Thursday, July 29, 2010

Favorite piece of teaware

This is a post taken from my Tea Blog The Sip Tip for a Tea Blog Carnival post. I feel the discussion I went through in this post really fits in with the purpose of this blog.

"What is your favorite piece of teaware and why?"

A rather unsatisfactory answer, but rather true is, the latest Teaware acquired. As it is newest thing in your collection you are enamored with it, and you find its quirks appealing rather than trouble some. So as of writing this first part on April 17th. My latest piece of teaware acquired is Zhu Ni Yixing tea pot, which has been featured in this post.

But lets face it, I have a site The Hagi Project in which I mainly catalog my Hagi Yaki collection. So I would be lying if I said that my "favorite child" is not a piece of Hagi yaki. I hate to say that around my Yixing, or Lins Kettle, but the way Hagi change and feel. The fact that they seem to be border line alive.

The Hardest question is: Which Hagi piece is my favorite?

This is hard, as I really like Tebineri (pinch work) pieces, and Oni-hagi pieces. Oni-hagi is extra coarse clay, often with large noticeable, pieces of sand.

Tebineri pieces feel amazing in hand, and due to the pinch work nature, they tend to be a bit more unique and different than typical hand made pottery pieces. I know all hand made ceramics are unique, but the fact that masters artists can make hundreds of pieces that look rather similar, when using a pottery wheel. It seems when pinch work is done the piece is more organic in nature. While the pieces will look similar, when examining them with your hand you get to know and feel the soul of the piece.

Seigan Ao Tebineri Closeup

I like Oni-hagi pieces for reasons that are much harder to explain. Sometimes Oni-hagi clay can cause interesting effects to occur in the glaze. That and the fact that it seems to make the piece more likely to leak/weep, makes the piece feel live.


That being said, what is my favorite piece of Hagi-yaki? From what I said it seems a pinch work Oni-hagi piece would be ideal, but I do not know if I have ever seen one of those, it seems that combination is just not done.

So my favorite piece of teaware is my Noutomi Choun Hohin. Though sadly it is the hardest to actually capture its true essence in a photograph. But it feels absolutely amazing in hand, to match. This piece also looks rather alien in its appearance.

Choun Hohin

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Size and Shape is Key

So now that I've been acquiring more and more teaware, and other various ceramics, the more I notice certain pieces just tend to be used much more often than others. So I thought for quite a while on why I am always reaching for certain cups.


We can admit it, we all have our favorites in just about everything, and though the definition of favorite implies that there is only one, I feel you can have multiple favorites, one from each of various styles and makes. So while this definitely plays a role, and is rather obvious, we still need to consider the other points.

Size and Shape:

I never realized how much size and shape really play as a role in how I pick out my teaware. Today I was having a session using a Gigantic cup, that left me borderline frustrated. While the cup does hold a large amount of liquid, the fact that it holds that much causes a very reduced cooling time, something which must be taken into consideration if you are cooling the water for the tea in the same cup you will be drinking from. But not only that the cup was so big I was having my normally rather large steeps, and it left the cup looking almost vacant. The cup was just Huge for the purpose for which I wanted to use it.

But while size is important with cooling, so is shape, I have a rather favorite Yunomi by Mukuhara Kashun which during cool weather I felt my self grabbing nearly every time I wanted to have Sencha. But now that it is warm because it is a Classic Yunomi shape instead of the Wan (bowl) type shape that I have much more of, it cools a lot slower. It lends credence to the idea of different shaped Chawans, and the standard summer Chawan appearance of incredibly wide at the top slopping in slowly to the center and bottom of the bowl.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Admiring Korean Teaware

So I added to my teaware collection with some Korean teaware, thinking it would be a rather safe bet as Hagi yaki supposedly got its start from Korean Potters, and many of the forms in Japanese pottery come from Korean ceramic inspiration.

Geum San Tea Set

I really must say the sizing on this 3 person set is impeccable, the water cooler when full to the base of the spout holds just enough to fill the teapot, which holds just enough to fill the cups nearly to the top. Which is amazing regarding the sizes of all the pieces look completely off, mainly the teapot looks on the small side compared to the water cooler and cups.

TeaTrekker Seajak

After two uses the crackling on these pieces are already starting to change color, and somehow the piece feels so incredibly natural in hand. I am sure you can look forward to many more updates on korean teaware, and how this piece is changing.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

D. Michael Coffee a.k.a Shyrabbit

Shyrabbit(Coffee) In Praise of Shadows 2

This amazing little teacup and stand arrived in the mail today, and is a Teachat Teaware Artisan special offer piece, done by Shyrabbit or D. Michael Coffee.

Shyrabbit(Coffee) In Praise of Shadows

I always appreciated his Nuka type glazes, but this piece really took me by surprise in its simplicity but amazing depth and detail. Shyrabbits etsy shop can be found here.

EoT Mansai in Coffee in Praise of Shadows

The theme for this piece is "In Praise of Shadows" after the name of a Japanese essay on aesthetics, which has been published in English. And this round of pieces was the last batch to receive his four corners chop. I hope to acquire and read In Praise of Shadows in the near future.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The start of it all, Seigan Oni Hagi.

Super Ao ONI-HAGI, Sakazuki Hai (2)

One thing I will probably reference quite a bit on this blog is the great Teachat Special offers which start with Hagi Yaki, but since have broadened their gaze to the Teaware artisans that contribute to the board.

Sadly I did not jump in on the Special offers until the 8th one, which happened to be these small yunomi's. The taper on these are rather extreme, but they are made with extra rough sand. The term for Hagi yaki using this extra rough sand is "Oni-hagi" which I have heard various translations, but its a Demon, or Ogre or Troll hagi, basically it means its a bit rough, and borderline unrefined. That being said I have seen Oni-hagi of many types from loaded with large grains of sand, to clay that feels rough, but its outward appearance is rather refined.

The artist of this piece is Yamane Seigan, who is both a Martial Artist and a semi famous artist. I say semi famous as he is well known at least in the West, but his work does not warrant the hefty price tags that certain other artists works do.

Expect a lot of Teaware

So I am an avid tea drinker, and through tea, I have come to appreciate the amazing aspects of teaware, starting with my first ceramic love of Hagi Yaki. So the focus of this blog is focused on me learning about ceramics through acquiring them, holding them, and viewing them.

The first thing I noticed about artisan ceramics is how incredibly tactile they are, and I prefer the more free form and asymmetric style of Hagi yaki, and any other style of potter emphasizing the wabi sabi aesthetic.

I hope to share with you ceramics pieces and observations, and talking about artists. I hope you enjoy this blog and learn along with me.