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tea and teabowls (long)

updated sun 23 apr 00


John Neely on sat 22 apr 00

I find all of the recent discussion (brew-ha-ha?) over teabowls
fascinating. It's timely, too, because one of the credit workshops at Utah
State University this summer will feature American potter, Richard Milgrim,
who has worked in Japan for the last twenty years. He has had the
patronage of the grand master of the Urasenke school for all of this time
and probably knows the inside workings of the world of Japanese tea world
and its connection to the world of ceramics more intimately than any other
native speaker of English in the world. In short, the guy knows teabowls.

I myself have a sort of love/hate relationship with the tea ceremony. There
are all sorts of charlatans and posers, snake oil salesmen and pyramid
schemers who operate in and around the world of tea. Tremendous sums of
money change hands for objects that might best be characterized as the
emperor's new play things. That said, the tea ceremony played an enormous
role in Japanese history, cropping up in medieval Japan, after the Meiji
restoration, and once again in post war Japan, and without much difficulty,
one can find much to respect and admire in the men and women (mostly men!)
who have created and followed "the way of tea." Tea is a subject that must
be considered in any kind of investigation into Japanese art, culture,
history - or, more to the point, ceramics.

At the risk of veering off into the commercial, I'll append to this message
the information on USU workshops. The information about credits is listed
because these are all offered as classes for college credit, and,
consequently, there is a sliding scale for tuition and fees. If I have the
arithmetic right, for either non-credit or undergraduate credit tuition
comes to 312.43 for one workshop, 521.29 for two, and 730.15 for all three.
Slightly more to register for graduate credit. Housing in student dorms is
also available.

email or call for more information

John Neely

LOGAN UT 84322-4000

435-797-3340 office (also voice mail)
435-797-3460 secretary
435-797-3566 studio (also Dan Murphy's voice mail)
435-797-3412 fax

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>From the USU website:



Date: June 12 - 16
Credits: 2

This workshop is designed for advanced students, teachers, and
professionals. The teapot is one of the most complex forms in the potter's
repertoire. The potter must balance very specific mechanical requirements
with aesthetic issues. We will consider all facets of teapot construction
from new materials and firing techniques to specific requirements for
different types of tea. We will also consider the cultural implication of
tea drinking around the world.

Specific benefits include: learning techniques specific to teapot
construction that have wide universal application, exploring how tea and
pottery are interrelated in ceramic history, and considering the
significance of the teapot as a subject for the contemporary artist.

Instructor: John Neely is an associate professor in the Department of Art
at Utah State University. A potter for more than 25 years, he has been
drinking tea even longer.

*Ceramics and the Japanese Tea Ceremony*

Date: June 19 - 23
Credits: 2

This workshop is designed for advanced students, teachers, and
professionals. The tea ceremony is one of the most significant elements in
Japanese culture. Within the tea ceremony, ceramic objects have special
significance. Insight into the tea ceremony is indispensable to
understanding Japanese ceramics.

Specific benefits include: gaining knowledge of the Japanese tea ceremony,
the function of ceramics in the tea ceremony, and construction techniques
for tea ceremony wares.

Instructor: Richard Milgrim has lived in Japan for the past 20 years. Not
only was he the first foreigner to make an impact on the Japanese tea
world, but he also has great insight into many of the traditions that have
played such important roles in the evolution of tea culture.

*Flashing in Woodfired Ceramics*

Date: June 26 - 30
Credits: 2
Course: ART 4920 - 003, 14384
ART 6920 - 003, 14385

This workshop is designed for advanced students, teachers, and
professionals. Australian Potter Tony Nankervis is famous for his intensely
colored wood-fired surfaces. By carefully orchestrating clay, slips,
glazes, and firing, he is able to achieve his signature surfaces.
Participants will make and fire work using Nankervis'

Specific benefits include: gaining specific wood firing techniques that
encourage flashing, and the opportunity to use the wood kilns at USU.
Instructor: Tony Nankervis is the Visual Arts Program Leader and Senior
Lecturer at Southern Cross University. He has more than 25 years of