Saturday, September 6, 2014

Tea Bowl Making


Useless tea bowl

Have you ever tried making pottery? I guess that many of tea people have dreamed about making their own tea bowl. I’ve actually tried it by using a turning wheel at a pottery workshop. However, once the clay is baked, it shrinks and gets dense. I paid attention to forming my desired figure, but not to the size or thickness. So, the tea bowl got very thick and heavy. It didn’t even have enough space to move the whisk in it. It was useless, hahaha.

Stimulating my creativity

There are always different types of tea bowl on the shelf at my tea class, which I can get to use. There is one particular bowl that I am fond of using‏. It is a flat beige bowl. It’s a small bowl that fits in the palms. The simple clay and glaze feel calm and gentle. It looks round but it actually has slight distortions and rough surface. Those imperfectness captures me. I learned that the bowl is made by hand forming, not with a turning wheel. Now, it makes sense why it has the primitive look. I’m thinking of making this kind of bowl myself, even if I failed once in the past.

The flat beige bowl

Pottery workshop

I visited the pottery studio again. The dimensions and thickness were the points for me to pay attention this time. I’ve actually measured many tea bowls and decided the size I want. I was thinking that clay was flexible, so you could easily form it into whatever figure you want. However, it was damn difficult to fix it once it got deformed. I had to do it from scratch for a few times. Anyway, I was absorbed in working on clay forgetting about the time.




Imperfection on a bowl

The instructor said that you should try to make the bowl as carefully as possible when forming it by hand. No matter how hard you try, the bowl will have a slight of distortion and roughness. Those primitiveness will become the charm of the tea bowl. I totally agree. I made the bowl with care. However, the form got too unbalanced and the surface is too bumpy to look charming. It looks like it has been made by a child‏, hahaha. I’m happy that at least, I got the size I desired, and it’s usable. Japanese bowls look rustic and imperfect so you might think that you can make one by yourself. It’s wrong. I keenly realized that the tasteful bowls can be created only with good skills. This experience gave me a new interesting aspect to appreciate when observing a bowl in the tea room.

My handmade bowl


9 comments:

  1. It's great, especially since you can at least use it! I tried once and also made something I couldn't use :)

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    1. Hahaha, there seems not only me who made an unusable bowl.

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  2. I tried too. It came out of the kiln, but it was much too heavy to use as anything but a cat's water bowl!

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    1. You can at least use it for some purpose. That’s good. I don’t even know where my bowl is now.

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  3. I read your blog. Very good effort. Useful content. Nice to read. Thanks sharing this

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  4. Please keep trying! You can do it!

    It's like weaving. It seems simple- pull a thread in and out of lines of threads. Can't be hard, right? But after making a long rectangular piece, the inexperienced weaver will have made something bent in the middle, pulled in like an hourglass. But by the time the fabric is long enough to see it, it's terrible trying to fix! But keep trying. You will get the lines right with practice.

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  5. I am thinking of entering a ceramics class, so I can make my own bowl!
    Yours looks very pretty. I think it already looks too good for being made by a kid.

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    1. Thank you, Aafke-san. I use my bowl every day hoping it grows tasteful KANNYU crackles. You must be excited to take the ceramic class. It’ll be so much fun if you can make create whatever pottery you want. Enjoy!

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  6. I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.
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