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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Korean pottery is still largely produced as was the case in the past

Korean pottery is still largely produced as was the case in the past. To practice a potter, it provides a case study of the living history ceramic processes and techniques. Potter's wheels, kilns, tools and other equipment are still made as they were in the past. The machine is too expensive to justify its purchase and maintenance compared to the cost of man power. Glaze materials are still in the basement of the bedrock using materials ingenious two books-man. Within six days, two men working full time can produce sixty pounds of pulverized material. No ceramic supply houses offer loans of equipment or processed materials for immediate use. Huge quantities of timber must be transported, chopped and Split. In the dynasty Vi proximity ovens for forests was more important than kaolin deposits. Today, forests are seriously threatened; special permits are issued for the purchase and burning wood. It is an expensive fuel, but less than either oil or propane are imported products. Natural gas does not exist.

The complexity of ceramics is taken for granted, as well as the need for a division of labour. Cut wood, a mixture of clay and decanting, slicing, stacking and redundant are assigned to specialists. The paternity of the pottery when it is clear from the oven is diffuse, because it is the result of the coordinated effort of many hands.

There are four broad categories of ceramics produced in Korea today:

1. Onggi or earthenware utensils used for various purposes, but especially for the storage of vegetables, beans and soy pasta sauces - basic elements of Korean food.
2. Reproduced Koryo dynasty and VI forms, primarily for sale to the Japanese market.
3. Bols tea, again for the Japanese market.
4. Pottery produced in university departments of ceramics, which translates to varying degrees, exposure to external influences.

Among the above categories, onggi is the highest interest for Occidental potter. The techniques and methods used are virtually unknown in the West. The Korean potter is capable of producing monumental size pots with a speed that seems incredible when seen in the West by a potter. The methods coil, paddle wheel and construction are outside the spectrum of skills in ceramics in the West, particularly in terms of speed and size.

Due to recent developments in the use of various metals, artificial resins, and growth of ceramic in9ustrial Korea, it is feared that the production and use of the hand vessels will die. In addition, modern materials and processes May be considered preferable to onggi ware, which is less solid, heavier and more in the price of pots of mass production. To work against this possibility, however, is the curator of Koreans and their firm belief that the taste of kimchi would be adversely affected by storing anything, but onggi ware. On the other hand, the new laws reforestation pose a danger to the continued firing of onggi ovens. The wood is scarce and expensive and imported oil is over. There appears to be no solution to high environmental and financial costs of fuel. Thus, it is difficult to predict the future of pottery onggi in Korea. But for the moment at least, a potter from the West is still able to observe the traditional skills of the Korean potter.

Preparation Clay

Since 1950, potters onggi begun to adopt a technique traditional Korean refining clay that had hitherto been used in the manufacture of high quality ceramic white. Thus, the methods described below are essentially the same, both for onggi and porcelain manufacturing. About twenty years ago, some onggi workshops on Kanghwa Island adopted this technique, its use and spread of Kyonggi Ch'ungch'ong gradually and southern provinces.

A field of approximately 75 'x 75' is used for drying clay. At each corner of the field a round hole of about eight feet in diameter is dug. These tanks are resolved. Today, they are sometimes lined with cement. A smaller rectangular tank about two by four feet is built tangent to each vat circular. The small wooden dike linking allow water to each settlement of the VAT to flow back into the mixing tank that water is necessary. Raised land levies divide the field between the mixing and settling tanks drying in the fields. Furthermore, they serve as dry trails from which workers are able to remove pieces of dried clay.

