Thursday 30 August 2007

Worth Bottling

I taught the children how to bottle beer today. I've been making home brew for many years, and have memories of helping my father brew and bottle when I was a child. Of course I still remain chief cook and bottle washer.

Canaan and Sora took turns filling the bottles with a syphon tube from the fermenter. By Japanese law home brew beer must be below 1% alcohol, so were very careful not to make it too strong!

Sora helped with capping the bottles with crown seals. The beer will be perfect for drinking next month for the kiln building and firing workshops here in Mashiko.

Saturday 11 August 2007

Quality Control

The most important thing for a functional potter, as opposed to a dysfunctional potter, to do is to use their own pots. It is only in the process of using a pot, serving with it, receiving from it, washing it up afterwards and putting it away, that you can really understand whether it is functional or not. That is why the first thing which I do with new pots fresh from the kiln is select a cross section and take them straight to the kitchen for testing. And so it was that this morning we indulged once more in delicious cappuchino. It's a tough job but somebody has to do it!

After a long hot day, of course, there is nothing more strenuous than having to test beer cups. The cups have been in the freezer for an hour, the beer is on ice along with some cucumbers fresh from the garden. Sitting on the engawa waiting for Mika to join me, I watch the children playing in the garden.

It doesn't get much better than this, and you can't get more functional than that. I love quality control!

Friday 10 August 2007

Hot Mugs

Finally fired the mugs on wednesday!
Firing a wood kiln in midsummer is exhausting, even for me. 33 degrees in the shade, and the only shade is near the kiln, which is 1300 degrees. The biggest danger is dehydration, although heat exhaustion comes a close second.

It's not long before you're saturated with persperation, hoping for a breeze. Once again Sean keeping an eye on things.

Luckily there's a bath tub full of cool water to chill out in if your small enough. Unfortunately Daddy isn't.

Today I unpacked the kiln and lined the pots out on the lawn. Excellent pink and orange flashing on many of them, beautiful grey carbon trapping on others.

But best of all the long awaited mugs. I know that many people have been waiting for them, and they have come out perfect. We'll just give them time to cool down before we fill them with beer, shall we?