2006-07-03

Mosaic Tiles

I have always had the fascination of making mosaic tiles but not the ones fired in a regular electric or gas kiln. I have done shichirin (charcoal cookstove) firings using a hair dryer set up. The great part about shichirin kilns is that you can do them just about anywhere from parking lot to rooftop to the beach and the amount of smoke emitted is quite minimal compared to most wood fired anagama kilns of North America, Europe and Asia. The biggest drawback of course is the small size of the shichirin does not allow for big pieces. Of course you could make your own shichirin but the problem of course becomes the bigger you make it the more costly it is to fire. It has been my opinion that if your only option is a small kiln then you should get creative and make small stuff!! Small mosaic tiles and figurines are just the few that come to my mind immediately. Due to the relatively low amounts of smoke emitted from shichirin kilns I am quite a bit in favor of them especially in cities and towns where larger anagama kilns are becoming increasing difficult to find ? Japan for instance. The low fuel consumption and low smoke emissions make for a much better alternative for pottery enthusiasts to get involved with. I do not care for too much of the manufactured junk that comes out of European and Chinese pottery. By manufactured pottery I mean mainly the pottery made in mass production and fired in electric or gas kilns. To me this is not pottery and is mere junk for cheap consumption. Since clay comes from the ground, pottery needs to have the more natural feel and look to it not the look of a machine.

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