Recently in introducing at research project to my beginning hand building students I stumbled across a makers work whom I was unfamiliar with but whose work grabbed my eye and my interest. While perusing the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum I found a teabowl of his made of a white clay and decorated with red glaze. The teabowl had been fired upside down so the juicy red glaze drips made their way up towards and beyond the lip of the piece. The soft undulating profile of the teabowl while slightly boxy retained a organic earthiness and was counterpointed with precisely crude incisions which rhythmically danced around and sectioned off the surface of the exterior of the bowl. These incisions and punctuations were softened by the thick luscious red gloopy glaze applied to the upper half of the piece but played a prominent role in balancing the lower half of the piece giving detail which holds its own against the bright red glaze.

Yamada Kazu was born in 1954 and makes a variety of different styles of Japanese pottery. He is known for modernized flamboyant twists on traditional styles. His Shino wares are juicy and fluid with rich warm reddish browns or bold with strong white Shinos and bold iron decorations. Beyond Shino and Oribe wares he makes warm yellow to green Seto pots as well which have delicate surface decoration that still keeps in theme with his other works. Kazu was born into a ceramic family. His father Yamada Kenkichi, was a highly respected ceramic artist as well whom received many awards and accolades and his uncle, Yamada Jōzan, was a designated a living national treasure of Japan in 1998. Under the tutalage of Suzuki Osamu at Osaka University of the Arts and later mentor Katō Tokuro, Kazu developed a voice and interest in reinterpreting the tea wares of the Momoyama period with a modernized take. In 1976 he moved to Echizen Pottery Village and set up his first kiln where he began production of his wares. His work has been collected by many notable collections and museums and covers a wide breadth of styles all of which build on traditional forms and styles while moving forward with new twists and explorations of form, glaze, marks and inspirations.

images from Stratford Gallery , Dai Ichi Arts, Robert Yellin Gallery, Gallery Kurimoto

I wanted to take a second and share some new work with you all. These are pieces that came out of firings this week and last week. They are all going up in my Etsy shop if they haven’t already. Take a second to check them out here

One of the biggest hurdles we all face as makers in the clay world is the need for clay. Do we buy our clay? Do we make it at home? What should we do with all the scraps? Well here is my solution. I haven’t found a commercial clay that I really liked so I have been mixing my own clay for most of my career. That was all pretty easy when I was in school and had access to a clay mixer but what do you do when you have finished school or the residency? Buying clay from a supply adds cost to your production and then you have a lot of cardboard and plastic waste to deal with. My solution has been to buy my dry materials and then mix them in a 30 gallon trash can with a heavy duty drill (purchased from a pawnshop) with a paint mixer attachment. I mix my clay to yogurt type consistency before drying it in purpose built drying racks.

The measurements of the frames of the drying racks are 25.5″ for the long side, 15.5″ for the short side and the depth is determined by the 2×4 itself. That measurement for the “4” is actually 3.5″. I use hardware cloth (the metal screen in the bottom) cut to fit the frame with about 2″ of overlap that I can fold over the edge and attach on the side of the rack. Once the hardware cloth has been attached I use 2×2’s cut to width to span across the bottom of the rack. These do two things. first they allow airflow underneath and around the drying clay. Second they provide support for the hardware cloth so that it doesn’t bulge or warp as badly. Having the 2×2’s allows you to stack these racks neatly and still have air flow and drying happening while in use. Before I put my clay in to these I line them with fabric which is long enough to fold over the top of the slip to prevent any particulates from contaminating the clay. Generally I use old sheets for this.

The In having worked with this size of drying rack for several years now I would actually recommend scaling them down a bit. These are designed to hold one 5 gallon bucket of wet clay and that gets very heavy. I would estimate in the 60 lb range or more. Because of the size and weight of these when full they are difficult to move for some people. Another notable issue with them is that in my time in Texas and New Mexico where it gets pretty hot and dry if you allow these to sit in the sun directly to dry you will end up with drier edges around the exterior and gooey slippy clay in the middle. I would recommend for those making these that they scale them down to fit your studio practice and ability.

For my reclaim I do a similar thing. I allow my trimmings and scraps to completely dry out and then add my throwing water to the scraps in a 5 gallon bucket where they slake down quickly and easily. After allowing these to sit for a day or so I use the same corded drill with mixer attachment to blend the reclaim to a homogenous consistency. Occasionally I will need to add more water so that the slip can mix and move in the bucket better. Generally I use my reclaim as the base to start off a new batch of clay and add the slip to my 30 gallon trashcan and then add more water and my dry materials making sure to mix in between additions. However, you can just mix up your reclaim and lay it out to dry in these racks until workable.


It’s been a while since I’ve highlighted any other makers on my feed so I thought that I would take this beautiful Fall Sunday to write a little about another maker. John Glick was a tremendous talent in the ceramic world. His work has an amazing breadth of technique and style which melded a medley of abstract brushwork, asymmetric forms, extruded components, and stamped and additive relief. His abstract brushwork and glaze application seems at times unpredictable lending itself to the somewhat surprising nature of his forms and construction methods. While I used to dislike his work, finding the colors muddy, the abstract decorations busy and confusing, and the forms occasionally clunky with dated components I have turned a corner in the last decade. As I have taught more and worked in a variety of different studios with differing communities, what he accomplished with his work seems more inspiring. Within a 50 year career he showed a true mastery not only of the medium but of the art of exploration. He took on new tools and methodologies and found ways to keep them fresh and interesting in ways that I would never have considered. I think that this change happened as I was looking at his handouts from a workshop he did at Santa Fe Clay. As I read through his articles and material new doors and avenues opened up for me to consider and that sparked a new interest in reexamining his work. There has been so much written about him and his contributions to the field that I am not sure what more I can add.

Hi friends,

I have decided to start making some changes to my ecommerce presence on ETSY. I have realized that I can not afford to continue the free shipping which I adopted at ETSY’s behest. I had hoped that ETSY’s algorithm would push my work more when I made that change. But honestly I haven’t seen enough of a change to make a difference and its cutting into my bottom line. So that will be going out the window. I have also decided to start experimenting with a different online ecommerce platform. I am not sure which one yet and have had many recommended to me. I need to do some research. What I have known and was reminded of during this though is that I do not have a adequate mailing list. Having a mailing list lets me inform customers and friends when I am posting new work, which galleries are receiving new work, where I will be selling, exhibitions, and about up coming workshops. This can all really help me build sales and I have been terrible about collecting emails over the years. So that being said if you would do me the pleasure of signing up for my email list I would be greatly appreciative.

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I’ve got some new pieces dropping in the old etsy shop. I am going to try to step back from doing weekend farmers markets at least for July and August and try to focus my time and energy on building back up the online sales that I had in 2019-2020. So if you are reading this please consider picking up some new work from me. I have free domestic shipping and everything goes out in 3-5 days.

I just wanted to let you all know that I’ve got a few new yunomi, mugs, and other pieces dropping in my Esty shop tonight. Here are a few preview samples. I will be working on posting more work in my Esty shop and refocusing on selling on line rather than at farmers markets for the rest of the summer. So please find yourself something nice and give it a new home.

My Etsy shop is :