Also, just as an aside to the question of not liking to name pieces... there is a tradition of mitate or substitution in Chadou, which means that an item can be used in the tearoom for a given purpose, e.g. as a chawan, even when it was created as something else. (Mitate is said to be especially encouraged when you live outside Japan and therefore are presumed to have limited access to traditional dougu. Sometimes the attitude seems to be, "Oh well, use what you can get." Other times, it's a more positive attitude: "When you use dougu of your own place and culture, your tea practice becomes an expression of your own heart, your own experience.") My own feeling is that in addition, mitate keeps us flexible and so is good practice wherever we live - and shouldn't be viewed as a case of "I couldn't get the 'real' thing so this will have to suffice."
My sensei once held a series of lessons in which she encouraged us to bring in all sorts of "non-tea" pieces to use as chawan, kensui, chaire and so forth. It was a fantastic exercise - and in many cases helped us to understand in an immediate and experiential way why the traditional parameters of each dougu are what they are. (It's challenging to pour out the rinse water from a teabowl when it has no koudai whatsoever!) My favourite mitate piece, incidentally, was a "futaoki" or lid rest that one student created from a clear shot glass; it contained two blue-green marbles and a sprig of hydrangea. Improvised, simple, and surprisingly beautiful
Thank you chameke as well.
Your's was a very interesting post and kudo's to your sensei and her flexible thinking as well as encouraging her students to do likewise. Not a practitioner of Sadou formaly, I do get a certain sense of relief when returning to Japan and seeing the variety of dogu/chashitsu in use there..... the openess and flexibility of it all, as well as the feeling of a living/evolving artform/practice which I tend to not find as readily here. The idea of giving oneself permission again.
I love seeing larger chawan and can readily understand why this form is more appealing to many artists. Tell me, do you feel a sense of constraint when working within the smaller form, or does that challenge you in a positive way?
Aside from the fact that my hands (the instruments which make in this case) are on the medium to large size as an American, as I mentioned before, I find chawan at a certain scale intuitively pleasing. They just seem "right" at that size while if they're downsized, I come away dissapointed. I did go though a number of years of "chajin angst" however in which criticism pertaining to chawan size was frequent only to find relief at the hands of a Karatsu potter who upon viewing my work said "just make your own pots, they'll be much stronger".
That said, I do remember however when first working in Japan, my "tumblers" were being bought as vases, while my oversized, impolite yunomi and teapots just sat.