Tuesday, June 23, 2009


In keeping with my recent experiments with the Tenkara fly-fishing method, I thought it appropriate to put this up on the blog. Like Tenkara, it comes from ancient Japan.. This piece you see was modeled with a special kind of clay that is able to withstand the extreme temperature shock that is required by the process. The glaze that I used was pretty much picked at random and as you might be able to see from the image, it contained a bit of cooper. Unlike other pottery glazes, this one is totally at the mercy of the firing and cooling process...meaning that the placement of colors, lines and whatever...just happens. The artist has little if any control in the appearance of the finished product.

After firing to the point that it’s almost transparent, it is removed from the kiln and put in a metal trash can full of shredded newspaper. The lid is tightly closed and it is allowed to cool down for a few minutes. Then while it is still VERY hot it is dunked in a tub of water. Like I said, the thermal shock is extreme. At this point you either have a neat piece of intact pottery or a collection of broken shards. I was lucky this time.

I really doubt that I’ll do any more of these...for that very reason. You take the unpredictability of the process and combine that with the cost of equipment and it just doesn’t seem worth it. (I was able to use a friend’s equipment to create this one.) The fish itself is about 24 inches long and as you see, I mounted it in a shadow box.


  1. Alan, I love this piece of work. It's always fun to do something a little different and I appreciate that adventurous artistic spirit. Keep stretching those boundaries!!!


  2. Thanks Mike...glad you like it!
    Who do we see about getting more hours in the day? With the amount of new art projects that I'd like to try, I figure another 8 hours would be a good start. Then we'd need some more hours for fishing and more hours for.......

  3. When you figure out how to get those extra hours , PLEASE let me know. I'm retired and there STILL aren't enough hours in the day to do all I need and, more importantly, want to do. As I've heard many say, but didn't believe them until now, I don't know how I had time to work.