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A ceramic work in the form of a traditional Japanese teahouse
  • This is the second in a planned series of three delicate hand-built works representing the constrained beauty of the traditional Japanese teahouse. It follows the general pattern of its prototype, Chashitsu Wabi, which was made on commission and resulted from close coordination and exchange of ideas between the buyer and the artist. It, too, is in the form of a classic teahouse containing within it a miniature thrown teapot designed in classic Japanese elegance. Contrary to its predecessor, it was constructed without size limits. It differs from the first iteration in a number of particulars, especially as regards its more angular feet, flatter roof and modfied coloration.
  • The work is the second in which I advance from my prior whimsical works and try instead to respectfully depict the contemplative nature of this revered structure, which embodies traditional understatement, peace, tranquility, simplicity and introspection. These attributes are described in the term "mokurai" in an oddly contradictory aesthetic that expresses both silence and the checked forces of nature, while addressing space, light, shadow, sensuality and mystery. "Sukiya" refers to the architectural style of the special house or room reserved exclusively for the traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. Sukiya style specifically indicates refinement with well-cultivated taste and delight in elegant pursuits, most relevantly the enjoyment of the exquisitely performed tea ceremony. 
  • As in the first work in this series, the teahouse typically includes two sliding doors, a focal niche, tatami flooring and a fire pit, although not all of these elements are included in this ceramic piece.
  • Preliminary sketch and tagboard template model serve as the basis for the construction, which is begun by forming preshaped slabs of clay cut according to the design of the model. The stoneware segments are then used for slab construction of the work.
  • The walls of the teahouse contain small high windows on three sides. The back wall is modified by press mold with vertical bmboo-like linearity.  Incised images of serene bamboo groves embellish the two side walls. The entrance way is atypically open to allow viewers to see the interior design, including the prominent centrally-located replica of an antique Japanes teapot.
  • Substantial feet elevate the teahouse above its base, usually isolated on land or in water, to symbolically depict its lofty stature and reflect its cultural importance for household and community.
  • A small teapot is separately designed and constructed to replicate an antique Japanese teapot. It is composed of wheel thrown clay (for main compartment, lid and spout) and extruded clay (for faux bamboo handles and string handle bindings). When the teahouse structure and coloration are completed, the teapot is permanently affixed in place inside the teahouse.
  • Displayed at Teapots! Ninth Invitational Exhibition, Annual National Show, Morgan Glass Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, 2015.
  • Construction Sequence:
  • Date: 2014.
  • Size: 11.5" x 7.0" x 7.0" .
  • Available for purchase. Price: $1800.


Sukiya Mururai, a depiction of a traditional Japanese teahouse.


The back view of the teahouse with bamboo wall and grove panels.


Traditional teahouse with replica of ancient teapot within.


An imaginative entry way for the teahouse.


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Early phase of construction of the ceramic teahouse work.

  • Preliminary tagboard templates are used to cut clay slabs to shape and size. Slab construction techniques facilitate construction of this classic form of teahouse, the second in a series of three similar, but unique, ceramic works.  Adjacent slabs are permanently affixed to each other by score and slip method.
  • Surface design is done by press mold to impart a faux bamboo pattern to the back wall and incised images of tranquil bamboo groves to the side walls.
  • The entry way is atypically circular to permit clear viewing of the interior with its centrally-placed antique teapot replica.
  • Feet are appended to elevate the piece and represent the respect and esteem the teahouse holds for the individual and the community.
  • The roof curvature replicates the classic teahouse style.

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    Completed by use of glazes and China paints in muted colors and fired three times between layers of coloration.



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