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In Which I Get my Hands Dirty

So today I had my first PII-sponsored cultural activity: pottery making at the Hokutoh Studio. Today was the first of three sessions and we're making a chawan--a tea bowl that's used in tea ceremony. So we arrived and were given a disc of clay that weighed about 850g, a manual potter's wheel (no fancy electric things for us!), a knife, a sponge, some bowls of water, a leather strip, and a wooden shaper.



The teacher's main point was that our feelings are transmitted from our mind through our hands and into the clay, so we should treat it nicely (like how you talk to flowers to help them grow).

First we molded the clay into a ball and then smushed it into the center of the wheel. After shaping it a bit, we dipped one finger in water and, spinning the wheel, made a divet in the center of our lump. Then with our fingers we shaped it into a bowl, and then used the leather strap soaked in water to shape and smooth the edges while the wheel was spinning. The curved wooden shaper was used to sculpt the insides, and the sponge was used to keep the clay from drying out and also to smooth the outside. This was my result from today:



I think it looks pretty good. Next time we're going to work on the bottom, so the raggedy bits from cutting the bowl off the potter's wheel won't be there.

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