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The crafting of a Ginko porcelain piece begins with one of its most striking features - its color. First we prepare a richly colored clay body by mixing various proportions of stains into a simple porcelain recipe.

The next stage is the construction of nerikome “logs”. First, the clay is made into flat strips by passing it through a pasta making machine between two pieces of fabric.

Running clay strips through the pasta machine
Peeling the flattened clay
Sunyong passes a strip of clay through a pasta maker
The flattened strip emerges from the machine

A drawing of a design is transformed into a three dimensional log by laminating, carving, rolling and manipulating layers of colored clay. These logs are then sliced into thin cross sections.

Various nerikome logs
A full sized and compressed nerikome log
Slicing thin cross sections from nerikome log
A stack of full-sized nerikome logs ready for compressing
A full-sized log and its compressed counterpart
The compressed log is sliced into thin, sushi-like cross-sections

Looking like thin sushi, the slices will be inlaid into the surface of a clay slab, creating intricate designs. Thus the 2-D drawing has been transformed into a 3-D log and then to a 2-D surface design which is integrated into a 3-D piece.

Forms are initially created by carving blocks of plaster or using plaster molds cast from wheel- thrown forms.

Using these molds, master forms (such as plates, bowls etc) are made which will be used to make the hydraulic clay press mold.

Molds on a shelf
Press molds Making a clay press mold for the hydraulic press is a long and strenuous process. However utilizing this technology enables us a unique opportunity for expanded artistic expression while keeping the work reasonably priced for such a labor intensive application.

In the first pressing we then shape the forms on the hydraulic press. Sunyong does all the design work with pieces of inlays on the just pressed form. It is then pressed a second or third time to inset the inlay. Trimming follows, along with various finishing tasks.

Of course, some pieces are still made entirely by hand, without the use of the press.

After hand-finishing, we apply a commercially available food-safe clear glaze.

Ginko Porcelain is then single fired in a high-fire oxidation kiln, yielding a radiant brilliance.

Grinding the “foot” off the pottery is the final touch and the piece is ready for use.

Sunyong unloading the kiln
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