The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic


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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby debunix » Aug 19th, '13, 20:30

An odd question for the teaware artisans: some of my nicest teawares have bases that are a little rough, not surprising especially for those made of coarse clays. I really like some of the beautiful coasters I've seen sliced or carved from natural stones, and am wondering how well polished agate or marble would stand up to this use--if they're likely to quickly get scratched/dulled, I should stick to something less polished so it would matter less. So....how would the hardness of agate or marble stand up to moderately coarse-clay ceramics?
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby Saladin » Aug 20th, '13, 14:45

Stoneware fires pretty hard.. like a rock. I know from experience (oops) that pottery will scratch a glass table top, and glass is quite hard.. not sure of what number agate is on the Mohs hardness scale.
Something low-fired and smooth like a Raku bowl, will probably be fine however.

http://geology.com/minerals/mohs-hardness-scale.shtml
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby paul haigh » Aug 20th, '13, 14:50

Marble is rather soft- one of the reasons it is prized for sculpture.

The bottom of a pot may be smoothed with a cheap grinding stone from the hardware store- they often have a coarse and a smooth side (I use one extensively). Then follow with 600 grit or higher wet/dry sand paper.

You can go even finer and get purdy darn smooth.
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby debunix » Aug 22nd, '13, 02:08

I did check and Marble is soberlingly low on the Mohs hardness scale.

Every time I try to picture taking a file to the foot of a precious Hagi cup, I immediately imagine a slip of the file and a chip or a shattering. Just can't see doing that.

Seems like the better way to go may be to focus not on the hardness, but on a more natural unpolished surface, so that the occasional scratches from Oni Hagi clay won't mar the beauty of the piece.
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby JBaymore » Aug 23rd, '13, 11:45

"In context".... mainly meaning "in Japan"...... the surfaces that such pieces are typically used upon (as oppoded to stored upon) are often more "forgiving" of such potential roughness. Plus the manner of handling of such pieces is usually done in such a respectful and highly considered way... that damaging the surfaces they sit upon is less likely.

For chawan, they spend most of their time sitting on tatami or held in a hand. For a sencha cup, for a guest... it is presented on a small wooden coaster.

On my chawan, yunomi, and guinomi I typically use a slow speed wet grinder like that used for lapidary work. It is a very gentle non-vibrating grinding (unlike a "grinding wheel"). It is used judiciously.

Some people feel that too MUCH grinding ofr the foot loses the character of the genesis of the work.


best,

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

Postby debunix » Aug 23rd, '13, 14:52

I do often use my cups on bamboo mats, but I also have new countertops of formica and some wood furniture that is smoothly finished and shows scratches. I've had teaware tragedies related to poorly placed fabric that can be clawed out of place accidentally by the cat. So coasters are my preferred solution for times when my tea must be mobile with me, and I'm just trying to figure out what kind may do best with the teawares, rather than invest in a pretty set that turns out useless.
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby yalokinh » Sep 9th, '13, 00:15

What would you need to get started in making teaware?
Where do you find good clay and how do you judge its quality?
(edit: added the second question)
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby JBaymore » Sep 9th, '13, 09:51

The best approach is to find some ceramics classes in your area at a community art center, a community college, or other college or university that has some form of classes that are targeted at non-matriculated students (unless you are looking to formally study this stuff.) Some private studio artists also offer classes at their studios.

First learn the fundamental basics of handling clay well..... forming methods, surface enrichment, glazing, firing and such. Then you can start approaching the design and aesthetic dictates of "tea" and bring that into your works.

Maybe go to CeramicArtsDaily forums and post a "looking for a teacher" in the "in the studio" or "education" sections and see if you can find someone or someplace local to you. Also the technical Digitalfire website has a listing of schools and individuals that offer ceramics classes and such.

Once you know something about working with clay...... you'll be in a place to judge what is "good" clay. The geologic prospecting is a whole other subject....... if you want to use local materials. Most western potters use commercially mined materials to make clay bodies...... or buy commercially prepared clay bodies. The local state geological survey is a good resource in finding clay deposits..... as are univeristy geology departments. And t aking a class on geology is a big plus.

There is a lot of learn about in handling clay.... but it is a fascinating journey that can involve many lifetimes. Enjoy the ride.

best,

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

Postby toasterburn » Nov 14th, '13, 11:45

Researching tea has made me realize just how beautiful handmade pottery can be. I'm now considering learning how to make these items. I really enjoy tinkering in my workshop building things, and have dabbled with woodworking, making musical instruments, leather craft, silversmithing, and electronics. But I feel like I haven't found my niche yet.

Unfortunately, I don't have the free time I once had to pursue such hobbies. I could probably find a couple of hours a week that I could put towards learning. Would this be enough time? How many hours of practice would it take the average person before they could produce reasonably attractive cups, bowls, and teapots?
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby JBaymore » Nov 14th, '13, 15:05

toasterburn,

Oh oh....... another life potentially ruined by starting working with clay!

Unfortunately there are no easy answers to your real question there. So much is about the person, "match-up" of learning styles of teacher and student, eye hand coordination, and so on.

Check around your area for an adult education kind of ceramics class that is at least 12-15 weeks long. Craft centers, colleges, and even some local potters may offer these. From one session like that, you should have an answer to your core question.... as well as a greater understanding of teawares and ceramics in general. Then you can decide if you want to go further.

