Author archive for Derek

  • Heirlooms


    Max Raymond Carey was born in Fairbury, Nebraska on March 7, 1915.  After graduating from the University of Nebraska, Max joined the Air Force as an aviation cadet.  He graduated in June of 1941 and was assigned to Hickam Field in Hawaii.  On December 7, Max witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor.  About six months later Max’s unit was sent to the South Pacific where he flew over the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Guadalcanal.

    Max returned to the US to serve as an instructor pilot on B17 Flying Fortresses, then commanded 300 crew members to England.  Having completed his assignment and relieved as commander, Max spent three weeks exploring London while waiting for an opportunity to fly home.  Having heard someone was needed to fly US Embassy mail to the US, Max volunteered.  The task would take him on a long detour through Glasgow, Algeria, Cairo, Liberia, Brazil, and finally back to the US.

    After the surrender of Japan on August 14, 1945, Max flew with a lieutenant from the Philippines to Yokohama in order to secure airfields ahead of MacArthur’s arrival on August 30.  Max had a jeep, a sidearm, a few cartons of cigarettes and two stacks of yen notes, but neither an interpreter nor reliable maps.  Nevertheless, Max’s official work went smoothly- most of the airfields had been deserted or were staffed with only a skeleton crew who were already prepared to hand over the base.  In his free time Max explored Tokyo on his own.

    B-17 Flying Fortress

    Imperial Hotel

    During the five or six days that Max drove around Tokyo he visited markets and ate at restaurants, having no idea what he was eating.  From a bridge outside the Imperial Palace Max peaked at the gardens.  He roamed the halls of the deserted Imperial Hotel built by Frank Lloyd Wright.  The residents stayed away from him- one can imagine their shock at the site of a uniformed American soldier casually walking their streets.

    In Ueno Max ended up at a high-end department store (perhaps Matsuzakaya).  The front doors were locked, but he found his way inside through a back entrance.  He surprised a maid who rushed to get the manager.  The manager, even now still immaculately dressed, introduced himself in English and invited Max upstairs into his office.  The manager was apologetic as he explained that the finest merchandise had been hidden away in mountain caves in Kyoto, but if Max would only return in three days there would be something to show him.

    Three days later, Max returned to the store and was again led upstairs.  He was greeted with an array of items laid out before him- jewelry, fabric, paintings and crafts.  Max chose things his wife would like: some silk brocades, paintings and a jade.  Max had no idea as to the value of these items, whatever amount the manager asked for he readily gave from the stack of bills in his pocket.

    Max is now 99 years old.  Many adventures later, the items he purchased so long ago are still decorating his modest apartment.

    Tokuriki Tomikichiro, 12 Months of Japan

    White Jade Buddhist Carp


  • Family

    Mary Au

    Vladimir Golikoff, Russian tea merchant. Father of Mary and Paul.

    Liang Oei Lin Born 1906, Hankow. Mother of Mary Au.

    Liang Oei Lin with Mary and Paul.

    Mary Au and Paul Vladimir Huang with their step-father, Captain Wong You Zee. They are on his ship which plied the Yangtze River.

    Mary Au (left) with friend. Shanghai or Hankow.

    Mary Au. Shanghai or Hankow.

    Mary Au. Shanghai, 1940's.

  • Heirlooms

    于右任 Yu Youren

    Yu was a scholar of calligraphy and is regarded as one China’s modern masters. His works in cursive and semi-cursive manner are intensely animated. He is perhaps best known for his calligraphy and published related works on the topic. Because his later years were spent in Taiwan, his writing style is very popular and his works are considered very desirable by collectors. Yu completed numerous inkworks, stone carvings, and title plaques while living in Taipei including works for the National Museum of History, Din Tai Fung, Xingtiang Temple, and the Shilin Official Residence.

