Sep 8th, '15, 04:36
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Sep 8th, '15, 04:36

Drax, Debunix, Thank you for looking and liking! Your input and encouragement is much appreciated! I will ponder your ideal Shiboridashi – although I have almost no idea on Japanese Tea, nor ware.

twentytwo is my take on a classic Shuiping shape. I’ve always wanted to do a version of one of those classic pots, especialy as it is the prevalent form in Taiwan. So much that it becomes almost boring…

I also went back to that green glaze that is so difficult to control. This time it came out exactly as I was expecting it. We call it Watermelon-glaze, quite an accurate description!

This pots faulty sides are not visible in the pictures, but once you take it in your hand you know that it is way too heavy… once again I got lost in wanting to match a certain shape and forgot about the usability. To achieve the bulbous lid, I had to leave it thick as I did not raise the lid hollow enough to trim accordingly. It is fine to use, but I have better and lighter ones by now, so I won’t use this one much.
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Sep 8th, '15, 06:41
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Sep 8th, '15, 06:41

twentythree. Hmm… it was an attempt to re-do a version of number 16, a pot which had notably improved the taste of the tea brewed.

What to say, I couldn’t repeat the success. I did not have an image with me at the time, so my recollection of the shape was blurried. Attempts to improve certain details also made me strain from the original shape (the lid opening was to large in 16). It ended up looking a bit unbalanced. The handle for example is to skinny to harmonize with the rest.

Needless to say it is only OK to use, nothing to get me excited about. Colour-wise it is the same green as 22, but turned out not as desired, same as my previous attempts to use this glaze.
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Sep 8th, '15, 06:53
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Sep 8th, '15, 06:53

twentyfour is the third in the same capricious green. This time it turned out out in a tone which ranges in the middle of the other two extremes. As such I like the colour.

I remember I was in kind of a weird mood the day I put this pot together. I kind of assembled it rather roughly and without too much fine-modelling. Normally I spend some time to sculpt and even out the joints of spout and handle to the body. I kind of like the result, seems like sometimes thinking not too much about things can turn out better!

It performs pretty well, I noticed that this particular body shape works well for the Oolongs I drink. I am concentrating on this shape from now on.

The handle shape I used is another thing I figured works very well. Much better than normal round handles. The little counter-curve at the end makes for a good resting point for the fingers, without burning it. Also easier to hold a full pot like this. Very comfortable.

If it wasn’t for the beauty of wood-fired clay I would use this pot more often :mrgreen:
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Sep 8th, '15, 06:56
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Sep 8th, '15, 06:56

To show you the variety of this green glaze, I took a shot of the three pots together. Same glaze, same firing, same clay. Just different position in the kiln and a moody glaze :mrgreen:
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Sep 8th, '15, 11:21
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by debunix » Sep 8th, '15, 11:21

The one in the middle really looks like a watermelon, quite lovely. It certainly doesn't suffer from lack of 'smoothing' at the joins. The glaze makes it all feel quite natural there.

Sep 9th, '15, 22:32
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Sep 9th, '15, 22:32

twentyfive is another example of letting go and not worrying too much about the outcome. In this case, I must admit, it is because I did not really like the clay when I was working with it…

That day my teacher “made” me use a rough sort of clay, basically our usual Miaoli clay with some larger particles in it. This sort of clay is not easy to use if one is still a novice, the little stones make it difficult to maintain the clay centered. It is also like sandpaper, roughening up the skin. Finer details are of course out of the question – you just never know what tiny stones and things pop up in the next layer!

However – the end result is another story! This turned out to be my favorite pot so far. To fully appreciate the potential of this clay it has to be wood-fired, glazing it would be a waste, so in this wood-firing I got lucky and had three pots in it, due to the nature of the clay :D

Back to 25. I thought it appropriate for this pot to go a bit wild and rough on the composition of this pot. It was also quite dry already when I go to trim it, which did not leave me much choice especially for the spout, shaping it was not possible anymore.
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Last edited by Bok on Sep 9th, '15, 22:45, edited 1 time in total.

Sep 9th, '15, 22:44
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Sep 9th, '15, 22:44

Despite the looks of it, this pot is actually very light. The roughness of the material forced me to slowly raise it, which in turn allowed me to achieve thinner walls.

The very vertical angle of the spout certainly breaks the rules of Chinese teapot geometry. It was a gamble – but as it turns out it still works when used! I was really surprised by that, but then there are soo many factors which influence the waterflow… I have to handle the pot slightly differently when pouring, but then the flow of the water is still a nice even pour. No trickling or dripping.

Normally I test all my pots with the same kind of high mountain oolong, as that is my standard tea and judging point, as I know how that tea inside out. But in this case roasted oolong or black teas felt more appropriate.

Inside it has a really interesting blue-dark grey-metallic colour, which is sadly hard to catch on camera…

Pot number 25, in my top three now. The third will follow shortly, interestingly all three are from the same firing, lucky draw!
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25-Twentyfive-Handle.jpg
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Sep 9th, '15, 23:49
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by debunix » Sep 9th, '15, 23:49

I love the play of color and texture especially in the last shot. I'd like to see the interior but I understand how hard it can be to show the subtle coloration you describe.

