Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Post 179 New Shohin pots

After this year's show circuit I've been enthused to compete in more classes and so am working away to rapidly develop this season a few  potential shohins that have been on the 'back bench' for a while. I also have a few older trees that I've radically shortened (and posted about) and will work these into smaller pots too. So having something to put these trees into to show has been a motivator to make some stock and build the colour palette.  I'm happy to hang on to these pots especially the semis, no S47 and S48 which are very cute. I've got a couple of little benjamina 'shortys' looking very prospective for these.

The other motivator is a booking I have in a couple of weeks with one of our local Bonsai groups to do a pottery demonstration. I think a lot of people were very interested in and enjoyed the demo done by our Chinese pottery master friend at the Gold Coast conference. This will be an opportunity for a few more people to get a view of the process, albeit a little different, up quite 'close and personal'.

I've had a little warning of the slot and so the pots from this firing  will be useful to show first hand what the opportunities are and also to have something to sell if anyoine is inclined.

There were 16 pots in the last glaze firing - the 11 Shohins shown here as well as 5 mid sized oval and bowed wall rectangular pots. I posted a shot of the pots fresh from the bisque firing recently. The Shohins can be packed in and with the others being mid sized it was a productive glaze firing.

I was also keen to try out some of my 'new browns' from my recent Glaze trial 9. A number of them are here in this group along with a couple of new blues, also from that trial.

S41   Oval with square rim and lower rib    193 x 142 x 44

S42  Rounded rectangular with rounded rim and lower rib   175 x 130 x 52

S43  Oval with rounded rim and lower rib   175 x 130 x 52180 x 134 x 52

S44  Rectangular  165 x 115 x 50

S45  Oval  166 x 122 x 44

S46  Oval  175 x 132 x 55

S47  Square semi cascade   117 x 117 x 70

S48  Square semi cascade   117 x 117 x 70

Here's that little benjamina photoshopped into the pot. With the coming season's growth ahead I think a nice match.

 S49  Oval with textured walls   160 x 120 x 44
S50  Oval  178 x 127 x 46
S51 Rectangular    165 x 120 x 50

Monday, 20 October 2014

Post 178 Seasonal development - grow and cut

In south east Qld we are having perfect growing weather not to hot and not too cool, like goldilocks porridge, just right. This is very typical of our spring weather before the real heat and humidity strikes. Our trees have had a good run over the last 6 to 8 weeks and that time is pretty good for a grow and cut cycle here. We can get anywhere up to 4 or 5 of these cycles to build bulk and ramification.
I’ve got a couple of trees here today that I’ve just pruned for the next cycle. Both have had their tops restrained by tip pruning while the lower branches have been allowed to run.

The first one is a malus which I posted back in August when it was in its beautiful autumnal red. Today its before and after pruning photos. The wire will only need to be there for perhaps 4 or 5 weeks and in 6 or 8 weeks will look like the first photo again.

All that growth builds the trunk and primary branches developing taper and proportion. As you can see I’m happy to leave the top of the tree to be developed when it is the right time; that can always be done easily but if the lower branches aren’t developed now, then later is generally not an available option.

This one is a corky bark elm and has gotten pretty wild. Once again the top of the tree has been clipped to maintain the fine branches and the lower growth allowed to run. Building trunk mass over the years and keeping a tree in a presentable shape can be a slow process. 

And here it is after a good tidy up. Not too much wire in use and the foliage pads have had a good pinching to open them out and let the light in; ready to go again. If I was interested in further developing fine branches now would be a time for total defoliation. Leaving the leaves in place is more likely to result in new individual terminal growth, but that’s ok for a repetition of this cycle.
On my place I have a few big eucalypt trees and November is like another season here – we call it ‘bark’, because that’s when the trees shed their bark and generally make a real mess for a month. Well they’ve started and the first thing to get shed was a big paper wasp nest. I don’t know that I’ve seen one quite this big before and am very pleased I wasn’t around when it fell.


Monday, 13 October 2014

Post 177 Test tiles from glaze trial no 9

In my last glaze trial I continued my hunt for the 'perfect browns'. I started with a limited number of recipes that I liked from trial no 7 and then made a number of minor changes. Over previous trials the strategy has been  to bracket the inter-relationships between the colourants and then in this trial to test the fine detail. It is a valuable process and after a while you get to more deeply understand the colour impact of any one colourant and then the interactions between them.

 The base glazes I used have been described previously in Post 30 and Post 32. Those posts were over 2 years ago and this trial is testament to the value in finding a useful base and sticking with it.

 In each of the following pictures I have include the tile that was the starting point for the series - usually of 4 variations. The final picture is of a blue series where the same process was followed.
For the browns the colourants are generally combinations of Zinc and Chrome, Red IO and Yellow ochre and Cobalt. I haven't used Manganese. I find with my bases that it produces a muddy colour without much life. There is an interesting difference in the iron oxides. The RIO seems to impart an olive tone at low concentrations through to a yellow brown at higher, while the yellow ochre gives more of the red brown tones. So 4%YO and 1%RIO will be entirely different from 1%YO and 4%RIO.
I just added up all the recipes I've trialled to date and it comes to 622. That's 9 firings and 622 test tiles.I'm just starting to be able to predict an outcome, but always surprised at the result.


Now I've got 18 pots to glaze from the last bisque firing and will be using a number of these new formulations for the trial.