Before I start diving into the Ecology and Conservation of Ecuador (and its relation to the designs on some of my pots) I wanted to post a photo diary documenting the creation of a Japanese-style Lantern.
Lanterns are one of several objects (including fountains, planters, and drums) that fall easily into the 'functional Raku' category. They're quite elaborate... and fun (or devilishly frustrating) to make.
You also need to decide whether to slavishly adhere to the traditional forms or take a modern slant. I've done both.
Recently, though, I've been intrigued by this lantern (from the Washington arboretum). It's an interesting combination of the traditional (upper vessel and roof) and the modern (the 'doughnut' at the base).
I didn't want to slavishly copy this design, though, so I went through a sketch frenzy.
(In part, I love the way that the main basal section evokes the 'Holey Stones' found a range of mythologies... I wrote about this some time ago).
It's amazingly fun to throw 'doughnuts' on the wheel. You need to center and expand a thread of clay, furrow the middle, and then raise two walls. These are then pushed over and joined.
I've used these 'doughnut' forms for handles, spouts, legs... the have a nice visual weight, while also conveying a strong organic sensibility.
On this project, I used these guys for the main body, the legs, and the handle at the very apex of the roof section.
As a consequence, I decided to throw a 'bowl' and a separate platter-shaped base, and join the two elements.
#1) Upper 'roof' form
#2) Handle for the apex
#3) Lantern base (the lantern sits on this)
#4) Main body
#6) Top plate to complete the main body
#7) Basal plate for the lantern base
#8) Lantern vessel
#9) Basal plate for the 'roof'
Obviously, that's a large number of sections to compile. It's like an organic, muddy puzzle. Lots of playing with calipers (and even a plumb line).
There's something kind of barbaric about taking a box-cutter to a beautiful circular form fresh off the wheel.
I'm modestly pleased with the final result... although in retrospect, I might have strengthened the lantern component (in relation to the hood and the base).
The acid test, of course, will come when the time arrives to Raku-fire this sucker. Thermal shock and complex forms don't always mix... that basal section may fracture like bottle of Jack Daniels at a Skynard concert.
That, however, is another day!