  • Heirlooms

    Tokuriki Tomikichiro

    Tokuriki Tomikichiro 徳力富吉郎

    Print artist. Tokuriki was born in Kyoto, where he has always worked. The last of a long line of traditional-style painters, he turned early to woodblock prints and became a leader of the Kyoto ‘Sosaku Hanga’. He graduated from the Kyoto City School of Fine Arts and Crafts and then from the Kyoto City Specialist School of Painting in 1924. In 1928 he studied ‘Nihonga’ painting under Tsuchida Bakusen (1887-1936) and Yamamoto Shunkyo (1871-1933) and exhibited with Kokuga Sosaku Kyokai, but about the same time in 1929 he changed to woodblock printing under the influence of Hiratsuka Un’ichi and began to contribute to the early print magazine ‘Han’. He was a member of Nihon Hanga Kyokai from 1932, and active in promoting ‘Sosaku Hanga’ in Kyoto. He was a co-founder of the Kyoto magazine ‘Taishu hanga’ in 1932, which helped create the sense of a local school of the Creative Print Movement much encouraged by Hiratsuka. He produced many sets of prints before and during the Pacific War based on traditional subjects, such as ‘Shin Kyoto fukei’ (‘New View of Kyoto’, 1933-4), which also included designs by Asada Benji (q.v.) and Asano Takeji (b.1900), and ‘Tokyo hakkei’ (‘Eight Views of Tokyo’, 1942). Most of these were published by Uchida of Kyoto, but after the war Tokuriki set up his own publishing company called Matsukyu, which also began to teach block-carving to artisans and artists, in later years many of them foreigners. In 1948 he also set up a sub-company called Koryokusha consisting of artists who would produce their prints under the financial umbrella of Matsukyu. Later sets include ‘Hanga Kyoto hyakkei’ (‘One Hundred Print Views of Kyoto’, 1975). Tokuriki has continued to be active in teaching and writing, producing a long series of articles on print techniques in ‘Hanga geijutsu’ magazine during the 1970s.

    一月 January

    Ise Ujihashi Bridge

    二月 February

    Kasuga Shrine in Nara

    三月 March

    Kagoshima Shiroyama

    四月 April

    Mount Fuji in Clouds

    五月 May

    Niju-Bashi Bridge

    六月 June

    Nikko Toshogu Shrine

    七月 July

    Tago Bay

    八月 August

    Suwa Kintaikyo Bridge

    九月 September

    Ohmi Katata Ukimido Temple

    十月 October

    Fuji from Akinono

    十一月 November


    十二月 December

    Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto

  • Heirlooms

    區建公 Au Kin Kung




  • Heirlooms

    周世聪 Madame Chow Sai-chung


  • Jingdezhen

    Chinese Cones

    I can't but help think my cones are giving me the finger..

  • Jingdezhen

    Gaolin Mountain

    The traditional source of Kaolin clay used in Chinese porcelain is Gaolin mountain.  There’s actually not much to see at the park there- all the kaolin clay was mined out a very long time ago.  But the mountain itself is beautiful, and the nearby villages still offer a glimpse into “old China”.

    The village at Kaolin mountain.

    Although there’s not much to see related to ceramic history, the mountain is beautiful.

    One of the old mine shafts at Kaolin mountain.

    A waterwheel fed by one of the mountain streams.

    The old village is quaint and peaceful.

    Traditional houses are found in the smaller villages around Kaolin mountain.

  • Porcelain Body

    Natural Quarts and Mica additions to porcelain

    Test of adding natural quartz and mica to porcelain.

    Porcelain is Taida 609 fired to 1310 celsius in reduction.

    Top row: 5, 10, 15, 20% addition of silica to 100g porcelain slip
    Bottom row: 5, 10, 15, 20% addition of mica to 100g porcelain slip


    The natural quartz has a ton of impurities. Also I did not consistently grind or filter the quartz. Addition of quartz impedes translucency.


    I’m not sure exactly what type of mica I used. However, it seems pretty clean and of uniform particle size. Didn’t notice translucency affected much. The last tile is a little thicker than the others so appears more opaque.


