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ocarina-making mistake

updated tue 8 aug 00


Peter J. Houghton on thu 3 aug 00

I'm back after a long time away with a question for all those
experienced at ocarina-making who care to respond. I'd love to hear
from you, esp. at my private e-mail address.
I recently finished making a group of tuned ocarinas. It
wasn't until after I smoke fired them that I took the time to look at
instructions for making them other than the ones by Delia
Robinson(sp?) in CM. [Delia, if you see this, I'm sorry if I didn't
get your name spelled right. I don't have time to check it.]
Somehow, I missed something vital that she put across. Namely, it
was that the blade hole is supposed to be on the side of the ocarina
body opposite the side where the note holes are placed. (Right?)
I poked the blade hole opening on the same side as the note
holes. Is this alright? They sound OK to me. It doesn't seem to
have affected how well they're tuned. I was going to try to sell
them. Now, I'm not sure how serious a mistake it was, & whether I
need to be concerned about that at all.
There's a local hoity-toity place where I sell my work on
consignment. If I put these up for sale there, is there a chance
that anyone will make a big deal out of the unusual location of the
blade hole? If so, will I mar my reputation, and should I just opt
to keep these early drafts off the market? What do you experienced
clay ocarina makers think? I need your input to make a wise
decision. Thanks in advance.

Joyce Jackson
Natural Inspirations Pottery

BobWicks@AOL.COM on fri 4 aug 00

Dear Aiko:
I read your note regarding ocarinas. I am Certified as a Professional
Ocarina Instructor through Ocarina Originators out of London. Many ocarinas
that are on the market today look great, but be careful if yowl would like to
play, sheet music on one. The Ocarinas that I make are in tune and I
designate the key that they sound in. I make two basic types; the English
Penny Whistle type which has 8 holes and the Aztec Quadraphonic which has
four holes on one side and plays a full octave. I also make them to play 1
1/2 octaves and they all are pendant ocarinas. The one that I have had the
most success with are fired in Raku fashion so that they have a good timbre.
They can be custom ordered in soprano, tenor, alto and bass. I hope you can
find what you are looking for.

Also I have built a wood burning trench kiln at the University and it fires
about 200 pots at one time. If I can help you, just ask questions.

Bob Wicks, Professor Emeritus Art

Aiko Ichimura on fri 4 aug 00


I had attended the 18th annual Smithonian Craft
show last April. I was looking for a Birthday gift for my
10 year old Godchild. I came across with a potter who
were sowing his pots and ocarinas. They were so beautifull
made and I wanted it so badly for Emily. But all were sold out
by the time I got there and he would take orders. But the Birthday
was nearing within a few days. I had to buy another present instead of
for 2 months.

I wish I took his card then. The ocarina had a nice silk string attached
so that one can wear as a jewlry, so to speak.

It was glazed and well designed. I did not try it to hear the sound, to my
regret. The price was $24.00 - $36.00 depending on the sizes.


Aiko Ichimura on sun 6 aug 00

Thanks Bob,

> that are on the market today look great, but be careful if yowl would like
> play, sheet music on one. The Ocarinas that I make are in tune and I

I would try to play next time I see an ocarina. I never thought ( how silly)
about using ocarina as a full fledged musical instrument.

When you come to think of it, if you can make a beautiful
flute out of a bamboo piece, clay is a material you can control
betther than banboo once you find the right clay and the right thickness
and right position for the hole and the size of the instrument .

Thank you for your guidance.

Aiko in DC, after spending almost 10 hours with Eydie
looking her pots, answering her questions, looking photos and books,
picking her herbs ,eating her food ,and talking, I am refreshed as if
I had a nice vaction.

MLL7777@AOL.COM on mon 7 aug 00

Bob - I have been thinking about making ocarinas with my elementary school
students. I hope to get the music teacher involved so that the kids will be
able to play something with them. Do you think it possible for this to
happen - can you give me any guidelines to follow with the children?? It
seems to me a terrific project but I don't want to go through the process and
have them be disappointed because they sound terrible.
Mary Lou