Banner: Porcelain Grace, Meryl Ruth, Fine Art

 

  CHASHITSU WABI, "QUIETLY ELEGANT TEAHOUSE" CERAMIC WORK


Ceramic work in the form of a quietly elegant teahouse.
  • This delicate hand-built work expresses the simple austere beauty of the traditional Japanese teahouse. It is the response to a commission for a ceramic work in the form of a classic teahouse containing within it a miniature thrown teapot designed in classic Japanese elegance. Size is limited by the buyer to a maximum of 11" height and 7" width.
  • The work is a departure from my prior whimsical works in its focus on the serious nature of this structure, which embodies so much traditional understatement, peace, tranquility, simplicity and introspective contemplation. These attributes are all vested in the term "wabi" as a life-affirming aesthetic, which integrates space, light, shadow, sensuality and mystery. "Chashitsu" refers to the revered house or room reserved exclusively for Japanese tea ceremonies. It characteristically has two sliding doors, a focal niche, tatami flooring and a fire pit. The size constraints here preclude displaying all of these typical features.
  • Preliminary sketch and tagboard template model serve as the basis for mutually agreeable design decisions by both buyer and artist.
  • The walls of the teahouse, pierced by small high windows, are constructed of stoneware clay slabs. The back wall is modified by press mold with vertical linearity to appear as if made of bamboo; the two side walls are decorated by incised images of a serene bamboo grove.
  • Substantial feet are appended below the floor to suspend the teahouse above its base and give it symbolic lofty stature to reflect its cultural importance for household and community.
  • A  series of teapots is designed and constructed based on updated versions of antique Japanese teapots. They are mostly composed of wheel thrown clay (for main compartment, lid and spout) or extruded clay (for faux bamboo handles and string handle bindings). One of these teapots is chosen by the buyer to be permanently affixed in place inside the teahouse.
  • Construction sequence:
  • Date: 2014.
  • Size:  11.0" x 7.0" x  7.0".
  • A commissioned work.
  • Sold.

ENLARGED VIEWS

 

 

 

 

Enalrged view.

 

Enalrged view.

 

Enalrged view.

 

Enlarged view.

 

 


CREATIVE PROCESS

 

 

 

Preliminary sketch of proposed ceramic teahouse.   

 

  • Preliminary sketch of proposed ceramic work in the form of a traditional Japanese teahouse, featuring a small thrown teapot within.
  • Structural design and coloration details are to be worked out in collaboration with the buyer who commissioned this work.
  • Size constraints curtail the detailwork and prevent providing the diminutive teapot with practical functionality.

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   Tagboard template model of ceramic teahouse. 

 

  • A tagboard template is constructed as a model for the proposed teahouse-teapot ceramic piece. Some of the elements are modified by mutual agreement of both buyer and artist.

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The teahouse is hand-built constructed of stonewre clay.

  • The teahouse is hand-built from slabs of stoneware clay , each shaped to match (or modify) the size and shape of the various component templates previously made of tagboard.
  • Further structural embellishments are added for the tile roof, the grand circular entrance, and the side walls (decorated with incised images of serene bamboo groves) and the back wall (in a linear vertical pattern resembing bamboo impressed by use of press mold).

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Sturdy supporting feet are added to elevate the stature and cultural importance teahouse.

  • The teahouse is elevated by the additonal of substantive sculptured feet to symbolically convey its importance in the cultural environment.
  • Shown here is a termporary teapot to demonstrate where it will be ultimately be placed within the unit. The final model of the teapot to be used here will be a more fanciful and decorative one in the form of a replica of an antique Japanes teapot (owned by the buyer) to enhance the setting.

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Selection from a series of teapots for insertion into teahouse.

  • A  series of teapots, based on updated versions of antique Japanese teapots, is designed and constructed. One will be chosen by the buyer for insertion into the teahouse interior.
  • This is the first of that teapot series. Its base, the main teapot chamber, is wheel thrown. The sides are altered by paddling to create the squarish look desired by the buyer to match and emphasize the box-like shape of the teahouse in which the teapot is to be permanently mounted.
  • The faux bamboo handles are made of extruded and modified clay sticks, as are the faux string handle bindings.
  • The lid and the spout are both wheel thrown and altered to conform to the planned design.

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Teacup in antique design form for enclosure inside teahouse.

  • A teacup designed and created in the style of an ancient one is chosen by the buyer.
  • Its size is limited to just under 3.5" to ensure it will fit through the circular front entrance of the teahouse.
  • It is constructed as the earlier model (shown above) had been, with wheel-thrown main chamber (but not altered as previously). Extruded clay is used for the handle of faux bamboo and the string bindings. The spout and the lid are also wheel thrown and altered as before.

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 Teahouse showing miniature teacup in place, but still unfinished.

  • The teahouse is temporily assembled to ensure the newly-formed teapot will fit properly into the space allocated for it within the teahouse.
  • With the construction phase now completed, the piece is now allowed to dry thoroughly to the bisque state prior to its first kiln firing.
  • The roof wil be fired as a separate component, kept unattached until after the teapot and the rest of the interior aspects of the teahouse are fired and embellished with glazes.
  • After the internal decorative stage is done and the teapot is affixed onto the floor of the teahouse, the roof will be mounted in place and permanently attached,

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Beginning of coloration with underglazes.

  • After thorough drying, the work is fired for the first time to cone 04.
  • Underglazes are applied to the interior and exterior surfaces of the structure to begin the coloration process.
  • Some of the underglazes are rubbed on and wiped off to emphasize the texture of the pres mold areas; some underglazes are painted on by hand.
  • Several additional layers of color will be applied after the work is refired to cone 5.

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The work is nearing completion with muted coloration.

  • The coloration is softly muted using overglazes and  China paints as the work nears completion.
  • The symbolic icon in Japanese script at the ornamental rooftop's peak reads "mindfulness." This is in keeping with the ritualistic function of the tea ceremony that takes place in the teahouse represented in miniature by this ceramic piece.

 

Final work after tones softened.

 

  • Work completed with cold finishes to tone down colors in compliance with the serenity conveyed by this venerated structure.

 


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