Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Well, we have been having a hard time keeping up with daily blogging.  With a steady stream of visitors, it's difficult to find time to work on the computer and not seem rude.  We have been having an amazing time.  The studio is in a beautiful area surrounded by rice fields and wonderful small villages.  On our first walk through the closest village, we were invited into someone's home to have tea, which was really fun.  
The gallery where we are having the exhibition needs some images soon so we are planning on doing most of the making now, and most of the traveling later.  To begin making, the first thing we need to do is make some decisions about what kind of clay to use.  When Michael worked with Mr. Oh before, they were only making Onggi, so there was only one clay to use.  Now Mr. Oh is making all kinds of pots, and has a bunch of different clays - all of them very beautiful.
This clay is a high temperature onggi clay. A student of Mr.Oh's got a delivery of high temperature Onggi clay that had too many big chunks of quartz in it for his liking. Mr. Oh got some and loves it for making small pots and sculptures. This sculpture was made by his studio mate, Kim Hui San. In the wood kiln it fires a beautiful soft orange color reminiscent of old shigaraki pots. Onggi potters would use this high temperature clay for the pots on the bottom of a stack when they loaded pots rim to rim in the large wood kilns, because it would be stronger and less likely to warp. The white color of the clay contrasts more with the dark brown Onggi glaze than the usual red clay color, as in this old pot below:

The clay is beautiful right out of the ground with veins of pink, orange, and grey.

Below is a white clay that he has already mixed.  It is an unpure porcelain very similar to the Choseun Dynasty folk porcelain.

And lastly, this is the onggi clay that he has used to make Punchong ware.  "Punchong" is the Korean name for all the different techniques of applying white slip over a dark clay.  We will write more about Punchong and all the different types of traditional Korean pots in a later post.  Stay tuned for more about Mr. Oh's evolution from Onggi to his current work, the state of Onggi now, green tea making, and lots of good food.

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