Ceramics Students Learn New Techniques

Megan Craig, left, and Leah O’Hare Vlachos are using their tea bowls to have green tea matcha.

In Visual Arts Instructor Ethan Steltzer’s Ceramics class, students are learning some interesting new methods, drawing from the ancient Japanese techniques Kurinuki chawan and yunomi. Kurinuki is the Japanese technique of reductive sculpting done by hollowing a form from a single block of clay.  Chawans are tea bowls meant to be held with two hands and yunomi are teacups meant to be held by the foot.

Part of the appeal of the Kurinuki process is the concept of “wabi-sabi” which embraces the imperfections, asymmetry, and uniqueness of things.

“Working from a single block was hard because it took some time to ‘see’ the cup in it. I was worried I’d go too far and not be able to fix it,” student Anniyah Negstad said.

After their teacups were completed, the class used their new creations to drink matcha tea, a common drink in East Asia.

“Sometimes students get too hung up on trying to make things perfect or have exact symmetry when the irregularities and imperfections can be so much more interesting,” Stelzer said. “This technique requires planning, patience, and the ability to work through unexpected obstacles and maintain creative flexibility.”


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