Teapots and tea ware

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Tea and tea ware has a long and venerable history. Asians have been growing and enjoying tea for centuries and using it for medicinal, ceremonial, and social purposes. When Marco Polo brought tea to the West, it was like gold. Tea and tea ware were imported and prized. By the 18th century “tea time” in Britain, at 4:00 p.m. had become an institution and all work stopped. The rich imported fancy porcelain tea ware. Commoners used British local red clay and stoneware tea ware. In 1776 America, the Boston Tea Party speaks of the importance of tea. In Japan, the Tea Ceremony is highly ritualistic and culturally significant.

View images of chawan tea bowls and note their form. Then view giwan tea bowls. Then view yunomi. Doing so will give you a sense of styles, form, and variety. Then watch some “how to” videos below.

The first three videos are about teapots, followed by tea bowls, then yunomi.

Note that in Dan Vito’s demo, I am emphasizing the thinking behind the technique so you understand the “how and why” of teapot making. I don’t discuss the strainer holes in the body, or trimming, knobs or handles. However Lin, in his teapot video below covers those things nicely.


Lin, in the next video, throws everything off the hump. I suggest you throw on the bat. He has more control of drying and more skill than you do, and you are likely to be frustrated by cracking and other issues. When he trims, he sticks his lids down with just water. That can work, but note how his left hand is always ready to catch the lid if it comes loose. He holds the trim tool with one hand and uses the other to secure the lid; beginners often make the mistake of holding the trim tool with two hands. He is able to throw thick lids and trim out the knob, but due to drying issues, you will need to throw a thinner lid and add the knob as a separate piece of clay after the lid is trimmed. Trust me.

The Way of Tea and Tea Tasting

Special Event 2 p.m., Saturday, April 30

Drawing from an 800-year-old traditionof the “Cha Dao,” the Way of Tea is a time-honored practice of nding balance, momentum, and spiritual growth through the active process of exploring tea. This lecture explores the history of Chinese tea through the philosophy of yin and yang and the ve elements. Learning the Way of Tea will transform and add depth to the way you currently drink tea. As a faculty member of the International Tea Masters Association, Daniel Johnson teaches individuals across the country to become a certied tea sommelier, tea master, and tea blender. Integrating his extensive background in Chinese philosophy, Qi gong, nutrition, and herbal medicine, Daniel synthesizes these deep skills into the practice and art of tea. Daniel is co-owner of the Three Rivers Tea Company and has a clinical acupuncture practice in Fox Chapel. Registration is required at the reference desk or 412.531.1912 ext. 209. Limited to 20 participants; $10 charge, payable the day of the event.

The following video is about yunomi:



The following is a bit of philosophy…

The following is on the Yixing process, and you can research more about that if you wish.


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There is so much to learn! Even if you can never master it all, it is fun to see the masters at work. Learn about the medium of clay and the ceramic processes.