The process to make each piece starts on my potter’s wheel. Each vessel is thrown, trimmed and sometimes altered. Handles are pulled by hand, attached, reinforced and smoothed. Colorful surface decoration is created by slicing into the leather-hard clay with a very fine knife, and filling the cuts with underglaze in a process called “mishima” or “korai-jawan.” Work is dried slowly and bisque-fired. Solid color areas are added after the bisque, and each piece is dipped in a liquid glaze, then the work is fired for a second time. Gold luster is added after the glaze firing and those pieces are fired a third time.
A lot of care and delicate handling went into making each piece—they are all much more durable after being fired, but even so all handcrafted work requires a little extra care and attention at home.
Everything is food safe—all clay, glazes and colorants. Everything (except pieces with gold luster) is also dishwasher and microwave safe, however the harsh environments of these modern appliances will cause wear over time. Your new pieces will be happier being washed by hand.
Extreme and uneven temperature changes can also cause wear and cracks. Again, please avoid regular use in the microwave. Pre-warming mugs with hot tap water prior to pouring in steaming coffee/tea, or pre-cooling water glasses prior to adding ice-cold beverages will prolong the life of the work.
Pierced vases and bowls also begin on the potter’s wheel. After being thrown and trimmed I roughly draw in the design with a soft pencil. The design is cut with a very sharp knife, and outside edges are smoothed with a wet sponge. Acute corners often need a little extra attention from the knife. The porcelain is tricky—too soft and it mushes up in my fingers, too dry and it cracks as it’s being carved. I must start at the top and work my way down as the piece dries. The finer the design, the more cuts and the more time it takes.