Oct 14th 14 4:21 pm
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Uneven colour on a Shigaraki kyusu

by Arioche » Oct 14th 14 4:21 pm

Hello guys, long-time lurker here.

Recently, I got my hands on one of Hojo's newest Shigaraki pots. I've been brewing darker oolongs (yanchas, especially) with it for close to a month now.

I really like what this pot does for the teas I'm preparing, but just today, someone fairly experienced in Chinese Yixing pottery pointed out to me that because the lid is of a slightly different colour than the body, the pot would have been deemed 'unacceptable' by him.

Now, I'm unsure if the pot came like that, or it slowly changed colour over time (do the Shigarakis do this? I'd love them so much more if they did), and I have noticed the difference in colour before, only that it didn't really bother me that much, but is this really a problem?

As much as I'd love to post a picture showing the slightly darker lid than the body, this difference is extremely hard for me to capture on camera. This difference is most noticeable when the pot is drying. It feels like the lid is drying more quickly than the body.

Thoughts?

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Oct 14th 14 5:04 pm
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Re: Uneven colour on a Shigaraki kyusu

by William » Oct 14th 14 5:04 pm

Do you consider yourself happy with your new teapot? If the answer is yes, I see no problems.
If this aesthetic thing bothers you, sell it and buy another one (when there will be available) that meets your parameters.

Regards.

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Re: Uneven colour on a Shigaraki kyusu

by paul haigh » Oct 14th 14 5:10 pm

Wood fired wares often have the lid fired on the pot (separated from the pot by a crumbly clay called "wadding" that prevents sticking). This generally ensures that the pot and lid see the same kiln atmosphere.

It is possible that the lid was fired off the pot in order to allow some wood fire effect in the gallery and inside of the pot (check for melted ash in there), in which case the lid may receive a different amount of "ash and flash", even if it was fairly close (though this is somewhat speculative- see if it received similar wood fire effect to the foot of the pot).

Another explanation is that the lid was broken and another was made to fit. These are purely aesthetic considerations, and if (as William said)- you like the pot, then don't listen to the haters :)

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Re: Uneven colour on a Shigaraki kyusu

by Arioche » Oct 14th 14 5:21 pm

Oh, I do love this teapot so very much. I just regard the person who gave that remark quite highly. I want to know if the pot is really 'unacceptable', or if his opinion on it is wrong, is all.

On a side note, how do I tell if there is melted ash on the inside?

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Re: Uneven colour on a Shigaraki kyusu

by the_economist » Oct 14th 14 6:05 pm

Wrong about what? It's a matter of aesthetics.

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Re: Uneven colour on a Shigaraki kyusu

by Muadeeb » Oct 14th 14 6:34 pm

I've been using my new Shiggy a lot this month too, and I noticed the lid is a slightly different color as well. I figured it was due to the lid being in a different area in the kiln and seeing that different atmosphere. Not that big a deal to me, but I'm sure you could find a buyer for it easily if you wanted to sell it.

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Re: Uneven colour on a Shigaraki kyusu

by paul haigh » Oct 14th 14 7:15 pm

Melted ash will show up as an uneven shine, or more likely as yellow specks on the surface. It may appear as an uneven natural looking glaze. It would be fairly faint in the bottom of the pot, and would contrast with the sides-inside the pot (assuming it's unglazed)

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Re: Uneven colour on a Shigaraki kyusu

by Alex » Oct 14th 14 7:21 pm

It wouldn't bother me in the slightest in fact I prefer little quirks like that but its up to you. His opinion isn't wrong for him, its right...in this case only your opinion matters. Maybe he's looking at it from Chinese Yixing standpoint...which is the wrong place to view Japanese wares.....in my opinion of course :lol:

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Re: Uneven colour on a Shigaraki kyusu

by .m. » Oct 14th 14 8:53 pm

Given the various bold statements of Akira Hojo comparing his clays to yixing (even claiming their superiority), i can imagine that someone who's an expert on yixing might find a certain pleasure in picking on Hojo's teaware.
(Disclaimer: I dont want to suggest this is the case since i dont know the person.)

