...when it is a cup. Or a tea bowl that is. Tonight I made my first tea bowl since before graduate school. So, like four years. I stopped making them because I lost my interest in tea. Hot tea. Never had good, hot, traditional tea. I have had the blacks, whites, greens and mints. Maybe there was a flaw in my method of tea bagging, but it always just seemed like hot water. This was also the after undergraduate school where I was making a point to be more healthy than my malt liquor and taco bell days of Miami undergrad. Needless to say, it did not carry on.
Now five years later I randomly decide to make a tea bowl in the studio. Truth be told, I have thought about it the past few day while trying to expand my functional vocabulary. My resistance to tea bowls started when I tried to label what I was and was not as an artist, ceramic artist to be exact. Tea bowls can seem cliche. An easy answer for the ceramic process, something with an automatic historical context. Turns out it is like any other functional form, where there is a will there is a way...or purpose.
What made me think about making tea bowls again? Every morning I walk into the living room and notice the two tea bowls we own and are on display in the living room. Almost a decade of ceramics and I only own two tea bowls, strange. A Don Reitz tea bowl sits on a shelf below a shelf with a John Balistreri tea bowl. One I got for doing slides of Don's recent Anagama work from St Pete Clay, and the other for firing John's refires in the salt kiln along with Schiemann. As they say, it is always in ones best interest to surround themselves with people smarter than themselves. I am still very young in my ceramics career, to young to dismiss forms for weak reasons.
In the end it is just a shape, a vessel that hold liquid. Right now I am drinking bourbon out of a small mug by Beck Evans. The lips a little too fat and round and the handle is a little odd. It is the funky oddities make pottery special. It has a deep brown clay body with a hell of a white shino wrapped around it.