Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Rice Cannons and The Glaze Washing Machine

Well, it looks like we are going to make it!  As expected, the past several days have been a bit crazy, but all has gone well, and we even had a little time to do some exploring on our own while the bisque kiln was firing. We went to the weekly outdoor market in the medium-sized nearby town of Hwasoon, and we had a great time.  There were of course lots of colorful displays of fruits and vegetables, writhing bowls of live seafood, and our favorite.... the rice cannon!  The picture below really doesn't do justice to this awesome scene... A popular snack in the winter time here is puffed rice and other puffed grains, and at the market there is one stall where they have several rice roasters/puffer/cannons. Each person buys a can of rice, and then waits to have it popped.  It probably takes about five minutes in the round cast iron roaster before everyone starts getting excited and covering their ears.  Then they point the roaster/cannon into a big metal box and BOOM!  Rice fireworks everywhere, and it is indeed really loud.  The best part is all the ajumas waiting for their turn "ooo" and "aaah" like at a firework display.  It was so much fun, and people were really enjoying explaining to us how it worked and giving us samples of their freshly popped rice.
Sunday was a crazy day - we unloaded the bisque, glazed all our pots, loaded the kiln, and started firing (until 8am Monday!)  Mr. Oh rolled out this mysterious contraption that had been sitting in the corner, and we discovered the joys of the GLAZE WASHING MACHINE!  There's a sponge conveyor belt that rolls around through a pool of water on the bottom, and then does an amazing job of cleaning off the glaze on the bottom of the pot.  It's pretty easy to control how much you take off, so we were soon tripping over each other trying to be the one who got to wash the bottoms (not usually a desired job at home).  
We unloaded the kiln last night, and have been cleaning and packing pots all day.  We haven't gotten a chance to take any pictures yet of the new pots, but we're planning on doing so when we set up the show tomorrow morning (after driving 4 hours to Seoul tonight!).  Even though this has been a really hectic schedule lately, it hasn't felt as stressful as it would have at home.  This has all been a big adventure and experiment for us, using clay, glazes and a kiln that are completely new, so we don't have the same pressures we would normally feel at home. We're looking forward to hopefully doing some traveling and visiting after the show, so stay tuned! (We're only here for one more week!)


Ron said...

Can't wait to see the pics from the show.
Are you going to rig up a bottom washer in the shop when you get back to NC?

Dan Anderson said...

Where is your show in Seoul?
I have some friends living there I would like to let know
nice blog, nice trip, am jealous!

Anonymous said...

I spent some time after reading your blog looking for a video of a rice puffing cannon.. I am fascinated. If you get a chance take another picture!

Michael and Naomi said...

Sorry- we haven't been able to access internet lately... Dan - that would be great if your friends want to see the show. It will be open until Monday night at Nanun Gallery on Insadong street. (Also, if they read Korean, they can look at the blog where we posted the catalogue/invitation, and all the information is on that)