  • Uncategorized

    CGGHZ Chinese Glazes Guan Hangzhou p82

    Chinese Glazes Hangzhou Guan Glazes

    Table 29 p269

    CGGHZ 1
    PF 27
    CC 21
    QU 29
    Wh 18.5
    DO 3
    RIO .5
    BA 1.0

    CGGHZ 2
    PF 30.5
    CC 18.5
    QU 27
    WH 19
    DO 3
    RIO .5
    BA 0.7

    CGGHZ 3
    PF 24
    CC 25.5
    QU 28.5
    WH 18
    DO 3
    RIO .6

    CGGHZ 4
    PF 31
    CC 22
    QU 25
    WH 16.5
    DO 4.0
    RIO .5
    MD 0.2

    2013/05/13 1270C reduction, sub .3 YIO for RIO






  • Photos


  • Techniques

    Omega HH506RA Pyrometer

    In the future I’ll be adding articles to this website.  The first article that came to mind was a review of an excellent pyrometer I recently purchased, the Omega HH506RA.

    Omega HH506RA Dual Input, High Accuracy Datalogger/Thermometer ($199USD)

    I was looking for a thermometer to use primarily with my gas kiln, preferably a portable version that i could easily detach and use with other kilns in my workshop.

    My main requirements were:

    • At least two inputs for the two thermocouples (top & bottom) in my gas kiln.
    • Multiple thermocouple types.  I fire the gas kiln to cone 9-12 so prefer S-type thermocouples for their greater accuracy (0 to 1600°C continuous temperature range) and longevity.  But for my cheap bisque electric kiln I use K-type thermocouples (0 to +1100°C).
    • Real-time datalogging using a serial or USB cable which can be connected to a computer.  Ideally, the data should be transmitted in a non-propriety format which can be read directly from the port or from a simple text file.  (Logging is important as I’m also helping a ceramicist friend who wants to view firing data from his kilns while he’s out of town.)
    • Dual voltage, or preferably battery operated.
    • Rugged housing, solid build quality.

    Fluke offers the Series II Model 52 which has two inputs and datalogging.  However, from reading the manual it seems that the data can only be viewed on the computer through Fluke’s proprietary FlukeView Forms software, adding at least another hundred dollars (for the basic version) to the over $300USD cost of the thermometer.

    After looking through the Clayart mailing list archives I started looking into Omega thermometers.  Omega’s website ( can be quite confusing due to the abundance of options available, but after much searching it seemed that the Omega HH506RA would meet all my requirements.  A quick response from Omega support confirmed everything I needed to get things working.

    • Omega HH506RA Thermometer ($199) 2-Channel Temperature Measuring, 7 Thermocouple Types , Triple Display with Setable Backlight , Triple Display with Setable Backlight , Save Data (128 Samples with Real-Time Data), Datalogging (16 Sets, Max 1024 Data Capacity), Time, Record Interval, APO Time Setting , Software Package Included (RS232C Cable and Disk, Model HH506RA Only), °C/°F Switchable , 0.1 Resolution , Water/Splash Resistant, NEMA-4X,, Dustproof
    • Accessory HH506RA-USB-SW ($30) USB cable and software for Win98/NT/2000. The HH506RA already comes with software and a RS232 cable.  But a lot of computers don’t even have RS232 ports anymore, so I added the USB cable.
    • Miniature Thermocouple Connectors Flat Pin  (Part number SMPW-K-M for K-type, SMPW-R/S-MF for S-type.) You will need one male connector for each type of themocouple you’ll be using.  The connectors are easily be attached to the ends of thermocouple wires and then plugged into the thermometer.  I purchased two S-type connectors for the gas kiln and two K-type connectors for the electric bisque kiln.
    • R and S Type Thermocouple Extension Wire  I already had thermocouples and wire.  But if you need to purchase the wire, Omega sells it in a minimum of 25′ rolls.  Part number EXTT-RS-20-25.


