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I'm trying to making yixing teapots...


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#1 futurebird

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 09:52 PM

Hi! I'm basically a person who is obsessed with tea... and this has lead me to try and make my own yixing teapots. I've been posting att "'wetcanvas" but no one there really cares... so I thought I'd try a new forum!

my first efforts were sad:
Posted Image

But, then I watched some videos and started to get the steps...
Posted ImagePosted Image
Posted ImagePosted Image
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#2 futurebird

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 09:55 PM

I've made TWO since I made that first decent one... But, each had some ... lets say... issues. I'll show this one:
Posted Image

Ugh... it's just too rough, and fugly. I think the problems is that I got a little ahead of myself and tried to work much too small too soon. I need to keep working at a larger sizes for now. Since my goal is to make *my personal* ideal teapot -- it's hard not to just focus on what I want. But, I need to remember that the teapot I will keep is not even born yet... it's not even an idea yet.

Posted Image

That said, I've come up with a new way of making handles. Making handles is HARD, since this clay isn't plastic and will crack when bent. I'm having some good luck sculpting the handles from slabs:

Posted Image

This show some bits in my "damp box" I'm trying to make a lot of pieces at once then just assemble them later. That way it is not required to make everything on the spot.

Posted Image


I don't know if it will work, but it's worth a try.

This little workspace is my happy place!
Posted Image

Though, my husband complains about the pounding some of the time.

Can't wait to post the next (passable) pot. The encouragement really helps too. Some days nothing works. But, that's just part of learning. I have become very critical of the work of others:

http://s18.postimg.o...6hzt/3219_4.jpg

http://www.ebay.com/... ... 232a5c14c2

I found these on ebay, and started listing the flaws as soon as I saw them. But, it made me feel better to see that others have struggled with the same things that I do... (lumpy spout, crooked handles, etc.) albiet they strugglemuch less...

I think I'll try to copy this teapot next:

its looks simple (deceptively simple ) and yet I think I understand how to make it.

http://img.auctiva.c...66595428_tp.jpg

http://www.ebay.com/... ... 4ac3fc5b34

(FYI I have no idea if this ebay auction is a good price or even that great of a pot, I'm just using it for a visual reference, not saying it's worth bidding on!)



Back to the drawing board!
www.futurebird.com

#3 bciskepottery

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 10:28 PM

http://ceramicartsda...ndbuilt-teapot/

http://ceramicartsda...g-every-detail/

#4 futurebird

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 11:03 PM

http://ceramicartsda...ndbuilt-teapot/

http://ceramicartsda...g-every-detail/


Those are the videos that got me started. I also ordered one from "china clay arts" and it was very helpful.
www.futurebird.com

#5 Denice

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 08:04 AM

I quickly reviewed the video to see what might be causing you problems with the clay. I noticed she uses a large wooden block, this would compress the clay better and make it easier to work with, do you use this tool? I also noticed that the potter is wearing latex gloves, they keep her hands from drawing moisture out to the clay. I noticed that you work on a wood surface, you might try a melamine covered board to work on that would draw less moisture out of your clay. The last thing is the humidity level in your working space can make a bid difference in working with any type of clay. Sometimes the littlest changes can make a big difference. Denice

#6 Pres

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 08:06 AM

I've made TWO since I made that first decent one... But, each had some ... lets say... issues. I'll show this one:
Posted Image

Ugh... it's just too rough, and fugly. I think the problems is that I got a little ahead of myself and tried to work much too small too soon. I need to keep working at a larger sizes for now. Since my goal is to make *my personal* ideal teapot -- it's hard not to just focus on what I want. But, I need to remember that the teapot I will keep is not even born yet... it's not even an idea yet.

Posted Image

That said, I've come up with a new way of making handles. Making handles is HARD, since this clay isn't plastic and will crack when bent. I'm having some good luck sculpting the handles from slabs:

Posted Image

This show some bits in my "damp box" I'm trying to make a lot of pieces at once then just assemble them later. That way it is not required to make everything on the spot.

Posted Image


I don't know if it will work, but it's worth a try.

This little workspace is my happy place!
Posted Image

Though, my husband complains about the pounding some of the time.

Can't wait to post the next (passable) pot. The encouragement really helps too. Some days nothing works. But, that's just part of learning. I have become very critical of the work of others:

http://s18.postimg.o...6hzt/3219_4.jpg

http://www.ebay.com/... ... 232a5c14c2

I found these on ebay, and started listing the flaws as soon as I saw them. But, it made me feel better to see that others have struggled with the same things that I do... (lumpy spout, crooked handles, etc.) albiet they strugglemuch less...