Procedures refining

1. Drying. The raw clay is dried to ensure that slake faster in the tank refining. The clay is dug with a shovel-three men and stacked in a sunny dry. It then spread east and equalize with a rake or hoe wood. Pieces of clay are broken with the hoe and large stones are picked. Clay, in the form of soft shale, do not break easily or slake. The clay dried, broken into pieces almost no larger than apples, is taken to the area of refining in a basket or trolley. Often an A-frame is used for transporting approximately two hundred pounds for mixing vats.
2. Mixing and extinction. Clay is dumped on the plough or A-frame in the mixing vats containing water. After the clay began to dissolve into water, it is stirred with a wooden racket to which is affixed a handful with a horizontal bar at the end. The clay is allowed to get on and off using the edge of the mixing tank as a fulcrum. The soft shale not slake easily and a constant movement of the racket is a necessary part to dissolve the clay and produce a newsletter of water. The mixture of long and repetitive work, women are assigned to this task because they can be paid less. For the Western observer, it seems incredible that so much manpower is spent on a process that could be easily and quickly by an electrical blunger.
3. Screening clay. The thin slurry produced is dug with a bucket and poured through a thirty-mesh screen in the second or settling tanks. The screening ensures that clumps of clay, sand and pebbles not to enter the second tank. When the quantity of water is necessary to continue the process of mixing, bringing the small dam is removed. The relatively pure upper layer of water from the second tank flows back into the mixing tank.
For the repetition of mixing, testing and the return flow of water clay in the tank is finally used, leaving only rocks and sand. These are removed with a shovel, more water and raw clay are added, and the process is started. About a week is required to complete the settling tank thick with manure. If the second tank was filled with screening clay slip, it is dug with buckets and taken to the drying area, using contributions raised walkways.
4. Drying the plastic heel. The floor of the storage area is first covered with a layer of hemp or cotton approximately 15 'x 15' in order to avoid impurities from the soil into the clay and facilitate the elimination when it dries in a plastic. The clay slurry is spread over the fabric and the moisture in the clay is evaporated by the sun and wind. When the clay has been dried to a plastic stage, it is marked with a small false and cuts of about 12 "x 12" x 6 "are carried in a basket, in which they are transported to the workshop.
5. In addition to the preparation of clay. In the workshop, pieces of clay are stacked to form a rectangular mass of about six feet long, four feet wide and four feet tall. Water is poured on earth and it is beaten with a long wooden mallet, first with his head, then with the side cut by workers as saengjilggun. The clay was turned on the workshop floor is then cut into thin slices about 1 / 8 "thick with a faux-like knife. The second part of the processing is done by workers known as "Rustic lads" or "slaves clay." The main reason for cutting the clay is to homogenize the distribution of mild and dry clay.

The "guys rustic" the next roll balls of clay weighing forty or fifty pounds. In some workshops, a piece of cotton fabric is placed on a portion of the workshop floor and clay marbles are placed at the top This, in others, kaolin is distributed directly on the earthen floor.

The balls of clay are stacked to a rectangular mass of 10 'x 10' x 3 ', ie, about two and a half tonnes, is formed. The clay is always beaten first with the head of the mallet, then with the side of mallet. The mass of clay is beaten then sliced a second time in balls and, for the second time, beaten. After the second flying mass of clay is then cut into pieces using a carved wooden shovel which is monoxylously, ie, from a single piece of wood. These pieces are handed over to a new form of mass which is again beaten and cut wood with a shovel in a hundred pounds square plastic clay.

Clay prepared in this way is mixed together by a pugmill. In addition, the hammering of clay May for their own account and wet strength tenacity onggi clay. Several places, which will be put into service immediately, is set aside and the rest are covered with a damp cloth or plastic sheeting to prevent them from drying out. The walls thick grass, heavy thatch roof and small windows of workshops are in favour of retaining treat the water content of these "mountains" of clay.

The squares of clay that have not been covered are taken to a place adjacent to potters wheels where they are cut by a son oblong forms approximately 18 "x 3" x 3 "weighing twenty pounds .

Coil Construction

A "robust young man" is fast moving one of those oblong to an area relatively flat land on the floor where he began making throws side of the clay, rapidly expand its length to about 36 inches. This bar is a little twisted to form a cylinder spiral of clay. The techniques torsion bar clay ensures easy transition of the measure to form a smooth same coil. The coil was later reduced to a diameter of 1 V2 "and extended over 6 feet long by rolling backwards and forwards on the ground floor. A stack of these coils is laid beside the potter's wheel ready to employment.

Forming the basis of ship

A ball of clay about eight pounds of weight is the main stuck in a cylinder about 41 / 2 "in diameter and 6" long. The roll of clay are collected and given several shots on the ground floor to a thickness that the disc is formed. This is expanded to approximately 16 "in diameter and 3" thick with a series of rotations and launches side. The disc is placed beside the potter's wheel. The process is repeated until a stack of discs were made.

Flattening disc

The potter himself now positions the wheel and quickly wood dust head start with dry powdered kaolin. The powder prevents the disc too strongly adhere to the wheel allows head and finished pot to be lifted from the wheel. No cut wire is used.

According to the potter centre disc on the wheel head. While slowly turning the wheel in a sense, he quickly beat the hard clay with pangmangi, stick or coups, which he holds in his right hand. This compresses thoroughly particles of clay and eliminate air pockets. The potters will focus on learning, and if it does not happen properly, bottom or another crack in the drying or cooking.

