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sieved in korea

updated thu 30 dec 99


michael on wed 29 dec 99

Janet and all,
I can't stop the puns! I should have been clearer in my description
of the process of sieving clay. What follows is a disclaimer: This is
the telling of my experiences and at no time did my hands leave my
wrists in the typing of this yarn.
Sieving clay through a screen is similar to sieving glaze through a
sieve. The raw materials were combined in a container along with a
great deal of water. This mixer was then scooped up with a large
plastic ladle and then poured through a metal screen into another
container to remove any unwanted impurities. These containers could
also be called settling tanks because the usable clay would run through
the sieve into the container, sink to the bottom and remain there until
the tank was filled with mostly sieved clay. The liquid was very fluid
and the sieving took several days. When the desired amount of clay had
collected in the final container or tank ( depending on size ) the water
was removed. The clay that remained was a thick slurry. The smaller
studio that made the expensive tea ceremony bowls would take the slurry
clay out of the containers and place it into cotton bags which were tied
closed. These bags were subsequently placed in a large wooden frame
that resembled an open top crate. The bags were then covered by a wood
frame lid and concrete cinder blocks were placed on top of the lid which
in turn would press the excess water out of the bags. The stuffed bags
looked like stuffed pink pig bellies. The clay was allowed to stiffen
and when it was removed from the bags it was in a workable state.
So, liquid to sieve through metal screens and slurry into cotton
bags to stiffen into a workable clay to wedge. All in Eight Days a
Week. I love a Beatle reference now and again.
My contacts with Korean potters may take some time but I'll work on
it. Happy New Year. Mike