Friday, October 21, 2011

Tea Bowls

The Japanese have mastered the art of the tea bowl, which can range in style from a perfectly symmetrical shape or an exquisitely organic form.  This is a great project to talk about the anatomy of a pot with your students; the lip, body and foot are all essential elements to the parts of a tea bowl.  There are a few options to build the body of the bowl, one is to make a pinch-pot with high sides to it, or if you have access to a potters wheel, throwing a bowl is an option, the other choice which I have done here is to use a slab of clay.  I rolled out my clay flat and used a paper template to cut a small cylindrical shape, you can cut out rectangular paper templates for your students too.  Once the shape is cut out, its rolled into a cylinder and the edges are scratched-to-attached together.  The bottom is made narrower by cutting 4 V-shaped notches or darts, one on each side.  Then scratch the inside edge of those V-shaped cuts and fold them in together.  This may leave a small square hole in the very bottom of your tea bowl, if it does, just cut a small flat square to scratch-to-attach on and cover the hole.  This procedure is a little bit tricky but it shapes the body of your tea bowl to be wider towards the top and narrower towards the foot, which is the traditional shape of a tea bowl.  Design and pattern can be added to the outside now using tools or stamps and the lip of the bowl should be smoothed out with your finger.  Next, roll out a coil of clay and wrap it up to make a small donut shape that will fit onto the bottom of your tea bowl to create the foot.  Make sure to scratch-to-attach both parts together and also add some surface decoration to the foot.  To learn more about the tradition of tea bowls and the Japanese Tea Ceremony, click here.  

!!!B CR8IV!!!

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