Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tea Bowls

Temmoku and Blue Guinomi
3.25 x 3 and 3 x 2.75

Some time ago I mentioned I was working on pinch bowls. After I started making pinch bowls, I wanted to read all about the various types of Japanese tea bowls. I have discovered there are many different types of tea bowls and various sizes and types are used for different types of tea and for different reasons. I also looked at all the beautiful yunomi at AKAR trying to get a sense of how the bowls should be shaped and the overall proportions of the bowls. Please let me know your thoughts on the shapes, sizes, and names for tea bowls. I have so much to learn.

Above are two tea bowls, almost sake size so perhaps guinomi, from the last firing. The tops are uneven and the bowl on the right is a little tippy. The bowls are nice to hold because I can feel the pinched surface. I like the temmoku color I obtained with Soldate 60 clay. I didn't intend the blue accent to run down, but wanted only a slight dot of color.

Orange Shino and Temmoku Chawan
4.75 x 2.5 inches

The pinch bowl above is also from the first group and is tea bowl size, but wider than tall, xso chawan, hope I'm getting these correct. At first I thought my glazing experiment went awry but I'm starting to like this one. The shino is rough and the temmoku is smooth. I've heard of the saying 'shino first or suffer the curse', so I did follow that rule. Should the shino be shiny though? I wonder about re firing this one in a bisque load to see what happens. I read somewhere about re firing shinos to get better color.

Now I'm thinking about the next batch I get to glaze. On Tuesday I will load my next batch of pinch bowls into the kiln for a bisque and I think this group of pinch bowls shows improvement in my forms. I've made the bases wider so they are more stable. I've also concentrated on refining the feet, smoothing the surface, and improving the lip.

My art photography on a budget also improved some, because I finally utilized a trick I learned from Cynthia of Colorado Art Studio. I took the first two photos outside on a chair and used natural light which creates fewer shadows and glare. The glaze colors are more true to life, but the background has a blue tint, even though the backdrop had a slight grey tint to it. The next photo was taken in my studio, what a difference. My paint stool doesn't provide a very level surface and I also need one of those graduated backdrops. I'm working on it. If you haven't visited Cynthia's blog you're in for a treat, she is a technical whizz and a great potter too. Her blog has a search button on the right and I used it to find her post on photography again, it worked great.

I'll post a few more pieces from this glaze load in a day or two. I'm also working on a post on how I'll be hanging my leaf panels, so stay tuned. The flower for today isn't a rose, it's a bright and sunny ice plant flower.


  1. i LOVE the temmoku and blue cups. Pinch pots are so much fun to make, I have one of my students hooked on them.

  2. Thanks Tracy, I like making them too and the tea bowls are nice to hold with the not so smooth sides, feeling the maker's hands (heh that's me - I am amazed I made them).

  3. Beautiful colors and textures on the tea bowl. It looks like it would feel so good holding it with some warm tea inside . . .
    Thanks for the link to the wonderfully simple photography set up. I know I need to improve my pictures but I have been putting off watching a fairly complicated lightbox tutorial I found on-line because I'm not ready to build the pvc frame, buy the lights,etc. but this method just means finding a nice backdrop and tearing the vines off of a portion of fence.

  4. tis a feast for the eyes, this post, the tea bowls and flower too!

  5. Oops, I think you spell your name with a e Tracey, sorry.

    Hi Barbara, yes taking the photos outside in the shade really seemed to improve the lighting. I didn't use the flash and it worked much better. Thanks about the tea bowls, I have some nice tea in the cabinet, I am going to try these out and see how I like them. Eventually I'd like to make some wood tea bowl boxes to go along with them, make them a real traditional style - we shall see - so many ideas and so little time.

    Hi Gary, thanks, everthing is blooming around here, we are having a great wild flower year. We went for a drive but I forgot my camera; I'll go back later this week to take some photos.

  6. Lovely pinch pots Linda. I love pinching pots and really like the way they feel in my hand when I hold them. For me, they offer a lot more connection to the maker than a thrown pot.

    Despite what you intended, I think the blue looks quite wonderful. Funny how those things happen?

  7. Thanks Becky, it is funny how we intend one thing and the glaze or clay produces another thing all on it's own - well with a little help from us. The way I feel right now, I would love to make dozens of these pinch bowls with a different technique for each and a different glaze on each - I could learn so much all at once, as long as I cataloged it all. Hope all is well with you.

  8. Great tea bowls. To answer your question about my slipware, yes, they are fired in oxidation. I apply the slip BEFORE they're bisque fired. Some of the slip is thinner for pouring and another kind is the trailing slip and I put it in a bulb and it keeps its shape better then.

  9. Thanks Amy, I trying to improve with each one I make. Thanks for letting me know about the slip. I think I need to thin mine out a bit and I have some hair dye applicators, a baby nose dropper and a baster I can use.

  10. Thanks for the shout, Linda! :)

    When I use the graduated backdrop, I don't have to do much to my photos, but when I use a white backdrop, sometimes I have to tweak the colors in Photoshop. You can also, adjust the white balance before taking the photos, but you'll have to pull out your camera's manual to figure out how. I'm not so good at it...

  11. Hi Cynthia, I read your post so long ago, I don't know why I never tried it, it really works and it was so nice to search your site and find it again - blogs, particuarly yours are such a great resource to me and I think to others too. I did have to adjust the color. Ben Stark told me about adjusting the white balance but I'm looking for my camera manual - I can't believe there's something you aren't good at (te, he). I really need to get one of those graduated backdrops cause that would save me so much time. Thank you for being there.

  12. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  13. thanks glad you are enjoying it.


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