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Jul 2nd, '15, 07:16
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Alex » Jul 2nd, '15, 07:16

These pots are far too good. I call hacks!

Jul 2nd, '15, 11:45
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Jul 2nd, '15, 11:45

Alex wrote:These pots are far too good. I call hacks!
:mrgreen: no hacks involved - but it helps that my day job is being a graphic designer, if you know your way with shapes and forms in 2D, the jump to 3D is not too far!

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Jul 4th, '15, 11:17
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Psyck » Jul 4th, '15, 11:17

Could you add some information on the dimensions of the pots, at least how many ml of water they hold?

Jul 6th, '15, 01:26
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Jul 6th, '15, 01:26

Psyck wrote:Could you add some information on the dimensions of the pots, at least how many ml of water they hold?
Would need to measure that, at least the pots which are still around…
Just moved house, so now everything is still packed up.

Roughly, they are mostly the size of a man’s fist :mrgreen:
Details later on…

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Jul 6th, '15, 05:23
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Tead Off » Jul 6th, '15, 05:23

Hi Bok,

I've been looking at your thread and the great perseverance you've shown in learning how to make pots. I'm sure you're learning a ton of stuff doing this.

Following what you are doing, I'm wondering if it is more helpful to try and make the same pot over and over again until you get it down. If you try and make a different shape and glaze every time, I would think at the end of 100 pots, you would be master of none. Perhaps this is not how your teacher teaches. Repeating, repeating, copying, copying is the hallmark of most Asian artisans learning pottery. Your thoughts?

Jul 6th, '15, 07:28
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Jul 6th, '15, 07:28

Tead Off wrote: Following what you are doing, I'm wondering if it is more helpful to try and make the same pot over and over again until you get it down. If you try and make a different shape and glaze every time, I would think at the end of 100 pots, you would be master of none.
You are absolutely right! With my recent pots (still unfired) I am leaning more into that direction. Focusing on one shape and only modifying details.

This was impossible though in the beginning, simply because I could not control the shape of what I was doing. Slowly through trial and error I found some shapes and forms which I personally like and which perform the way I want them to.

My teacher pretty much does not intervene in the design of the pots, he only corrects formal and functional mistakes. Normally, he has a certain step by step program which students follow. He kind of skipped a few steps with me, when he realized that everything I am doing is leaning towards tea things and that my progress is ok-ish to fast forward a bit. This of course means sacrificing stability and routine in the basics, so less control of what I am doing.

He also told me that because I am a foreigner, my culturally inherent form and shape dictionary (so to speak) are very different from a Taiwanese person. He does not want to influence too much how I design my pots, to let me develop my style. Not sure if my explanation makes sense?

Jul 6th, '15, 22:18
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Jul 6th, '15, 22:18

Tead Off wrote:Repeating, repeating, copying, copying is the hallmark of most Asian artisans learning pottery. Your thoughts?
In my oppinion that is the key to mastery in any discipline.
In my case, it started simply as having fun after work once a week. Only when I realized that I can actually be good at it, I got hooked and started to work with a more analytic approach. I still think it is important to experiment and not follow the rules sometimes. One can learn a lot from misstakes :mrgreen: And my most successful pots happened due to unforeseen misshaps.

Generally speaking, this way of copy and repeat has one big flaw (pottery, art, you name it). It takes a very long time until one is able to express oneself and some are never able to step out of the shadow of whoever they are copying. Of course self-expression is not exactly a sought-after quality in mainstream Asian education, the whole community is more important than the individual. It all has its good and bad…

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Jul 15th, '15, 18:45
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by tenuki » Jul 15th, '15, 18:45

Hope this thread continues - I'm enjoying following the journey.

Sep 7th, '15, 01:30
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Sep 7th, '15, 01:30

It’s been a while… having moved to Taipei I had to wait for the opportunity to get my latest finished pots.