I think I'll try to copy this teapot next:

its looks simple (deceptively simple ) and yet I think I understand how to make it.

http://img.auctiva.c...66595428_tp.jpg

http://www.ebay.com/... ... 4ac3fc5b34

(FYI I have no idea if this ebay auction is a good price or even that great of a pot, I'm just using it for a visual reference, not saying it's worth bidding on!)



Back to the drawing board!


Just a few thoughts here about something you have thought out really well. Have you tried doing the handles out of a little wetter clay to help with the cracking problem? Or have thought of using a small extruder to extrude your coils for handles? At the same time the lid/body seem is rough, you may find it easier to lay paper towel or saran wrap between the two and work with your paddle evening up the seam. Just a few thoughts-keep up the journey, you'll get what you want, as you are approaching things well.

Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#7 Chris Campbell

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 11:18 AM

The only words I can offer is what you already know ... : > ) ... What you are trying to do IS really difficult.
Controlling your humidity is crucial at every stage since all the pieces have to stay at the same level in order to be workable.
Try to enjoy the baby steps of your progress and keep sending in images of your work.

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TRY ...   FAIL ...  LEARN ...  REPEAT


#8 Diane Puckett

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 03:10 PM

I think you are doing a terrific job in a very difficult task. Today someone mentioned to me somewhere that the teapots are made in separate pieces and then joined when bone dry. The "glue" used to join them is paper clay slip with a bit of clear glaze mixed in. Maybe someone else on this forum knows about that and could give you more information.
Diane Puckett
Dry Ridge Pottery

#9 futurebird

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 02:16 AM

The only words I can offer is what you already know ... : > ) ... What you are trying to do IS really difficult.
Controlling your humidity is crucial at every stage since all the pieces have to stay at the same level in order to be workable.
Try to enjoy the baby steps of your progress and keep sending in images of your work.


Thanks to everyone! the encouragement really helps! And I have some new things to try.

Just a few thoughts here about something you have thought out really well. Have you tried doing the handles out of a little wetter clay to help with the cracking problem? Or have thought of using a small extruder to extrude your coils for handles? At the same time the lid/body seem is rough, you may find it easier to lay paper towel or saran wrap between the two and work with your paddle evening up the seam. Just a few thoughts-keep up the journey, you'll get what you want, as you are approaching things well.


I have not tried and extruder... could be good.

Today I discovered that if I twist the handle as I bend it it won't crack as much.

I quickly reviewed the video to see what might be causing you problems with the clay. I noticed she uses a large wooden block, this would compress the clay better and make it easier to work with, do you use this tool? I also noticed that the potter is wearing latex gloves, they keep her hands from drawing moisture out to the clay. I noticed that you work on a wood surface, you might try a melamine covered board to work on that would draw less moisture out of your clay. The last thing is the humidity level in your working space can make a bid difference in working with any type of clay. Sometimes the littlest changes can make a big difference. Denice


I use most of the same tools. I think I'm just much slower than her! Though I think I might try the gloves!


I know it's small but I had already cut the pieces for it before I decided to work larger for a bit.


Posted Image

Today's attempt.


Posted Image


Posted Image

Dirty nails are dirty.

Posted Image

I still need to do the lid for this one. Should be fun. Next one is going to be at least 150ml. But, I liked getting the shape.
www.futurebird.com

#10 futurebird

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 01:22 AM

Posted Image

This is the yellow "duan ni" clay from china clay arts... it's much nicer than the green or the "purple" -- for some reason it seems to be easier to work with... or maybe it was just the way I reduced the clay from slip... dunno.

Posted Image


I like this better than a plain ball, but I need to make a less goofy lion.

Posted Image


Posted Image


Can't wait to burnish this one... the bamboo tools really help keep it smooth, also I now have TWO towels to keep my hands from getting sloppy.
www.futurebird.com

#11 futurebird

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 12:46 AM

Posted Image

New handle, new spout. Complete!

Posted Image

I really like this ligher clay!

Posted Image

Posted Image

What should I work on next?

:?:

Posted Image

Saying hello and goodbye today... may they be better teapots in their next lives...
www.futurebird.com

#12 futurebird

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 09:16 PM

Today after work I did another teapot. The big break through todat was learning to use the "spout make knife" correctly. The trick is to hold the knife still and roll the clay around it! Now check out this spout!

Posted Image

The lid looks large right? Well, I let the pot dry leather-hard before I started the lid, so I made it kinda big... too big since I had to trim it. Another lesson.

Posted Image

I also learned that by compressing the clay I could bend the handles without cracking, but I still don't know how to get the handles nice and shiny...