And how interesting that the intrinsic characteristic of the coarser clay--the particles that slowed you down--were linked so clearly to the lighter result.

Sep 11th, '15, 01:09
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Sep 11th, '15, 01:09

twentysix, number three in my top three list, all used in rotation not to neglect any of them :mrgreen:

Also part of the last wood-firing, it turned out to be the most intrigueing pot so far. To begin with, the clay is rather special. My teacher had bought a pack of really expensive Japanese clay, more so than the red one of 21. In the raw, soft stage it is a medium gray. It is another clay which has been especially created for wood-firing.

It has been to date the most difficult clay I have worked with. Very dense and difficult to raise steadily. A luxury clay, nonetheless I did not like the feeling of it.

So due to this diffulties I lost control over the center when raising the body which resulted in a slightly wonkey shape. But – I actually like it and it is something one normally can not achieve when aiming for it, so a lucky mishap!
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Sep 11th, '15, 01:26
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Sep 11th, '15, 01:26

The colours are really interesting on this one, ranging from a coppery orange to grey, blackish spots to a light green gray coarser surface.

As the body was wonky, I decided to go a bit more wild on the handle too, to match the overall look. It kind of came together by itself as a logical extension of the body, growing out of it.

This handle is very nice to use, actually the most comfortable of all my pots. I’ll keep that shape in mind for future pots.

The whole pot performs really well, a good brewer. Nice steady long pour. I just have to be a bit careful with the rim of the pot when handling the lid. It became a bit too thin when I was sanding it down to fit the lid.
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26-Twentysix-Detail2.jpg
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Sep 11th, '15, 05:21
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Sep 11th, '15, 05:21

There was a little bit of clay left which couldn’t go to waste, so there was a cup of the same clay in the firing.

However, this cup had something special happen to it – sometimes ash creates some sort of drippings and glazing which almost looks like glas (in unlucky cases those drippings can seal a teapot, and impossible to take apart). In many cases a bright blue. Which is what happened to the inside and partly outer wall of this cup. The cup turned out as funky as the pot, although in a totaly different way.
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Sep 11th, '15, 15:56
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by debunix » Sep 11th, '15, 15:56

Wow. Yay to serendipity for the pot and the cup!

Sep 17th, '15, 05:27
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Re: 100 pots – A learning path

by Bok » Sep 17th, '15, 05:27

twentyseven… don’t really know what came over me when doing this pot. Originally I wanted to replicate one of my favorite pots, but in a larger scale. Number six is the smallest pot I have done and is my selfishly-drinking-tea-by-myself teapot :mrgreen: As it pours really great tea, I thought it a good idea to go back to this design.

Which ended in a failure. Not too tragic after the three wood-fired beauties though.

It is too heavy overall, the main culprit being the lid. I already raised it too wide for the rounded body, so an optical gap was unavoidable. It is sanded water tight, but grinding it down to level the outer edges with the body is almost impossible as I would need to go through the glazed surface.

In the firing it developed some curious “pimples” around the spout which I had not seen before with this glaze. My teacher said it is probably due to the placement in the kiln and due to being sprayed a bit to thick.

Brewing is ok-ish, not particularily good or bad, just too heavy.
Below also a comparison shot with number six.

On to better pots in the future!
P.S. might be a while for the next round, still haven’t found the time to look for a place to turn the wheels after moving…
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Sep 18th, '15, 00:00
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Re: Felix v.Bomhard – 100 pots, a learning path

by Bok » Sep 18th, '15, 00:00

A small excursion from the pots: Three different cups, different clay each, two wood-fired, one in normal electric kiln and glazed.

This is the cup shape I have settled in for now. I find it nice to drink from and esthetically pleasing. The little counter-curve at the rim ergonomically fits the lips and is nicer to drink from than straight or inward bending edges (like some japanese cups for ex.) The rounder bottom leaves plenty of space for tea – I personally prefer to have a big gulp of tea, small cups tend to frustrate me :mrgreen:

Also keeps the heat a tad better than for example, more V-shaped cups.

Of course it’s all personal preference, but for me that is my shape.
Funny thing, that all three are almost the same in proportions and size, although they have been created at different times. Seems to be my natural size…

I noticed the same thing with the pots in general. If I do not especially concentrate to go large or small, they end up very similar in size.
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Sep 18th, '15, 01:55
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Re: Felix v.Bomhard – 100 pots, a learning path

by debunix » Sep 18th, '15, 01:55

Bok wrote:Of course it’s all personal preference, but for me that is my shape.
Funny thing, that all three are almost the same in proportions and size, although they have been created at different times. Seems to be my natural size…

I noticed the same thing with the pots in general. If I do not especially concentrate to go large or small, they end up very similar in size.
An interesting observation. It makes sense to me, that the size of your hands and the typical conditions you're using to spin the clay as you work might tend to favor a 'typical' size or profile.

But I also remember watching one of the advanced students in the ceramics studio turning out a set of dishes prepared to order--4 matching plates and bowls--and being impressed by how carefully he worked to achieve this. Perhaps it is easy to make them similar, but very hard to make them sufficiently exact to please a customer used to mold-produced precision wares?

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