[Clayart] Shino and Spodumene

Hank Murrow hmurrow at efn.org
Tue Jan 4 21:53:45 UTC 2022

> On Jan 4, 2022, at 10:02 AM, Robert Harris <robertgharris at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> VInce - I honestly thought you just hadn't thought about it. I know I often
> say something which is true for one context, but not more broadly.  And
> with Morgan being something of an expert in some Japanese pottery I've
> always assumed you knew quite a bit about Japanese glazes. I admit, I made
> the assumption you know a lot more about everything and just hadn't tied
> the pieces together.
> You're right, of course, most (all?) shino recipes we have here have
> spodumene and soda ash in them.
> It also depends on what you define as a "shino"! (Arguably some of the
> snowflake crackle glazes would be shinos under the right circumstances).
> In general, I think that Western recipes are a lot more complicated than
> those in Japan or many parts of China, where they're still often using the
> old traditional methods of a bit of this rock, and bit of that ash, and
> maybe some clay. And spodumene is a pretty unusual rock so anything vaguely
> traditional isn't going to contain spodumene. (It's also my understanding
> that the vast majority of Japanese potters don't make their own glazes,
> there is often a village "glaze master" or store, that makes up big batches
> for all the potteries in the area. That may just be in the more famous
> centers like Mashiko.).
> My understanding (and Hank Murrow probably knows a lot more about this than
> I do) is that Japanese shinos are still something like 80% of a feldspathic
> rock, 15% kaolin and maybe some ash (which if unwashed would contain quite
> a bit of potassium or sodium carbonate). From what I've seen online, most
> of what they call shino seems to be whiter and often matt-er than ours with
> a lot more pinholing. Obviously they get iron blushing and carbon trapping,
> but I think it's a lot rarer and harder to control than the western shinos.

Now, here we are on fresh ground in this discussion, because I have carried LowMelt and regular Spodumene to Japan in a fiber drum, along with gift pots for my hosts, on my trips to fire anagamas there, and I found that their near total use of Kspar in their Shinos produced a lovely pinkish tones with the Fe response. Our love in the States for Neph Sye in Shinos has limited our palette in no small measure. I did not use ash nor any other flux to make these. The matting has a lot to do with the slow cooling of their large kilns. If one pulls a Japanese anagama-fired Shino piece out just before shutdown, it is likely to be melted and shiny. I have done this in American kilns, to my great surprise. Such experiments led inexorably to my reliance on a long period of oxidation-soakng around 1800F during the cooling cycle in my gas kiln. The Shinos were transformed!

> I certainly think that a lot of what we like about “American Shinos" (which
> is not my description BTW), could be replicated without the spodumene.
> They're not going to be identical, of course, but maybe that's not a bad
> thing!

What I found with the Kspar/spodumene mixes in Japan was complete acceptance by even senior potters as well as a refined female Tea practitioner. She loved the chawan I brought as well as the ones I made and fired there. YMMV.

I wish a few of us could get together as in the old daze at NCECA to nurse a libation or two and examine some of these wares to compare notes and preferences at leisure.

Cheers to all, Hank in Eugene

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