Circa October 2020 in the midst of pandemic, Tanakita Ceramics reached out to me for a collaboration project, on the first conversation we had I was excited and also unsure due to the situation, but I really cannot resist the urge to say "let's go!" because Tanakita was offering me to try out a new clay body that they created and asked me not just to try the clay but also to create a series of work anyhow I see fit with the clay, how awesome is that?!
In the following days I received the new clay called Black Mud Clay, the clay is black in color as the name describe, very plastic, very smooth during trimming as if I was trimming a candle and because of this it shines really well after burnished a few times. Overall the clay just feels different from the usual stoneware that I have been working with, according to my mentor the character is similar to porcelain (I cannot say because I have never worked with porcelain before).
Summarizing all the character that belongs to the clay I had this idea of creating a black ceramic and thinking to create a work that was inspired with ceramics from Mata Ortiz (a city in South America which have a certain style of ceramic art), I was really hoping that this black mud clay would turns out to have a deep soot black color after firing, the thing is- it doesn't. Apparently the black color on the mud are carbon which burns out during the firing, resulting in a bright yellowish clay body. Working for the black color is off the list, but the surface is just I expected. It was silky smooth after a good amount of burnishing and retains the sheen pretty well after fired up to 950 degree Celsius, and there I decided to work with a saggar firing technique.
Saggar firing is an old technique to have a clean result when you are firing in an anagama kiln or wood kiln by putting the ceramics inside a saggar box so the ash will not stick to the items. In the present the technique is used in reverse where we put the ceramic inside the saggar box with another material to emulate a wood kiln inside a gas fired kiln.
Gekkou [ 月光 ] Moonlight
The resulting ceramics are named Gekkou [ 月光 ] which means "Moonlight" in Japanese, the idea of a black colored clay went through process of creation which resulting in such a vibrant ceramic pieces reminded me of how the moon is not shining on it's own, yet the harmony of light reflection from sun made the moon shines it's own beautiful light.
Each one of Gekkou pieces are rich in unique character, they bear their own individual marks and color throughout the surface. The principles of Wabi-Sabi are displayed in full in this collection, with all the imperfections, incomplete, and impermanence that developed naturally during the firing process, Gekkou collection is here to elevate your space as a centerpiece.
With this I proudly present to you the Gekkou collection in collaboration with Tanakita ceramics & supply, you can see the 13 pieces of Gekou collection in our product collection page or simply click here.