Tea Bowl Developments

Can a plaster formed, slip cast tea bowl embody the qualities of unpretentious beauty, purity and dignity? Do these qualities depend on an explicit handmade interaction?

(Sales, S. 2015)

This quote from a earlier post on this blog sums up the self initiated challenge. Work began on producing a tea bowl using a slip cast method.


Tea bowls are commonly small enough objects to be held in the hands, usually accompanied by a foot/base which can be either small and unnoticeable (pictured above from the restaurant Sticks and Broth, Bristol) or very prominent in its design.

First a dovetailed plaster foot had to be made in order to attach more plaster, which could then be turned on the lathe. Fortunately I was able to observe a skilled technician demonstrate this techniques before tackling the task myself. Observation and instruction here was crucial in understanding the necessary steps in this, the first of many stages in the production of a slip cast tea bowl.

Once the dovetailing was successful a further block of plaster could then be cast onto the preexisting plaster foot. From this cylinder of plaster the block can be turned on the late to produce the desired shape. Working on a rotational device such as the lathe, meant that the tea bowl would be perfectly cylindrical and even. This step of the process was where the designing and method of making had permanent lasting effects on the final outcome. Whatever happened during the turning process would be present in the mold.

This is the stage where the craft comes into the making process. Each chisel action, measurement and sanding incident will impact the final outcome of the bowl. From here the bowl can be cast permitting clay slip to take on the form of the plaster model.

All images (ibid)


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