The Love of Shino

One of the things I love most about woodfiring is the element of surprise that the kiln environment brings.  So when I’m not woodfiring, I am gas firing, and still looking to incorporate that element of surprise and magic into the process.  There is one glaze that I love to work with which brings this quality… Shino.  It was originally created in Japan and is characterized by a milky, snow white appearance.  It tends to be in a class of its own, and is known for its unpredictability.  It can crawl, craze and pinhole, which can add to its unique flavor.  For these reasons, it became sought after by Japan’s tea masters and connoiseurs.  Shino has many faces.  The American shinos can look quite different, usually ranging in orange, red and white.  I have found that some Japanese potters, when seeing an American shino piece, say “Shino? That is not shino!”  It has taken on a lot of different faces.  The pots shown here are glazed with only two shino recipes.  The appearance can vary greatly depending on the humidity in the air, the way it’s applied, how thick or thin, and of course the kiln atmosphere, which can surprise with luster or carbon trapping.  Here are some of my new shino pieces….

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