Welcome to the "addiction". Beware the "Dark Side" Powerful, it is, ummm. :wink:

best,

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

Postby toasterburn » Nov 14th, '13, 15:19

There are two local options:

1.) A $150 class that consists of 3 2-hour one-on-one sessions (so 6 hours total).

2.) A college course that involves 4 months of classes at 6 hours a week.


Obviously, as someone who supports a family by working full-time, the college class option would be a considerable strain to attend. Not impossible, but it would require quite a sacrifice of time. On the other-hand, I'm skeptical about how much I could accomplish in a 6 hour class. Is this possibly something I could learn on my own? That's how I've learned virtually everything I know how to do. And there is a local "clay-op" where I can rent studio time (complete with kilns).
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby JBaymore » Nov 14th, '13, 16:08

Forget the 6 hour one. Basically useless. Other than to get a chance to "handle clay". But if your goal is to be able to do what you mentioned......... not a chance in hell.

Learning clay work takes TIME. There is a large component of experential learning that has to take place... even with the most skilled instruction avilable.

We often joke that 50% of working with clay is "moisture management"....... but it is not that far from the truth. Controlling the consistency of wet work and doing things at the right time is a skill that takes expericene to attain.

There are many sequential steps to the rproces, and there is time between every one of them. Among other thngs, kilns take time to heat up and cool down.

If you don't have the time to invest in that college CE course.... maybe hold off on the whole idea. That likely tells me that you do not have the time it will take to do this at any level that will satisfy you.

Doing it "yourself" will take longer.

BUT........ my guess is that if you try this out for a while.... you soon will be willing to KILL to find the time to continue. Soon you'll be coming home at 4 AM and thinking it was 8 PM. And then you'll be selling other stuff that you own to "feed your habit".

THAT is how clay is. :wink:

best,

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

Postby 茶藝-TeaArt08 » Nov 14th, '13, 17:10

JBaymore wrote:toasterburn,

Oh oh....... another life potentially ruined by starting working with clay!

Unfortunately there are no easy answers to your real question there. So much is about the person, "match-up" of learning styles of teacher and student, eye hand coordination, and so on.

Check around your area for an adult education kind of ceramics class that is at least 12-15 weeks long. Craft centers, colleges, and even some local potters may offer these. From one session like that, you should have an answer to your core question.... as well as a greater understanding of teawares and ceramics in general. Then you can decide if you want to go further.

Welcome to the "addiction". Beware the "Dark Side" Powerful, it is, ummm. :wink:

best,

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


We here have felt the lure of "Dark Side" as well and were no match for that hooded Emperor's invitation. We purchased a wheel and are now also in the process of preparing our garage for a kiln (gotten for free)...now...down the rabbit hole. :D
Last edited by 茶藝-TeaArt08 on Nov 14th, '13, 17:26, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby 茶藝-TeaArt08 » Nov 14th, '13, 17:19

toasterburn wrote:There are two local options:

1.) A $150 class that consists of 3 2-hour one-on-one sessions (so 6 hours total).

2.) A college course that involves 4 months of classes at 6 hours a week.


Obviously, as someone who supports a family by working full-time, the college class option would be a considerable strain to attend. Not impossible, but it would require quite a sacrifice of time. On the other-hand, I'm skeptical about how much I could accomplish in a 6 hour class. Is this possibly something I could learn on my own? That's how I've learned virtually everything I know how to do. And there is a local "clay-op" where I can rent studio time (complete with kilns).


My wife attended a city college course that took place once a week, on Sat. (There are also sometimes evening courses) and it gave her the opportunity to try different clays, wheels, glazes, tools, etc. without any overhead and to have feedback from other students as well as her very skilled and capable teacher, plus the benefit of a knowing teacher to assign various assignments that would progress different methods of clay usage. In that single semester she made some amazing work (People have offered to buy her work: I'd say she has a natural talent) and started her path. During the class she worked full-time and found her ceramic time to be a meditative space that actually enhanced the quality of her life amidst obligations, even though it added something more into our schedule.

Blessings!
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Re: The Official "Ask the Artisan" Community Topic

Postby biglou13 » Feb 4th, '14, 23:16

I'm relatively new to
Pottery and tea ware
As suggested I've been studying as much tea related subjects as possible
I've been drinking matcha almost daily for about a year.
I've learned a lot, and learned there is so much more to learn.

I fortunately was able to get a few pieces woodfired. (I'm in love with all things woodfired). 3 day firing.

Well after getting results of woodfire, I have a question regarding inside surface. All my attempts at a chawan that were woodfired, have rough inside bowl surfaces, so much that it sometimes breaks of bits of chasen.

The chawan with grit in clay, is just as bad as smooth clay with kiln contributions.



Question ?

Does a chawan need to have a smooth interior?
Does this answer differ from ceremonial chawan, to daily use. Chawan?
When making tea how much pressure chasen to chawan?
I went to cooking school and whipping pretty much always included some pressure whip,to bowl.

Following are detail of a few wood fired chawan (attempts) with rough surfaces. First one no grit in self made clay body, second with grit. 3rd commercial body with added grit.

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