Friday, October 01, 2004

Dear Charlie:

I should probably be ashamed of myself. I just spent the last hour reading up on Japanese pottery, rather than working. *sheepish* Worse, I'm gonna waste another several minutes blogging about it!

But I honestly just got on-line to look up one little thing about sake, which fascinates me though I've never tasted it, and sidetracked by the rich tradition of shuki, the pottery that should accompany any true sake experience.

Now, I've taken enough pottery classes to have a minor in the craft, if I wanted to push the issue with the college. I've made plenty of RAKU pottery -- just ask my beloved sister, who has been plagued with both RAKU and high-fire pottery from me for years -- and I love the whole process.

With high-fired pottery, you blast the hell out of your creations for, like, 13 hours, then require a good day for the kiln to cool enough to open the doors without cracking the pottery. With RAKU, you fire a piece for about an hour and a half, drop it in a closed container of shredded newspaper or sawdust, etc., for another half an hour, then dunk it in a bucket of water and call it good.

It's instant gratification, baby. I love it!

At any rate, upon reading about the craft of making tokkuri and guinomi (flasks and cups), I felt the ol' pottery ape jump right back onto its accustomed spot on my back. I want to take the pottery workshop class again and make my own shuki. I think drinking my first taste of sake out of my own, hand-made guinomi, pouring from my personally crafted tokkuri would just about leave me in ault of the whole process.

Not that it would take much, of course. Hell, just knowing the Japanese words for these implements makes me pretty damn happy. *grin*

At any rate, if I can scratch up enough blunt, I may take my beloved pottery class again in January and make dozens of sets of my own shuki with which I'll plague my family and friends. I can already see myself carving in katakana, hiragana, and kanji as I used to carve in the Chiefs arrowhead symbol, playing with glazes and silts, and dinking around with shapes until I find just the right one. I love throwing pottery on the wheel, and this gives me the perfect excuse to blow another $275 on another semester of enjoying the hell out of myself.

Err...if I can afford it....

It's a long time to wait, but as fast as this year's gone already, January will be here before I know it and I won't have saved up enough. *smirk*


At 11:18 PM, Blogger Joely Sue Burkhart said...

As beautiful as the teaset you made for me is, I can't wait to see what you'd make in the Japanese style!! Maybe Santa will help with donations for the class?

At 11:42 AM, Blogger GutterBall said...

Ack! Don't tell everyone reading that I did something so girlie as make a blasted TEA SET!! Egad! My reputation as a hard-ass will NEVER survive at this rate! hehehe

Thanks for calling it beautiful, though. The color did turn out quite nicely! That deep, ox-blood red....

I can only hope about the Santa donations. *sigh* I can't count on either bonuses or a raise, so I really don't know how I can raise that much money and still have enough for year-end property taxes and Christmas presents and such. We'll just have to see.

But I can't wait to try! I mean, I can almost SEE 'em, you know? And it's been a while since I got to take my class. The last time I was so disappointed because all those gifts were destroyed by the jerk-off who didn't read which type of glaze he was using.

Hn. You notice losing a quarter of the pots I'd made that year doesn't keep me from wanting to throw another bunch! *grin*

At 9:28 PM, Blogger none said...

Well, I would love one. Handmade. Is the class expensive. The Fellowship could take up donations. Giggling. It's sound like a great experience to me. Don't put it off. Go for it. Janie

At 9:57 PM, Blogger GutterBall said...

Heh. Nice thought, but I wouldn't accept it anyway. However, if a set of shuki turns out particularly well, I'll definitely send it your way! *grin*

A set for you, a set for Joely, a set for me, probably one for Kristi.... Whatever! I love cranking out pottery! There's nothing more relaxing. Even baking (of which I did a shitload today) doesn't cut it quite as well!

At 8:39 PM, Blogger none said...

It's a great art form. You know we sometimes whine about people calling our writing a hobby. Well, let's be honest, these hobby people at all these craft shows are talented. And they work hard. I mean, I have seen some pottery that blew me away. And rugs. Painted ones. Gorgeous. Iron work. I saw this woman take old wood and make furniture from it. It was wild. I think I am going to call my writing a hobby and hope I do as well as those people in the coming Autumn Fest. I am sure to buy a birdhouse! (g)

At 8:14 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Your reputation? Laughing here Molly! I think your reputation is safe here with us. But I understand your love of pottery. I used to throw a bit when I was younger. There is nothing more soothing than than starting with a lump of clay, letting your hands get all muddy and shaping that lump into something amazing.

Oh, and Saki is very sweet. Or at least the Saki that I have had, but it packs a wallop! Don't ever take a big clump of wasabi and then down it with Saki...Ouch!

Head hurts a lot the next day!

At 10:09 AM, Blogger GutterBall said...

Ooooh, no! GutterBall don't do wasabi! Burn-your-tongue-off-spicy is NOT my game!

However, I would like to try sake. It just seems like something I'd like -- not as heavy or bitter as wine, not as much bite as hard alcohol. But yes, I've definitely heard that it'll mess you up quick! *grin*

As for the pottery, I can never get enough. I love it. Building pottery is nice enough, but my true love is the wheel. I love throwing it. I love the symmetry, the give and take, the way you help shape the clay rather than forcing it into submission. If you try to make it do something other than it wants, it'll cave on you. It's a compromise between you, and there's something so soothing in that. It's having control, but being willing to give it up now and then, too.

Same with the glazing. I mean, you pick the glaze, so you have ultimate control, but how that glaze reacts with the atmosphere inside the kiln is anybody's guess! I had one pot that was supposed to turn that beautiful, deep ox-blood red turn out summer-sky blue! That's not even technically possible! But it happened. Someone had labelled a glaze wrong, and you really can't tell the final color from the color of unfired glaze. *shrug* But that's the chance you take, and there's something liberating about that.


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