.

Garnishes

Garnishes

Coffee and shadows

Coffee and shadows

Eggs

Eggs

Bathroom wall

Bathroom wall

Persimmons

Persimmons

Matchbox

Matchbox

Sauce

Sauce

Kintsugi: The Art of Broken Pieces

Kintsugi: The Art of Broken Pieces from Greatcoat Films on Vimeo.

Japanese culture has a term for celebrating the beauty of imperfection: wabi-sabi.

Kintsugi (golden joinery) is all about not only fixing broken ceramics with lacquer, but celebrating the repair by painting over it with gold or silver leaf so that the repair (the fixed crack) is part of the “new” piece.

Many high end ceramic repairs are done in such a way that the repair is invisible. Kintsugi is a celebration of the art of the repair. Brilliant.

[via Colossal]

Potters of Japan

This is a fantastic two part documentary on ceramics in Japan produced in 1968 by Richard and Marj Peeler, american potters from Indiana. Part 1 above, Part 2 below.

I have a background in ceramics: BFA in 1975, MFA in 1980 both from the University of Oregon where the source for this post, Ken O’Connell taught basic design (among other things) and was on my MFA committee. Ken is on his way to Japan again soon and that’s why he sent out this link.

[via Ken O’Connell]

Joy Brown’s recent ceramic sculpture

Joy Brown ceramic Sculpture

Kent, Connecticut. I did some photo work for the artist Joy Brown who’s a good friend of mine. I’ve been doing this kind of work for her for many years and it’s wonderful to have such a great working relationship as well as a close friendship. Many times one of these will get in the way of the other but in fact, we’ve made it work well. No doubt part of the reason is that she’s a fine person who does exceptional work that’s a joy (pun) to photograph.

These pieces are out of the wood fire she did in her large anagama kiln this summer.

Joy Brown ceramic Sculpture

Joy Brown ceramic Sculpture

Joy Brown ceramic Sculpture

Joy Brown ceramic Sculpture