[Clayart] chawan story

mel jacobson melpots at mail.com
Sun Sep 29 20:25:13 EDT 2019

when looking at tea bowls, do not use the concept of wabi sabi.
it has nothing to do with `chawan`  the chawan concept comes from the
japanese idea/ sha boo yah.  or, why is one tree out of a thousand
the most beautiful tree in the forest....it has a limb broken, it
has been hit by hail, and it is crooked.  yet, it is perfection.
and then it hits you...perfection is a state of mind.
ron knows the concept and lives with it.

making tea bowls is daunting.  a great potter may
make 300 in a year, and throw out 260.

who judges?  first the potter, then other makers, then the
final judge is a tea master.  he has the final say.

many young potters tell us they make chawan. sorry, not.
often they are not even good soup bowls.  making a pot
loppy does not constitute a tea bowl.  it is like wanting to
be in an exclusive club, but they won't let you in...whine.
it still does not work. i have had two bowls named by tea masters.
that gets me in the club.  it is the only way in.  i have made hundreds
of tea bowls...most are for chili.

here are a few facts.
the clay must be brown and should be rough.
the bottom of the bowl will have a well, or a place
for the green tea to make a pattern.
the foot ring is almost hand made...
the pot is made to be asymmetrical.
inside the foot ring will have a nipple sort of
pattern. it is never sexual,,,but, female.  (that idea
is sort of debated.)  but it sure is about touch and feel.
and having a master potters chop helps.

a master maker can break these rules and make his own.

remember, the rules are important..you are making a japanese
style pot....not a california pot. sushi is now like hot dogs.
fine to eat.  but, no tradition.  a california roll is just what it is.

there will always be people who will stomp and feel cheated.
sorry, no one cares.  chawan is beyond just wanting it. it is
an aesthetic of the first order.  and, it is japanese.  (yes i know
other asian cultures do tea bowls...but, not chawan.)

chawan is a marshall art.  it is about the pre meditation before
the samurai fought to the death.  that part has been dropped due
to societal rules...the tea ceremony is not about tea.  it is about
meditation...it is serious.  think of the tea ceremony as a T..not tea.

do not confuse the chawan as a raku style pot.  many are made that way, but
many were stoneware and i think even earthenware.

as i have said before...when a master potter makes an asymmetrical pot...he means to do it.
he controls the speed, the lift time and the pressure on the clay. is that loose?
when you are in control of the clay, you can throw any way you wish. it is choice.
when the student makes a loppy pot...everyone knows it. they don't know what they are doing.

so, i teach total control of clay. if you are a perfectionist, i will tell you to be \more
perfect.  colleen is amazing with skill...do i tell her to loooosen up and be cool?
screw that...i make her get more tight.  then she is a happy woman.
can any of you change your personality?  hard to do..teachers that say,...`looosen up`
have no idea what they are saying.  it is like a parrot chattering.  it is like honoring
lack of skill.  that is stupid.  when you control clay you can do whatever you want.
loose, tight, tighter, tighter. it is up to you.  when you have no control, well
you know the answer.

website: www.melpots.com

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