Feb 10th, '15, 01:53
Posts: 721
Joined: Aug 4th, '14, 05:43

Felix v.Bomhard – 100 pots, a learning path

by Bok » Feb 10th, '15, 01:53

Dear everyone,

In this post I wanted to share my path to learn how to create a Teapot.
My teacher said to me that in order to be able to make a good teapot, I will need to make at least 100.

The first 20 are pure learning exercises. Getting the basics right and how the parts work together. Body, lid, spout and handle.

During the next 40, one has learned what a teapot essentially is and how shape and structure influence its handling.

The last ones from 60-100 are on the way to mastering a good teapot.

Of course I went through a phase of about a year, where I was learning the weel-throwing basics from scratch. None of those items I did back then, where meant to be used, they simply served to teach the basics.
I also want to add, that I am not a professional potter, nor do I aim to be, I came to pottery due to my passion for tea. To be honest I never liked playing with “mud” back in school, but when I moved to Taiwan and discovered the tea culture and everything attached to it, I got intrigued!

So, please take those 100 as what they are, learning steps on my path to my personal teapot.
Last edited by Bok on Sep 17th, '15, 22:31, edited 1 time in total.

Feb 10th, '15, 02:02
Posts: 721
Joined: Aug 4th, '14, 05:43

Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Feb 10th, '15, 02:02

So, without further delay, pot number one.

Every time, one pot is finished, I test it with my teacher to see how it performs. The pottery class has a downstairs tea room/shop, where friends and students pop by to have some tea and chat.

My critique:
This Pot is very heavy! I did not properly control the thickness, especially the lower part of the body. As well, the handle is too long, which makes it dificult to handle. The tiny knob on the lid is a tad to short, so it makes the lid slippery when wet.

I also did not spray enough layers of the glazing, which is why the colour is not as white as it should be…

The spout ratio is wrong, which is why I needed to make a single hole-spout, more on the theory behind later.
Attachments
01-One-F.jpg
01-One-F.jpg (8.04 KiB) Viewed 3809 times
01-One-L.jpg
01-One-L.jpg (14.38 KiB) Viewed 3814 times
Last edited by Bok on Feb 10th, '15, 02:37, edited 3 times in total.

Feb 10th, '15, 02:02
Posts: 721
Joined: Aug 4th, '14, 05:43

Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Feb 10th, '15, 02:02

Pot number two is sadly missing in action… :mrgreen:
I totally screwed up everything, from the spout to the handle, so I decided not to glaze it and ditch it.

On a sidenote, the item featured is what I use as a tea boat. Those where in ancient times used here in Taiwan to put under each leg of the kitchen tables, and protect filled with water insects from crawling up.
Attachments
02-Two-MIA.jpg
02-Two-MIA.jpg (13.08 KiB) Viewed 3812 times
Last edited by Bok on Feb 10th, '15, 02:35, edited 3 times in total.

Feb 10th, '15, 02:17
Posts: 393
Joined: Apr 17th, '14, 15:18

Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by BW85 » Feb 10th, '15, 02:17

That's a pretty good first pot!

Feb 10th, '15, 02:24
Posts: 721
Joined: Aug 4th, '14, 05:43

Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Feb 10th, '15, 02:24

Thank you BW85! :D

I was happy at first when I saw it, then unhappy when I used it. And then very anxious to continue to do better the next time!

Here is number three. As for the first, the knob was too short, so my teacher suggested to ad something on top by hand. Which I did in the shape of a monkey (my chinese zodiac). The pot is ok to use, but still on the heavy side.
Attachments
03-Three-Perspective.jpg
03-Three-Perspective.jpg (17.51 KiB) Viewed 3812 times
03-Three-L.jpg
03-Three-L.jpg (13.07 KiB) Viewed 3812 times
Last edited by Bok on Feb 10th, '15, 02:35, edited 1 time in total.

Feb 10th, '15, 02:33
Posts: 721
Joined: Aug 4th, '14, 05:43

Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Feb 10th, '15, 02:33

Number four. Again, lid knob to short, this time I decided to leave as is and add a chinese reef-knot for better handling. Weight is getting better.

I am currently using this pot a lot.

One thing my teacher always looks at first is the waterflow, when poured.
The flow can be influenced by where and how the holes are placed inside the spout. Older pots have one single hole, which is impractical due to leaves pouring out with the tea or clogging up the spout.

For that reason potters nowadays use multiple tinier holes.

The ratio of end of the spout to where it is attached to the body should at least be 1.3-1 If it is less, the water won’t be able to flow out quick enough and influence the brewing. There are more rules and details to pay attention to, which I might go into at a later stage.
Attachments
04-Four-In-action.jpg
04-Four-In-action.jpg (59.18 KiB) Viewed 3811 times
04-Four-R.jpg
04-Four-R.jpg (14.21 KiB) Viewed 3811 times

Feb 10th, '15, 02:44
Posts: 721
Joined: Aug 4th, '14, 05:43

Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Feb 10th, '15, 02:44

Five is quite small. I always forget how much smaller the pots become in the end after all burning is done… about 10%!

Need to remind myself to do everything bigger than I think.

