Making rulers.

Today was the first day in the studio in about a year. Having finished my kiln it is time to make some things to fill it.

I made shrinkage gauges for the 4 types of clay I will be firing. I only use unprocessed clay that I run through a crusher and a non-deairing pug. I am going to fire with two main types of clay and two experimental types.

The first clay and the one I have the most of is a mixture of two types of gendo, 原土. I guess ‘native clay’ although in my case it isn’t native to this area but comes from Minakuchi and Awaji Island. Minakuchi is great for Nanban but very weak, it splits and slumps if you look at it sideways.

The second is a mixture of Minakuchi clay and Jo Shigaraki clay, 上信楽. Jo Shigaraki is a cheap clay from Shigaraki, strong and has a high temperature tolerance.

The third is a mixture of Minakuchi and a clay called “Red #4”, 赤#四 from Shigaraki.

The fourth is a mixture of Minakuchi and a clay that is a mixture of a type of gendo from Kyoto and porcelain from Amakusa. I have a several hundred kilos of this Kyoto/Amakusa mixture and would like to use it if possible. I only made twenty kilos or so for testing.

I made pieces of clay that I marked every 5 cm. When I have fired them I will calculate the shrinkage and make a bamboo ruler that I will use for making work to the size I want.

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