The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic


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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby rjiwrth » Mar 14th, '10, 16:26

Herb_Master wrote:Do any of our artisans make or contemplate making Fair Cups (aka Justice Cups or Small Pitchers)

I think a lot of our teaware topics on Tea Chat are driven by our Green Tea community where the pitcher is not so important, but with all the wonderful Chawan and more - inspired by Green Tea and Japanese culture - I am jealous that there is so little scope for the Gong Fu practitioner. There are a few Fair cups available, and the Sea Cucumber Sake Cups from Magokorodo/Seigan were sublime - but I keep searching for a little more magic to add to my Fair Cup collection.


Herb Master,
I agree and good question. I have been using a beautiful shallow dish filled with the hottest water. I sit my fair cup in the water, which seems to keep the tea hot. I have used a larger bowl for two fair cups when I have company or have two seperate brews going. I would like to have a cool pitcher to do my yixings justice. I thought about Petr when you asked the question as I bet he can make something to your needs. Plus, his work is amazing.
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby JBaymore » Mar 14th, '10, 19:23

Chip wrote:OK, we have two questions running here. I would still like to hear more about Yohen and Reduction as posted before HerbMaster. :mrgreen:


Chip,

The Bizen pieces you show there are done in a very specific way. I actually fire chamber 3 and 4 of my noborigama using this same technique. I have done much of this kind of work when working over in Japan.

Different kiln locales in Japan use different terminology to apply to effects. Sometimes one term is used for a certain thing in one localle...and the same exact term used in another place for a different effect.

In the Bizen tradition, this particular youhen effect (fire change) is caused by the introduction of wood charcoal on top of the wares after they have been taken to and held at top temperature for a period of time. This charcoal is not "briquettes"...real charcoal like that used for certain cooking operations in Japan... and similar to that used for Chanoyu.....but not the same "quality". This is done at a very high temperature..... just "off" of the peak the wares were fired to........ like maybe about 1200C. The charcoal of course starts to burn, stoking wood on the chamber ceases, and the chamber is then allowed to cool in this atmosphere. It causes significant localized reduction on the SURFACE of the high iron Bizen clay, creating flashings as well as some charcoal ash fused onto the surface of the wares. Sometimes the colors can approach irridescent reds...and also a lovely grey-blue. The swirling flame pattern around the bits of charcoal is sometimes quite evident.

This is an effect that I LOVE. Not to mention the process is pretty dramatic.

best,

.................john
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby JBaymore » Mar 14th, '10, 19:26

Herb_Master wrote:Do any of our artisans make or contemplate making Fair Cups


Some of my cups are fair. Some are pretty good. Some are pretty bad. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Sorry... I could not resist that line.

best,

.................john
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby rjiwrth » Mar 14th, '10, 20:24

JBaymore wrote:
Chip wrote:OK, we have two questions running here. I would still like to hear more about Yohen and Reduction as posted before HerbMaster. :mrgreen:


Chip,

The Bizen pieces you show there are done in a very specific way. I actually fire chamber 3 and 4 of my noborigama using this same technique. I have done much of this kind of work when working over in Japan.


John,
What about the kyusu in the post above - the Gyokko one? Would you describe it as yohen in some areas of Japan? I just want to make sure I'm calling it correctly since the seller indicated that's what it was. Just curious what you think.
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby JBaymore » Mar 14th, '10, 20:42

rjiwrth,

Sorry but it is VERY hard to see that particular piece from the image there. From what I can see and the general description of the clay in the writing.... it looks like it likely is a form of youhen. Probably fired in a gas kiln though. Carbonacesous materials used to cause the localized reduction.

Sometimes for pieces that look like this.... coffee grounds are now used (kohi tanka).

best,

..............john
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby Chip » Mar 14th, '10, 23:53

Sooo, a reduction piece can be Yohen, and a Yohen is a reduction piece, but not all reduction pieces are Yohen?