Lid is a bit loose. Could fix that a little when finish-grinding the lid to the body.

When burned, the lid is still left not fitting perfectly to prevent it from molding together with the body. Afterwards my teacher taught me to use metal-sand aided by toothpaste to grind it to fit. So every pot needs to be washed carefully before use, that toothpaste smell is reeeeeally dificult to rub off I can tell you… :mrgreen:
Attachments
05-Five-F.jpg
05-Five-F.jpg (12.9 KiB) Viewed 3813 times
05-Five-R.jpg
05-Five-R.jpg (14.68 KiB) Viewed 3813 times

Feb 10th, '15, 02:49
Posts: 721
Joined: Aug 4th, '14, 05:43

Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Feb 10th, '15, 02:49

Little number six is for the occasions when I can enjoy a little all by myself. This pot somehow fits very snugly in with the size of my fingers. Comfortable to use.

I also finally managed to get an even thinness of the body, so it has a normal weight. Not yet perfectly light, but definitely an improvement.

The litte quirk on the know of the lid is a result of the lid flying away, when I was trimming it – a sign for me to stop and leave it be :lol:
Attachments
06-Six-F.jpg
06-Six-F.jpg (12.93 KiB) Viewed 3812 times
06-Six-R.jpg
06-Six-R.jpg (13.52 KiB) Viewed 3812 times

User avatar
Feb 10th, '15, 07:23
Posts: 2817
Joined: Oct 16th, '08, 21:01
Scrolling: scrolling
Location: Arlington, VA
Contact: Drax

Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Drax » Feb 10th, '15, 07:23

Bok -- wow, thank you so much for sharing this journey! Your insight on the progress is also very useful in understanding what you're looking for, and what you're happy with and where you see need for improvement.

Did you have much pottery experience before making the first pot? Also, are you making these from scratch, or using any type of mold? I'm curious because the first one was much better than what one typically sees as a first attempt...! :D

Feb 10th, '15, 09:29
Posts: 459
Joined: Feb 3rd, '14, 12:24

by bonescwa » Feb 10th, '15, 09:29

Even the first pot looks good to me!

Feb 10th, '15, 09:58
Posts: 721
Joined: Aug 4th, '14, 05:43

Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Feb 10th, '15, 09:58

Drax wrote:Did you have much pottery experience before making the first pot? Also, are you making these from scratch, or using any type of mold? I'm curious because the first one was much better than what one typically sees as a first attempt...! :D
Thanks for the feedback and you're welcome!

I started pottery a little over a year ago. As I said I started with the teachers usual basics programme. But as my teacher discovered my passion for everything tea, he directed me quicker in that direction :mrgreen:

My day to day profession is being a graphic designer, so that helps to get quicker to better results as a shape is a shape, be it on paper or in clay. What takes time of course it getting used to the tools and materials.

Everything is weel-thrown from scratch, no molds involved. I have class once a week, each session I prepare two sets if I am lucky... That means, I throw a body, two lids and two spouts for each sets. Especially the lids are still the hardest part for me, easy to screw that up, so an extra is always a good idea. One week later, when the clay is "leather-dry" I trim body and lids so they roughly fit. Then I put everything together and add the handles.

Once enough things are stacked up (including the other students), They get pre-burned and then I visit my teacher studio on the countryside to spray-apply the glaze.

And then next class I can hopefully see the results!

Will post more tomorrow, at the moment 12 pots are finished, still a long way to go...

User avatar
Feb 10th, '15, 11:12
Posts: 5916
Joined: Jan 10th, '10, 16:04
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Contact: debunix

Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by debunix » Feb 10th, '15, 11:12

How lovely to let us share your journey with you!

User avatar
Feb 10th, '15, 11:40
Posts: 132
Joined: Apr 4th, '12, 12:53
Location: Londonderry, NH
Contact: paul haigh

Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by paul haigh » Feb 10th, '15, 11:40

You are doing great!

One hint, however- the fatal flaw of a teapot is when the bottom of the spout is lower than the fill line of the water. If the pot is filled, it will flow out the spout at rest. Raise the spout end up a bit, IMO.

That is something that I see even from some people that make/sell lots of pots.

User avatar
Feb 10th, '15, 11:43
Posts: 71
Joined: Sep 2nd, '11, 13:33
Location: Los Angeles

by demonyc » Feb 10th, '15, 11:43

This promises to be a fascinating journey for you, and it's just awesome that we get to live it vicariously through your photos and critique. I'm anxiously awaiting your future posts to see how you learn and grow through your journey! :)

I remember taking a ceramics course way back in high school and loving it then. Looking at your journey makes me want to revisit it from a tea drinker's perspective and see if it makes me feel the same way now as it used to.

User avatar
Feb 10th, '15, 12:18
Posts: 594
Joined: Dec 13th, '10, 14:04
Location: Seattle
Contact: hopeofdawn

Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by hopeofdawn » Feb 10th, '15, 12:18

I love seeing the evolution of other people's artwork, and since I never pursued ceramics beyond the basics myself, it's very cool to see your learning process and self-critique. Thank you for sharing with us--I look forward to seeing how your work changes!

+ Post Reply