How to make a teapot. It’s more difficult than I had thought. These two below were my first efforts by myself: Maezawa-sensei cast his eyes over them and picked out five faults straight away. I think he added a sixth later. But the main thing is in the spout; angle and size, and the cut to stop the tea from running back down the spout on the outside when the teapot is put upright again. These are practice for making a Japanese style teapot, a kyuusu（急須）and I think that as Japanese people do not much drink English tea like we do, that they are over-refined. For example, the idea that the spout shouldn’t rise above the level of the rim so that the teapot can be washed and left upside down. Maezawa-sensei was surprised when I said that we don’t actually wash our teapots, and would rather a layer of tannin builds up. And that our teapots are quite heavier, but then of course we scald our teapots before we use them:
Scald the teapot.
This is another little orphan. It was an experiment: a variation of a technique that Kitajima-sensei taught me of using stencils to put a design onto a trimmed piece. She uses slip (in Japanese this is called ‘dobe,’ どべ, and I’ve seen it written in Katakana too: ドベ) that is the same colour as the body of the trimmed piece, but until I get better results doing that, I’ve used white slip stencilled onto a red clay body, then a clear glaze. I held it by hand to glaze it, hence the finger/thumb marks. 9cm x 9cm x 9cm.
Three more guinomi came out of the kiln at the last firing. They were all experiments with hakeme, which is brushing white slip onto a base of darker clay, leaving lines of contrast. The brush is the ‘hake’, and the remaining lines the ‘me.’ I suppose the logical glaze to use is clear (透明), but in these three cases I used, from left to right, oribe, ame and tenmoku. All about 7cm x 7cm x 4cm.
Well, hanami (cherry blossom viewing) has come and gone in Toyama. As usual it looked as if everyone was taking a hundred photos. We did our hanami at the castle park; it seemed that the weather was warmer this year than recently. Unusually, one of the statues of a naked girl along the Matsu-gawa river got clothed, perhaps in a sense of adding to decorum. It was an asian style cloth, which was kind of odd in its non-Japaneseness at this most Japanese time of year. But never mind. Somebody has removed it now. I think she looked better with it on.
I’m stlll making sake cups and containers even though winter has finished. I have a couple of more sets working their way through the kilns and then I’ll stop until autumn comes around again. This guinomi comes from the last bit of clay I had left on the wheel when I was making other things, so it’s a bit of an orphan. Red clay covered with three layers of white slip. Shiro Matto (matt white) glaze. 70 x 70 x 35. It looks a little like a small neriage cup, but that is just the contrast between the base clay and slip showing through the white glaze. This style is actually called ‘hakeme’ (刷毛目) in Japanese, which I’ll explain in another post soon.