Without further delay, number twenty. This unusual design has been inspired by a picture I saw online – an ancient Swedish Viking cup. I really liked the shape and handle and immediately thought that it could become a nice teapot, by simply adding spout and lid. Here’s the link to the inspiration: http://catview.historiska.se/catview/me ... hres/18277

Tricky part for the usage as a teapot is the large opening. I could not think of a way to reduce the width of it without compromising the overall look. It will have to be used in hot countries, otherwise heat escapes to quickly (luckily heat is not an issue where I am).

The second part which took me a fair bit of time, was the handle… tricky to put together.
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Sep 7th, '15, 01:41
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Sep 7th, '15, 01:41

Now to the usage. Unfortunately this pot still dates to a period, when I was neglecting the spout hole proportions, which is why this pot pours a tad too slow (hole to spout exit proportion is almost 1/1). Still ok for a decent brew though. No water trickling and leaking though.

The reason why I won’t use this pot much is the handle. It is to small in proportion to the body, so it is difficult to hold and pour. Fingers get too close to the hot body, I have to use it with two hands, a style which does not come natural to me.
– Small cultural observation: Female tea brewers often use two hands here in Taiwan. Men seem to favour a one hand pour like myself. –

The large lid opening is obviously quite convenient for the cleaning of the teapot.

Overall lesson learned:
Do not slavishly stick to design choices when they compromise usability.
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Sep 7th, '15, 06:11
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Sep 7th, '15, 06:11

twentyone is special as you can see – one of the lucky ones which got to enjoy a week long stay in the wood-fired cabin :mrgreen:

The clay is also something unusual from my normal routine. It is a clay from Japan, as opposed to the Taiwanese clay from Miaoli we normally use in my teachers class. It is more expensive, which is why I only now got permission to use it as my pots are getting better. It has more iron content, the raw clay is reddish. It has been specially created for wood-firing.

It was the nicest clay I have worked with so far. Very smooth and it seemed easier to raise a thin pot, really really nice to handle.

No glazing, the metallic tones and purples all came out through the wood firing.
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Sep 7th, '15, 06:23
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Sep 7th, '15, 06:23

A word on the shapes. I have tried a fair variety of shapes for lids, body and spouts and I am finally tuning in on what I like and what works for me in terms of usage.

Of course some misshaps and unforeseen shapes will always dictate how the rest of the components work together best…
For now I prefer straight spouts, they have a nice waterflow and I like the clean look of it. Many potters in Taiwan are now doing spouts with a bulby lower extension, but I must say it reminds me (Freud’s greetings) of certain male bodyparts, which I do not find particularily pleasing on a teapot :mrgreen:

Sorry for the off-topic, back to number 21. It is one of my lightest pots so far, thanks to the clay I am sure. It brews well, although there is sometimes an issue with clogging from the inside, probably due to the holes being too small (same issue as 20). Nonetheless, it has become one of my default pots now.

In one of the pictures you can see two cups out of the same clay, but in another position in the kiln. Quite different from the pot! There are light greens, red brown and some black. The inside of the cups is metallic-shiny, the only hint to the pot.
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Last edited by Bok on Sep 7th, '15, 06:28, edited 1 time in total.

Sep 7th, '15, 06:26
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Sep 7th, '15, 06:26

Some more details of those cups, sorry about the blurriness of some of them… did not see that until later.
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Sep 7th, '15, 07:23
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Drax » Sep 7th, '15, 07:23

Wonderful stuff, Bok, thanks for the update! I really like the style of #20, so it's a shame to hear about the challenges with the handle and spout.

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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by debunix » Sep 7th, '15, 15:44

I LOVE the look of 20, but would not be happy with a handle that compromises usefulness. The wide opening looks utterly practical, though.

When I brew tea at work I am very appreciative of easy-clean pieces, so much so that I'm still working out the ultimate design in my head for a larger shiboridashi with a handle--something I can use to brew up several larger infusions in a row to share with my tea-loving colleagues, handled to avoid burning my fingers when so used, and glazed inside for use with any teas, and plain enough that I can easily clean it with hot water from the teapot without having to leave my desk. #20, scaled up a bit in size, would go a long way towards that without exactly being a shibo....

And #21 is really special. It's amazing how quickly the pots are improving, and even though you're well away from #100, you've got a definite keeper there.

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