Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Having studied chawan for a good number of years, it has become very clear how easy it is to ruin a chawan with a less than well addressed foot. How is it that a potter can form the bowl and glaze it to near perfection and neglect the foot? I am sure you have all seen a nice bowl form, with a very nice surface and flip the chawan over only to see a weak or somewhat perfunctory foot cut in haste and without any sense of complimenting the form or establishing its any style. I am always quick to say, nothing ruins a good bowl faster than a bad foot. I have noticed  some feet and the transition to the body of the chawan are abruptly stiff, without any lift of the form or grace to the line. It is more than a bit hard to describe good from bad, seeing examples in hand is the best teacher, but modern potters like Arakawa Toyozo, Tsuji Seimei, Furutani Michio and Hori Ichiro, among others create very fine kodai, realizing the foot is far more than a place to simply set the bowl on.
Illustrated is the kodai of a chawan by master potter, Ningen Kokuho; Arakawa Toyozo. The direct and swift cutting of the foot can be clearly seen in the delft cuts made using a bamboo knife practiced and perfected over a lifetime of making pottery. There are few better than Arakawa when it comes to cutting a complimentary kodai on almost any form.
"Striving to better, oft we mar what's well."  Wm. Shakespeare (1556-1616)