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Re: Uneven colour on a Shigaraki kyusu

by Arioche » Oct 14th 14 11:50 pm

The more I look at the pictures of other Shigarakis, the more I'm convinced mine doesn't really have much of a problem at all, aesthetically or otherwise. Here are some pictures from Akira Hojo's site which show pots with the same difference between the lids and the bodies that my pot has (Hojo's picture of my pot shows the contrast like these pictures, but it's really more obvious in real life):
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Re: Uneven colour on a Shigaraki kyusu

by Chip » Oct 15th 14 12:22 am

That is a beautiful lil shiggy.
Alex wrote:It wouldn't bother me in the slightest in fact I prefer little quirks like that but its up to you. His opinion isn't wrong for him, its right...in this case only your opinion matters. Maybe he's looking at it from Chinese Yixing standpoint...which is the wrong place to view Japanese wares.....in my opinion of course :lol:
+1

I expect a higher degree of perfection from Tokoname kyusu, generally speaking because they are usually so ... precise in every regard. But these are not Tokoname nor are they yixing ... and are vastly far removed from yixing in how they are made and clay used. Like comparing apples to ... grapefruits.

Clearly to the craftsman credit, he has done remarkable work with these rough clay shiggies. But the clay clearly lends itself to all kinds of ... imperfections in "color" especially over time.

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Re: Uneven colour on a Shigaraki kyusu

by Muadeeb » Oct 15th 14 4:13 am

Hey that first photo is mine! :D

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Re: Uneven colour on a Shigaraki kyusu

by Tead Off » Oct 15th 14 4:46 am

Chip wrote: I expect a higher degree of perfection from Tokoname kyusu, generally speaking because they are usually so ... precise in every regard. But these are not Tokoname nor are they yixing ... and are vastly far removed from yixing in how they are made and clay used. Like comparing apples to ... grapefruits.

Clearly to the craftsman credit, he has done remarkable work with these rough clay shiggies. But the clay clearly lends itself to all kinds of ... imperfections in "color" especially over time.
The ultimate decision is always with the buyer. But, as a seller, the noticeable difference between the lid and body will be a problem to many people. There is no reason that lid and body should be different unless the potter purposely fired it this way or some other factor entered the picture. The buyer can ask Hojo why there is a difference. But, the buyer should be able to accept this fact, 100%, or in time, this difference could bother him/her aesthetically. The vast majority of teapots have the same lid/body look. Rules can always be broken. :D

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Re: Uneven colour on a Shigaraki kyusu

by blairswhitaker » Oct 15th 14 11:16 am

honestly comparing a pot made by Takashi Masaki to anything made in china is absurd. the two types of ceramic making styles have very little overlap other than they are made of clay and heated until it vitrifies. If you learn a little about Japanese ceramics and traditional makers like Takashi you will find the goal is extremely different than what potters in Yixing are trying to achieve. a lot of the aesthetic in Japan comes from wabi, and in china most potters think wabi=bad. You can bet your bottom dollar a potter Like Takashi would deem a pot that came out looking just like an Yixing to be "unacceptable". It's like comparing a Jackson Pollock to a Rembrandt, both are brilliant masters of their respective time and styles, both are making paintings, but that is where the similarity ends. My personal theory having two of these pots is that the highly porous body absorbs a lot of tea liquid and changes to a darker shade, the lid is presumably not in contact with the brewed tea and does not pick up any coloration.

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Re: Uneven colour on a Shigaraki kyusu

by Tead Off » Oct 15th 14 12:07 pm

blairswhitaker wrote: a lot of the aesthetic in Japan comes from wabi, and in china most potters think wabi=bad. It's like comparing a Jackson Pollock to a Rembrandt, both are brilliant masters of their respective time and styles, both are making paintings, but that is where the similarity ends. My personal theory having two of these pots is that the highly porous body absorbs a lot of tea liquid and changes to a darker shade, the lid is presumably not in contact with the brewed tea and does not pick up any coloration.
Can you tell me what is wabi about Tachi Masaki's pots? He is a Banko potter and his Shigaraki pots look very similar to the way he makes his Banko clay pots. Many traditionally made Shigaraki pots have that wabi look to them, IMO, but not Masaki's. Perhaps I don't understand properly the concept of wabi. I own one of Masaki's Banko pots. I don't really see the wabi in it, either. Is he really a brilliant master? I love the clay and he's certainly an accomplished commercial potter, but I don't know why he would be called a 'master'. Any insight into this?

The poster hasn't used his pot yet, so the difference in color has nothing to do with tea being brewed in it. It came out of the kiln that way. You're talking about something completely different, in this case.