Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Japanese Tea Ceremony & Test Trout

Last Saturday, I spent a fun day at Portland Pottery along with my fellow mud buddy, Lynn, enjoying a very informative seminar, the "Japanese Tea Ceremony" with Steve Murphy of Boston Pottery.  It was interesting, I was unaware of the intricacies of the tea ceremony, proper handling of the pots, design of the pots and so forth. It's quite formal and meaningful.  Unlike my Mainiac tea ceremony of throwing a tea bag in any old cup, mug, bowl, bucket... and run out the door to the studio method.

Tea bowls of a variety size and shape depending upon their use. Some tea bowls are used in the Summer, while others are used in the Winter.  A lot of thought and consideration goes into the design of each bowl.

Here Steve shows us how to trim a foot for the bowls. The lower photo is a double bamboo foot. I really like the looks of this one, very classy and elegant. 

 Above Steve is patting the brush into wet slip demonstrating how to get a feathered effect.  Below you can see the results. Using a transparent glaze this effect should stand out and be quite beautiful.

 Steve made this tool to create "chatter" marks over the bowl for decorative purposes. Below he is using the tool to create a sunflower pattern.

 As you can see, the tool has left the effect of the sunflower pattern quite nicely.

The trip to Portland was suppose to last the weekend, but as luck would have it, another storm was headed our way.  Portland is roughly three hours from home, so it was a round-trip adventure making it a long day ...but, highly worth the effort, having been able to spend time with my dear friend and take in a wonderful seminar on the tea ceremony.  I will never look at a cup of tea so casually again, but there will be no elaborate ceremonies over my cup of vanilla infused Earl Gray tea either.  Yet, I will drink my brew with fond memories of this day.
Back at the studio, I began the very detailed work of under glazing and glazing pots.  In this batch, there are the wedding pieces for the upcoming show, as well as a custom carved piece of two trout.  Some of the under glazes I have yet to test fire, so instead of blindly applying them to the carved trout, I created a test trout on a bisque fired stoneware serving dish.  I am happy with the over all application, but as all potter's have experienced, what you see isn't always what you get.  The firing can change up the colors dramatically.  I am hoping that is not the case and the trout comes out looking like a trout, rather than a gold fish!

With time and good fortune, the glazing should be completed by the weekend and firing can commence!  I will post the complete pieces next week. 

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