    As I mentioned, I already had thermocouples and wire.  So all I had to do was attach the thermocouple wires to the Omega connectors and then insert into the thermometer.  I was concerned that simply adding the Omega connectors and thermometer would lead to accuracy problems due to the length and gauge of the wire not being matched to the thermometer.  After many tests against my old pyrometer and cone firings, I was happy to find that the Omega is very accurate.

    As you can see in the above picture, my thermocouple wires are thick-gauge, much thicker than the Omega connectors are designed to be used with.  But they work together just fine, even though the connector covers cannot be used.  Thermocouple inputs and USB/RS232 input are all located at the top of the unit.  The display is quite clear and has an illuminated display.  Thermometer controls are fairly easy to figure out.  You need to adjust the settings to match your setup.  As you can see in the display, the current reading is 9°CS, C representing Celsius and S representing the type of thermocouple.  Mismatching the thermocouple type with thermometer settings will give incorrect readings.

    Output from the HH506RA using the Omega software

    The USB cable is easily connected to a computer.  The Windows software is quite old but simple to install and run.  The dual temperature displays and temperature difference display are very nice, but unfortunately I’ve found the graphing function unusable.  Fortunately, the simple tab-delimited text file output of the Omega software is easily imported into spreadsheet applications like Excel and Google Docs.

    Using Excel with Omega temperature output

    The Omega temperature output file as viewed in Excel and simple text (above).

    Using Google Docs

    Below, the file after being uploaded to Google Docs and viewed in a simple Line Chart.  The same could be done in Excel.
    By the way, the above graph shows my firing schedule.  This instance isn’t a particularly good firing.  Slow rise first hour to get rid of moisture, fairly fast to 800, from 800-900°C soak with slight pressure for a couple hours until kiln evens out, begin reduction just after with gradual decrease as reaching temperature, soak for another hour until Chinese cone 9 drops (about 1310°C), crash cool with full open damper until 900°C.  It’s a ten (in this case, twelve) hour firing but doesn’t take a lot of gas due to the three or more hours of relaxed soaking.


    At $199USD the Omega HH506RA thermometer is an excellent value.  I’ve already used it for a year and haven’t had any problems.  It’s built solidly and the original 9v battery hasn’t died yet.  I really like the display on the computer monitor, especially the difference between the two thermocouple readings.  It would be nice if Omega had better software for looking at graphs, but since the files are easily imported into Excel this isn’t much of an issue.
  • Craft


    It’s said that you can tell how long a foreigner has been in China by the number of appearances they have on Chinese television.  I’m not doing well, I guess, because I’ve only been in one documentary.

    “China · porcelain” is a documentary about the fascinating history of Chinese export porcelain in the Ming and Qing dynasties, including Chinese porcelain’s influence on world trade, culture, and the economy.
  • Glazes

    The Glaze Sprayer Maker

    Some of the tinsmith's tools

    Templates for glaze canisters

    Each type of glaze canister has a specific application, from spraying large sculptures to detailed underglaze application.

  • Techniques

    New kiln

    Steel-frame fiber propane gas kiln, six venturi burners, single shelf (64x64cm).

    Steel frame of gas kiln in progress

    Steel frame of gas kiln in progress

    Steel frame of gas kiln

    Steel frame of gas kiln

    Completed gas kiln with steel frame and stainless steel panels

    Completed gas kiln with steel frame and stainless steel panels

    Inside of completed gas kiln

    Inside of completed gas kiln

  • Jingdezhen

    New Studio

    The building had been abandoned for a number of years when we convinced the landlord to let us rent it

    The building had been abandoned for a number of years when we convinced the landlord to let us rent it

    Two months later, renovations complete.

    Two months later, renovations complete.

  • Photos

    Cizhou Kiln

    Some of the old mantou kilns have been converted into shops