Wednesday, June 1, 2011
ON THE VERGE
I really like to throw teabowls occasionally that push the boundries of my abilities and the laws of physics. I have long admired the altered and casual chawan by such notable greats as Tsujimura Shiro, Suzuki Goro and Kakurezaki Ryuichi to name just a few. Interestingly enough, if you look closely at their works, you can see a pattern emerge. Through their apprenticeship and later while working, they have developed a formulaic approach to creating chawan. This formula allows them the freedom to create a series of bowls in a naturalistic manner with subtle nuances that differentiate between the pieces. On closer examination, there is an evolving form and idea that has sprung from a similar idea. This is both taught and learned over years of working, it is the “potters’ evolution”.
For the most part, in the West it is all about trial and error. Since the bulk of my work is very functional and Western in its approach, it has taken longer to develop repeatable formulas for the altered teabowl. The illustrated bowl was basically beaten into submission, beaten to the verge of collapse. This bowl was thrown off the hump, giving me lots of room to maneuver around the form with my paddle. Once heavily paddled, the bowl was rethrown from the interior and and gentlely cupped from the base and pushed oval. Once leatherhard, the foot was addressed with a sharpened bamboo hera and the the excess clay all cut away leaving an oval foot. After the bisque, it was glazed in my temmoku and haiyu glaze giving it a Karatsu feel in appereance. It doesn’t show now, but there was a moment, when this piece was on the verge of collapse and being wedged for yet another try.