Feeling Inspired!!

Today we had a Japanese tea service demonstration from a group of people from Japan.

It was great to see this traditional cultural performance of mixing and presenting the tea which was matcha green tea.

After the tea service demonstration Naoki Maeda, who made all the tea bowls for the tea ceremony gave us all a throwing demonstration. I love to watch people thrown especially someone who is so skilled as Naoki. He wedged the grogged clay with easy and then centred, around 10-15kg with equal easy.

Naoki then did a little ‘performance’ for us in the form of an instillation. He threw various different forms off the hump then either threw, splattered or ripped pieces up and placed them on a board. The lady who performed the tea ceremony then decorated this with a few flowers.

I felt so inspired after seeing this that I couldn’t wait to get on the wheel to try making one of these myself!!

I was intrigued as to how this expert ceramicist worked on the wheel. He was quick, not too precious, not very neat yet produced some wonderful work. I myself do not work like that. I find myself thinking and taking my time to get my vessel perfectly symmetrical and clean from slip with a nice neat rim. But after seeing how Naoki worked has got me thinking to change this, to let the clay be clay, to show the slip marks and texture created when throwing, to put the metal kidney down!

This was my attempt at a recreating Naoki’s performance piece. But I connected all the pots so that I could fire it and take it home (I’m not at the stage of throwing my work away yet).

After his performance piece, Naoki then demonstrated how he makes the tea bowls. Again this inspired me as he purposely manipulated the rim to make it uneven, stating that a more organic form was nicer to drink from.

He also made different shaped bowls to represent the seasons, or for these bowls to be drunk from in said season.

This is his winter shaped bowl.

Whereas this is his summer shaped bowl.

He explained that the winter bowl is cupped inwards to keep the tea warm where as the summer shaped bowl flares out to allow the tea to cool down.

These are my attempts at making tea bowls using the same grogged clay and by throwing off the hump.

I am very pleased with how these turned out especially since I’ve not done much throwing of the hump before. A skill I need more practice in in order to get a good enough foot rim from.

These are my tea bowls once turned.

As you can see, one pot doesn’t even have a foot rim as I cut it of the hump too short. I also need to remember to turn the foot rim the same thickness as the rim. These are too thin.

This was a good day for my, I feel motivated and can’t wait to work more on the wheel.

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