Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Cosmic Teapot From A Far

For a belated birthday present, I treated myself to one of Petr's lovely teapots.  When I first opened his box from Czech Republic, I was pleasantly taken aback by this teapot's daintiness-  it is perhaps the most delicate stoneware my hands have touched- nothing nothing like the chunky clunky bowls I made in college. The pot performs admirably in the ways I care about- pouring, heat retention, and ergonomics.

Aesthetics and form have a strong sway on my brewing as much as the functional aspects of a teapot. The severe form of a classical shuiping tends to make me more self-conscious and formal about the "gongfu" in my brewing.  But this teapot's relaxed shoulders nudge me to be natural in my session, to let things just happen.  

I posed this teapot with abalone shells as the layered blues of the flowing glaze reminded me of the deep ocean, but now while I'm tapping out this post, the opalescent milky glaze gives me a different head trip.  I'm seeing a helix nebula against the dark cosmos.  I love layered non-deterministic glazes like this because even the potter won't know exactly how the teapot will turn out till they open the kiln.  Hence no two pots can be exactly identical.  Such glaze patterns are unexpectedly more stunning and complex than what a human hand can actually paint.  

(Just an unrelated story only vaguely tied by pottery.)
Long long ago when I first came to California, I had a potter friend who invited me to go beach camping at Bolinas for a massive raku pit firing.  We were joined by a few of his friends. Soon after dinner, one of the other potter's ladyfriend simply peeled off all her clothes including her purple leg warmers and ran to the edge of the water to do an interpretive moon dance. Then her man watching her for a few minutes did the same.  It was by far the most Marin thing I have ever experienced. While I did not regret joining in on the impromptu naked moon dance,  I did regret not having a pot of my own to fire.