And the answer is a bit different wherever you go or depending on who you ask? :mrgreen:
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby David R. » Mar 15th, '10, 05:07

Hi,

I see Chip that you got this wonderful Bizen Kyusu from Magokorodo. I have a question about too about Bizen teaware.

It is said that wood firing technique has an effect on water, therefore on tea. I have a few bizen cups and a yuzamashi. Hidehisa told me to leave the water stay one night in a bizen cup before brewing tea and it would change the taste. I already notice a slight only when using these cups.

Do you see a change with your kyusu/cups Chip ?

Ginkgo told me it is partly because of the reduction (carbon dioxide) penetrating deep inside the pottery.

I am very curious about these effects if you have any info/comment on this.

++
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby rjiwrth » Mar 15th, '10, 06:42

Chip wrote:Sooo, a reduction piece can be Yohen, and a Yohen is a reduction piece, but not all reduction pieces are Yohen?

And the answer is a bit different wherever you go or depending on who you ask? :mrgreen:


:lol: :lol: It's like working for the government! Believe me, I know about that one! Because I am truly OCD, I think I'm going to look for that book that Petr was mentioning. Maybe it's one of the questions where you actually need to be in the presence of the piece to tell for sure? Or, maybe it does not have just one answer? Everything you said, Mr. Chip!This is a good thread, Chip. Very interesting!
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby JBaymore » Mar 15th, '10, 07:25

Chip wrote:Sooo, a reduction piece can be Yohen, and a Yohen is a reduction piece, but not all reduction pieces are Yohen?

And the answer is a bit different wherever you go or depending on who you ask? :mrgreen:



Chip,

I guess as a pure technically, every single piece that is fired is "youhen"........ changed by the fire. Because it went into the kiln as clay and emerged as ceramic. So it was changed by the fire. :lol:

Yes, a piece that has been reduced CAN exhibit youhen effects.....but it is also true that all reduction effects are not routinely considered youhen. No, all youhen does not only involve reduction.

Youhen in general (fire change) can be looked at as a broad category of kiln induced effects. Some involve reduction and some involve oxidation. Some are induced by fusing flyash. Some are induced by being burried in coals and ash. Some are induced by repetitive changes in atmosphere from strong oxidation to strong reduction. Some involve reduction during the up-cycle. Some involve reduiction during the cooling cycle. And so on.

If you live in a particular place in Japan and there is only ONE type of "fire change" that your kiln/village/region does, then you might refer to that particular effect simply as "youhen". It is "youhen" because that is THE youhen effect with which you are familiar. You don;t need a closer identification... because you are not differentiating more closely than that.

People from another location might have a different effect that they utilize that involves the impact of maipulation of the firing....... and they call THAT effect "youhen".

You can also probably say that using the broad term "youhen" is easier to use to communicate with people who would not be familiar with more subtle terms that people other than local potters might not know. A "catch all" term that is "close enough for government work", so to speak.

I know Kusakabe-san and Mark (have had the pleasure to work with Kusakabe-san a couple of times in Japan and exhibited in a three person show with Mark). Couple of great guys. That book is absolutely the BEST one stop referenece to Japanese wood firing approaches that is available. It is clearly written for potters.... but if you are serious about Japanese wood fired pottery...... it is a good primer in English for you on "what and how".

The section that breaks down the various sub-categories of youhen effects with photos is supurb. But you have to remember that this can tend to get into the supposed category of Eskimos and words for "snow" :wink: . The average person just wants to know it is snowing, not that currently the type that is falling is grauple.

best,

.................john
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby Chip » Mar 15th, '10, 10:25

Excellent explanation John. Thank you kindly! I will ponder your words.

David R. wrote:I see Chip that you got this wonderful Bizen Kyusu from Magokorodo. I have a question about too about Bizen teaware.

