Handmade pots for bonsai trees

Upgrading the toolbox

November 10, 2017

When I was asked what I was most looking forward to, working with a potter from Tokoname, the first that came into mind was, "How does the clay feel. And what kind of tools does he use? "

For all artists and craftsmen, the tools are an extension of the hand and the brain. Wrong tools, bad, or lack of them can lead you in the wrong way, or enter a new one. The tools are the closest to a colleague and friend you can get when you work alone against a vision. As a potter, you are constantly faced with new challenges for every new pot you make, and may therefore adapt the tools accordingly.

Kataoka Sans Studio is full of tools from 3 generations use. The tools Hidemi uses today is a copy of a copy of a copy... When he works, one hand is constantly looking for the right scraper in a pile beside the turntable. Each mold, and there are hundreds, has its own wooden profile that he easily finds among full boxes. As soon as a tool does not work properly or he does not find the right one for the job he walks out to the grinding machine or saw and makes himself one.

 

 Some of the hundreds of plaster molds, most of them made by Hidemis father.

 

 And hundreds of profile templates to follow.

 

 Aluminium tubes for making drainage holes. Note how they are cut so you get four points wich makes it easier to center the hole.


I Unpack my toolbox with a handfull of tools. There are about twenty different scratches, scrapes and knives. A ruler and a  hole maker. The difference between us becomes apparent.
Hidemi manufactures tools according to the task he has, I let my tools determine what I can do. They are as much my style as I am. The question arises. If I start using his tools, what happens with my expression? There is only one way to find out.

 

This little piece of a haircomb is great to scrape the clay with before you attache it to another piece. Its also used to scratch the inside of a pot, a detail japanese pots often have to make it easier for the roots to attach.

 

This little stick with a nail in the end has so many usefull purposes. Straightening the rim is one of them.

 

The leaf of the Kamelia is used for polishing the pot.

 

The only tool I brought that impressed Hidemi, and that he got to keep. Great for cleaning up details. 

 

After using his tools for a couple of days, I've found a few that I like. We spend a day making copies for me in bundles, saw blades, bamboo and plastic sheets.

 

Making bambu tools.

 

Bending old saw blades for scrapes.

 

Cutting up plastic sheets for scrapers. 0.5 mm, 0.75 mm and 1 mm.

 

My new tools.

 

After having worked in the studio for just over a week, I noticed that I kept all the tools we made. They are all brilliant in their simplicity and make the work copiously easier and take it to a new level. Along with some of my old tools, I now have a complete set that is a new part of me. 

 

Some of my old tools, and some new ones that I use for shaping the pot.

 

Keeping my old tools I use for sculpturing. 

 

Thank you for reading. I hope it was something in there that was rewarding. If you have any questions to me, please dont hesitate to write me. Cheers!

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