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Tea Bowls for Tea Time

October 5, 2011

As November draws closer so does the Craft Guild of Dallas annual sale. This year I am excited to have a table so I have been hard at work making pieces for the sale. So far I have the oak leaf trays, little birds, lamps, tea cups, and flower pots to fill part of the table, which I have shown in previous posts. Dissatisfied with the number of things for the sale I did some brain storming and decided to make tea bowls. Tea bowls are classic and beautiful so should be able to sell, plus they are really fun to make! Today I will be explaining how I made my tea bowls.

I began by wedging 9 balls of clay that weigh about a pound and half. If the wads are any smaller you will not have enough clay to trim a foot.

The essential ingredient to a tea bowl is leaving at least half an inch at the bottom of the pot when you open it so that you will be able to cut a foot later. This extra clay will also allow you to trim the sharp angle at the bottom of the piece typical of tea bowls.

Another way to help the pot look polished when finished is to make sure enough clay is left along the rim in order to form a nice lip. Clay that is too thin will make the pot look flimsy.

After the clay has been pulled up I use a red rib that is rounded to create the nice sloping line inside the tea bowl. Starting at the bottom of the bowl press with the rounded end of the rib to create a nice sloping line.

Once the inside is formed slowly pull the rib up to form the rounded shape around the center of the bowl. Pushing out from the inside with the rib the outside of the cylinder becomes a bowl shape. When the piece as a nice rounded shape create the lip with the pads of your fingers. I press down at at 45 degree angle with my right pointer finger and support with my left hand to create the lip.

This next step is optional but too fun to skip. Turning the wheel almost as slow as it will go use the 90 degree edge of a wooden rib to create lines in the side of the piece. Supporting the inside with your left hand press into the clay with the rib slowly pulling up as the wheel turns.

In the next day or so when the pots have dried it is time to trim. Using a large carving tool and some patience a nice sloping foot is created. I love the sharp line that hits along the belly of the piece. This sharp line would be very difficult to make while throwing the piece because it would be very likely to collapse. Additionally the nice slope in the bottom the bowl would not be as pretty.

This is a picture  before and after trimming of the tea bowls. It takes a lot of patience to make so many at once, but the more I made the better they got!


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From → Pottery Projects

One Comment
  1. A CRAFT SALE?? I want to go! 🙂

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