Saturday, March 7, 2009


With the cracking trouble of my last round of Onggi style pots I've been a bit slow to get going on the next round. It took a bit of research before coming up with a clay body I could feel good about putting a bunch of energy into. It's a body that Voulkos was using till his last days and I've been assured that it is up for the challenge. Thanks to Mike Haney of East Bay Clay for making amazing clay and for being such a knowledge base when it comes to clay bodies.

It seems that every time I start to gear up for a new round of pots it takes a few days to really get excited about and locked into my making mode. I'm happy to report that it finally kicked in today! I've been making some traditional Onggi forms and adjusting them to suit my purposes:

The form below, from south western Korea, is traditionally used for storing and pickling shrimp and has a nifty built-in feature, the rim that overhangs into the pot is used as a ledge for placing a stick of just the right size that acts as a temporary handle for hauling the pot. Since I don't think there is much use for a shrimp pot in these parts I decided to scale it down and add a little inlay porcelain decoration, I'm thinking it should be nice with some flowers in it once it's fired.

The following image is of an Onggi lid, the nice thing about an Onggi lid is that it generally doubles as a large bowl for hauling the goods from the jar it has been covering. I decided to make some lids to be used as shallow bowls/platters, the decoration in the middle is something my teacher would do to distinguish one size lid from the others.

Also, I was having a bit of trouble with some of my larger Onggi forms so I invited a few of my friends over to give me a hand (images below).


Alex Matisse said...

Those look really great. Very clean lines. How was the cracking manifesting itself? On the bottoms? On the sidewalls? All the folks around here who make larger pots add a lot of grog to the clay. When I'm pugging Mark's clay for his big pots its about a mug of grog, two or three sizes mixed together, to about every 5 lbs of clay that goes in the pugmill. Good luck with the new mix...

Adam Field said...

Thanks. The cracks were almost exclusively in the sidewall, I think it's less about the size of the pots and more about the forming method, the coils are added without scoring or slipping and most of the cracking occurred along the seams. The new clay I'm using has a lot more grog than the last and in varied size too so hopefully that's the answer.

Also, enjoyed seeing your post on clay mixing, a good motivator for me to put up some more process shots/videos from my apprenticeship, thanks!

ang design said...

those big pots are amazing... where are the last 2 shots from?? oh the ???'s how on earth would they move it. fire it.??? i did some large form building in college but man these take it!....I must post it, it seems not quite so big any more....thanks adam nice work..

Adam Field said...

ang, not sure where in Korea the BIG pot photos were taken, I found them by googling "onggi", not sure if they were ever fired, it looks like they were being made as part of some expo.