It is said that wood firing technique has an effect on water, therefore on tea. I have a few bizen cups and a yuzamashi. Hidehisa told me to leave the water stay one night in a bizen cup before brewing tea and it would change the taste. I already notice a slight only when using these cups.

Do you see a change with your kyusu/cups Chip ?

Ginkgo told me it is partly because of the reduction (carbon dioxide) penetrating deep inside the pottery.

I am very curious about these effects if you have any info/comment on this.

David, the standard Kyusu was from "AN." The 2 Houjin were from "Kats."

I have at times noticed subtle changes, not an earth shattering "oh my gosh" type of change. It seems to take the edge off of some Japanese teas, but to be honest, it is not a daily go to pot ... I go with much less expensive pots and save this one for more special sessions. :mrgreen:

>>>>>>>>>>>>> yes Rebecca, great stuff!!! :idea: :mrgreen:
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby rjiwrth » Mar 15th, '10, 22:46

John,
This makes sense! I love your "words for snow" analogy. Everytime I come back to this sub-forum I think about my first pottery class YEARS ago when I did a horse hair firing and then proceeded to bury a few pots in the ground with cow pooh :wink: Oh, how I envy your talent!
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby bonjiri » Aug 28th, '10, 10:13

interesting note chip about the bizen kyusu taking the edge off some teas

i find the same w/ using clays w/ some iron content reacting with the water. somewhat softer taste. subjective if u will

was considering working w/ a nihonshu sommalier on change in taste with the actual bare / unglazed clay reacting with the liquid inside...

wild

anyone out there have some knowledge about this ?
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby Chip » Aug 28th, '10, 10:22

Very interesting, Cory.

There is quite a bit of discussion on the topic in other forums of TeaChat, more focused on Banko and recently Shigaraki.

I recently brewed some fukamushi in an Arita kyusu and served it in Arita cups ... I was surprised by the difference compared to any clay kyusu The brew was much sharper, bitter using the Arita. This could be tamed if I used the Arita kyusu more frequently and grew accustomed to using it.

Now I wonder if I used the Bizen as a water cooler for the Arita ...
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby JBaymore » Aug 28th, '10, 12:08

Chip,

Since greens are known to be SO sensitive to brewing water temperature alone.........

Might the differences be attributible to the more rapid cooling or heat retention differences between the two different kyusu........ due to tthermal condustivity of the clay, wall thickness, surface area, and so on and not have anything to do with the H2O chemistry actually reacting with the clay surface in any way?

My "science background" causes me to think about identifying and controlling variables before making conclusions.

best,

...........john
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby Chip » Aug 28th, '10, 12:26

JBaymore wrote:Chip,

Since greens are known to be SO sensitive to brewing water temperature alone.........

Might the differences be attributible to the more rapid cooling or heat retention differences between the two different kyusu........ due to tthermal condustivity of the clay, wall thickness, surface area, and so on and not have anything to do with the H2O chemistry actually reacting with the clay surface in any way?

My "science background" causes me to think about identifying and controlling variables before making conclusions.

best,

...........john

Agreed, thus since I am accustomed to using clay and not the Arita porcelain, your hypothesis is quite possible.

I was never a huge fan of the water changing argument, but I try to keep an open mind. I observe and note, observe and note, etc.

The Bizen has actually smoothed out the taste of some harder to brew sencha that I had also been brewing in Tokoname with not as stellar results. I also have had good results with Bizen houjin.

I am definitely not at a conclusion stage, and have not really felt any urgency to do side by side testing/tasting.

However I will say this, I use Tokoname extensively and feel I brew in them as well as is possible for a mere mortal. I have brewed in a much more limited basis with the Bizen with at times better results than the Tokoname. Why?

Is it a psychological thing, is it density factors, is it general clay thickness/heat retention issues ... or is it that Bizen has a "magical" effect on water as touted? As also touted by Banko and now also Shigaraki vendors and users?

I am continuing to access all factors. Now I need some Banko and Shigaraki as well. :mrgreen:
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