mel jacobson on tue 11 apr 00
here is a story from japan...i made up.
tea bowls are very special, what you do not
know about them would fill a thousand pages.
all tea bowls are asymmetric. they have a wobble.
only a potter that can throw and make things perfect
would ever be able to make a pot with wobble.
do you really think in any way, a student would
be believed that they made the pot with that perfect
of course not.
the master builds the wobble in, works at it, does it
on purpose. we already know he has complete command
of his craft. he meant the wobble.
how would you trust a students pot, they all wobble.
so, students cannot make tea bowls.
chawan, the way of tea. it is not for babies to play
maybe when i am 70 i will make a good teabowl.
getting closer now, but not there.
i open my books of tea bowls, wonderful photos.
i hold the arakawa. i see the treasures of a nation
that loves pots, thinks about them, understands them.
i feel so ignorant.
minnetonka, minnesota, u.s.a
vince pitelka on wed 12 apr 00
I always enjoy your perspective, but perhaps I can contribute something to
> tea bowls are very special, what you do not
> know about them would fill a thousand pages.
That is an understatement. It may be impossible for Westeners to understand
the reverence and respect which the Japanese feel for a fine teabowl.
> all tea bowls are asymmetric. they have a wobble.
The teabowls that YOU and I most love and respect are all assymetrical, but
there are plenty of Japanese teabowls which are perfectly symmetrical.
> only a potter that can throw and make things perfect
> would ever be able to make a pot with wobble.
No, "only a potter who can throw and make things perfect" can successfully
plan and execute a pot with good wobble. Anyone stands a chance at making a
pot with a great wobble just by the laws of probability. And some folks
just have a good eye.
> do you really think in any way, a student would
> be believed that they made the pot with that perfect
> of course not.
See above. They stand a good chance of making a good one if they persevere.
But it will take them a very long time before they can purposefully and
successfully plan and orchestrate the asymmetrical teabowl.
> how would you trust a students pot, they all wobble.
> so, students cannot make tea bowls.
> chawan, the way of tea. it is not for babies to play
NO NO NO NO NO NO. PLEASE don't tell students what they cannot make. They
have about a chance in hell of making a great teabowl, but they certainly
can make teabowls, and some pretty decent ones too.
> maybe when i am 70 i will make a good teabowl.
> getting closer now, but not there.
In this case (not in every case) you are modest to a fault. You make a damn
> i open my books of tea bowls, wonderful photos.
> i hold the arakawa. i see the treasures of a nation
> that loves pots, thinks about them, understands them.
> i feel so ignorant.
That is perfectly understandable in this case. It is to your credit, and it
is so much more productive than feeling smug and satisfied with one's
Best wishes -
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Aiko Ichimura on fri 14 apr 00
> That is an understatement. It may be impossible for Westeners to
> the reverence and respect which the Japanese feel for a fine teabowl
I've met a few Americans who proved you wrong. Give yourself more credits.
It is humbling experience for me, a native Japanese, to learn something
the Japanese culture from non-Japanese person.
By the way, I was practicing the tea ceremony at home a few days ago
and decided to use a tea bowl that was made by my favorite American potter.
It is a beauty. I named it as " Natsu no tsuki" Summer moon". So far so
To my great frustration, I discovered that this particular tea bowl could
not be used
in the part of tea ceremony in front of a guest. It is Ok to use it as
personal tea bowl
for my enjoyment.
Let me explain why. During the tea ceremony, the host will purify the tea
putting a piece of wet white cloth over the rim of the tea bowl. The left
the tea bowl and the right hand moves the cloth around the tea bowl 3.5
smoothly. I tried this and found that the cloth would not move at all
there are lots of bumpy stuff on the surface of the tea bowl. I though I was
not moving the cloth skillfully and tried to do it many times. No good. I
do it. No wonder my teacher would select a tea bowl that is very smooth
for my practice session to avoid my frustration. I am going to ask my
if one should avoid using such a rough surfaced tea bowl or there is a
technique to do it.
In the mean time, this does not reduce my affection for the tea bowl at all,
I only have to
use it for myself and not in the tea ceremony.
My Japanese potter friend told me that he uses smoother clay for the top
part of tea bowl
when the rest of the body is made of rough clay. He also said that he would
sand down around the
rim of tea bowl so that no bumps appear near the rim where the drinker's
lips might touch.
I learned that there is more to it than looking just beautiful as a tea
will never know until you use it.
NW DC 20036 USA
Lee Love on tue 18 apr 00
----- Original Message -----
From: Aiko Ichimura
> I learned that there is more to it than looking just beautiful as a tea
> bowl. You
> will never know until you use it.
This is what my teacher told me too: To know if a tea bowl is good for
making tea, make tea in it.
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