To be honest, I don’t know a lot about tea bowls and I’ve never attended a tea ceremony. But I have been intrigued by the form, the function and the ceremony. And so I thought, since I am currently working on small vessels in porcelain, that it would be an appropriate time to explore the idea of creating a tea bowl in my particular style. While creating, I kept this wonderful essay written by Barry Lancet about tea bowl aesthetics next to me and in my mind. (You might ask: Do these small vessels have to be used as tea bowls? No. They can be used for any elixir that might be enjoyed in a special cup at any time…but it is in the spirit of tea bowls that they were created.)
About Tea Bowl Aesthetics: A five century dialogue.
“The tea bowl is at the heart of the Tea Ceremony; the ceremony which invites us to wake to the world.”
“The Japanese fascination with tea bowls has always been a puzzling one to many Western ceramic enthusiasts, yet a close look at both old and new pieces reveals that there is much to be said for these deceptively simple pieces. In Japan, the tea bowl has become a sort of artistic Holy Grail. Over time, the tea bowl’s central position in the tea ceremony has made it the nexus of functional, aesthetic, and spiritual demands, prized older works are breathtaking examples of the finest that Japanese ceramic art has to offer – at once noble and serene – though it must be pointed out that many inferior bowls are treasured for their lineage (that is their ‘Tea History’), a fact which clouds the issue in Western eyes.”
“‘If you can make a good tea bowl, you can make anything’ is almost an adage in the Japanese ceramic world and there is more than a grain of truth in it. To bring together the lip, the inner surface, the outer profile, and the concluding foot with the right mixture of clay, glaze and fire to produce the elusive balance of utility and grace is not a feat to be taken lightly. To bring them together with a touch of spirituality is magic.”
“The successful bowl will have an inexplicable serenity to its stance as if it knows what it is about.”
~Barry Lancet, Executive Editor (Art), Kodansha International from his essay Shiro Tsujimura
To see my latest batch of tea bowls and those available for purchase, visit our shop. Or you can join us in conversation on Facebook.