Wall Training - the first step

The potter a circle inscribed in the disc to mark the base of the desired size, then turns the wheel and cut the excess clay with a knife made of wood. Then comes the task of fashioning walls of the vessel. At present, there are three methods of construction of walls, each slightly different from others. The most common are the "roll" method, used in Kyonggi province, and "spiral coil method used in Kyongsang province. The third, even more surprising to Occidental, is the "block", in force Cholla province. In this technique, "plaques" on clay, which is about three times the diameter of the pot, 8 inches wide and 3 / 8 inch thick, are mounted on top of one another to form the vessel wall. These slabs are built in approximately the same way as the coils of clay, except that the bars of clay, rather than being twisted and rolled coil, are returned to the air and knocked on the ground to form the scale "ribbons" of clay.

The first stage of construction of the wall is to link the basis of the boat with the most substantive part of the vessel wall. This portion of the vessel wall May be fashioned of surplus clay disk clay used in the manufacture or base May it be built in a cylinder of clay for this purpose. A coil of clay about three times the diameter of the base is placed on the wheel. The wheel is slowly rev91ved and coil beaten flat. In both cases, the flat band of clay is then attached to the edge of the base. After it was completed a thin coil of clay is pressed and along the seam between the inner core and the lower part of the wall. This procedure is carried out to strengthen the relationship between these two pieces of clay. It is executed with skill, the seam of the right hand by pressing the coil in articulation, the left hand providing external support. At the same time, the wheel is turned slowly with swift action heel of left foot a method requiring motor skills entirely unknown in the West.

In the next step the potter takes a coil of clay and attaches to the bottom of the wall already constructed. The technique used in the coil to join a coordinated pressure on the left palm on the outer surface of the coil with a series of half rotations on the right to hand down and oppose the lateral pressure . This is a virtuoso made with the speed and skills. The left foot, toes and ball placed against the pit wall, function as a fulcrum for the heel of the foot again make a rapid series of proposals forward, moving the front wheel at a speed coordinated with the work of hands. The process is repeated until three or four rolls were applied. In Kyongsang Province, where the "spiral coil" method is used, the coil, more than six times the diameter of the pot, curtains over the shoulder of the potter and his return. It feeds continuously for two or more tours of the front wheel of the coil is used.

Breaking Techniques

The next step involves the use of a wooden anvil, or togae, and a wooden paddle. The potter bat against the inner and outer surfaces of the vessel wall with these two implements while turning the wheel with his left foot in a sense. In this way, coils of clay are completely homogeneous and walls are thinned. In addition, the clay is compressed and, therefore, becomes stronger. This completed, the potter takes two scrapers. One used as a scraper interior is generally an abalone, although rigid metal scrapers are also used, the other is a scraper outside wood that is larger. This is held in the right hand and left the former and applied to the inner surface. The potter, exploitation scrapers strictly opposed to each other, the wheel spins quickly, "pulling" the wheel of his left leg. To maintain this kind of strength in the muscles of the left leg requires an exercise of these muscles. Sore leg muscles are inevitable if the potter starts working again after a period of inactivity.

The next step is the construction of the mid-section of the wall using the same sequence coil request, paddling, and scraping. The same sequence is repeated to complete the upper part of the ship. This completed, the potter takes the knife to cut timber in the upper edge. It then takes a strip of cloth moistened, the central part of what is placed on the upper edge, the rest of the band falling down on the inner and outer surfaces. Holding the strip firmly with both hands, he turns the wheel, which allows the fabric to create a thickening of the lips.

Procedures final

With a shorter and more slender piece of fabric wedged between the fingers of his right hand, it creates a linear decoration raised just above and below the "body" of the ship. It supports the inside wall with his left hand the wheel spins. The vessel is now completed, except for its withdrawal from the wheel. He then adjusts the bottom of the boat with "low-cut" or wooden knife, turning wheel at the same time. To a large pot gets the potter using a "rustic lads" to lift the vessel from the wheel with a piece of cloth. The cloth, about two feet by four, is wrapped around the vessel. Both men, placed on opposite sides of the ship, at the same time build up on the fabric, said the ship lifting of the wheel. It is moved from chicken to a special discount called iongch'im, built with thatched roof but without walls, where it is fixed. The tissue is removed, and the vessel is allowed to dry for several days, depending on the temperature and humidity. It should be noted that the method of construction, it is unnecessary to cut the bottom of the vessel, although the walls of a pot of four feet in height are uniformly thin from top to bottom.

Ron Wood, potter and instructor of ceramics at the University of Oklahoma State, spent 18 months in Korea for a Fulbright scholarship. His work with potters People's Korea have resulted in an award-winning film, The Korean Potter, which may be obtained by Daniel Clark La Cinematheque, Box 315, Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417.

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