Posted Image

The lid will always look a little goofy since it was sized wrong...

Posted Image

The base.

Posted Image

Despite the incorrect size, I think I have a better understanding of how the inside of the lid should work.

http://s21.postimg.o...erdantteas8.jpg

It takes a little push to get it on, I think this will resolve when it's bone dry... we shall see.

Any constructive criticism is welcome. And compliments of course! :mrgreen:

I said when I started that if I made 100 teapots I bet I could get the look I wanted. Well this is number 8! Just 92 to go!!
www.futurebird.com

#13 futurebird

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 12:49 PM

Today I decided to try something more artistic-- could I combine my love of math and tea?Honestly I've been dreaming of this pot for a long time:Posted Image

I call it a ϕpot. After the golden ratio, ϕ, which (while over-hyped) is still very important to dodecahedrons.


Posted Image

I want to do this one again... I have another idea for the spot.


Posted Image

Posted Image


Posted Image

"Made in the south bronx!"

http://s12.postimg.o.../dodecapot5.jpg

I also made this, but, it will go in to the recycling soon-- using more than one color clay was not as nice as a hoped...


Even though I'm still learning I feel that I have a lot to share. I think I'll start typing up my observations on how to work with this clay. I've discovered a lot of tips along the way... hope to discover even more.



www.futurebird.com

#14 JBaymore

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 02:17 PM

Are you using a flat heavy mallet to form the clay into the original slabs, and constantly flipping them as they get pounded? That is the prefered technique with this kind of clay from Yixing that I observed there last week. Also, repeatedly using something like a large flat putty knife to smooth the surface of the slabs as they are worked.

Here's a link to my pictures from the recent journey to do my presentation at the Yixing, China Ceramics Art and Culture Festival....... maybe 1/2 way thru it there are a couple of images of making. (also a lot of photos of nice Yixing teapots there too.)


https://www.facebook...=1&l=83bc14d230

Nice to see your step-by-step progress on this endeavor.

best,

..............john
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Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

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#15 futurebird

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 10:02 PM

OMG these photos are really helpful. I'm going there next year (as a day trip, we'll mostly be in shanghai)

I do everything the way they do in the video. But I don't have a chinese clay mallet I have a wooden potato masher Posted Image --it's round so it can make very large slabs ... just small ones...

But, I've ordered the right kind of mallet.

Now that I know I like this I don't mind spending a little on the "real" tools.
www.futurebird.com

#16 JBaymore

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 10:32 PM

I've had one of those mallets for many years. They are VERY heavy. I think you'll find a difference when you start using something that heavy to compact and align the clay particles.

best,

.............john
John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

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#17 futurebird

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 12:12 PM

I did some quick sketchs of my ideas for other spouts. I want it to be geometric like the pot itself.

Posted Image

I like this one best, but I wonder about the pour and hole placement.

Posted Image

This one is quite long, it alters the profile of the teapot... but it's following the shuiping hu rules (as much as one can with such a strange pot shape) maybe rules are meant to be broken some of the time?

Maybe there is another way.
www.futurebird.com

#18 futurebird

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 07:23 PM

Posted ImageI'm playing around with drawing on the pots. But it's hard to get it looking "effortless" ha ha... I think I ruined this one with my attempt at trout swimming up stream.
Posted Image
I erased it. I need to read up on 'how to draw on clay'Posted Image
But look what came in the mail today!! a Solid rosewood Chinese clay mallet! OMG it's so heavy and it works sooooo much better than the potato masher. If only I didn't have so many papers to grade I'd do another pot right now... maybe try out the dodecahedron designs...


www.futurebird.com

#19 cgb

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 02:55 PM

I've made TWO since I made that first decent one... But, each had some ... lets say... issues. I'll show this one:
Posted Image

Ugh... it's just too rough, and fugly. I think the problems is that I got a little ahead of myself and tried to work much too small too soon. I need to keep working at a larger sizes for now. Since my goal is to make *my personal* ideal teapot -- it's hard not to just focus on what I want. But, I need to remember that the teapot I will keep is not even born yet... it's not even an idea yet.

Posted Image

That said, I've come up with a new way of making handles. Making handles is HARD, since this clay isn't plastic and will crack when bent. I'm having some good luck sculpting the handles from slabs:

Posted Image

This show some bits in my "damp box" I'm trying to make a lot of pieces at once then just assemble them later. That way it is not required to make everything on the spot.

Posted Image


I don't know if it will work, but it's worth a try.

This little workspace is my happy place!
Posted Image

Though, my husband complains about the pounding some of the time.

Can't wait to post the next (passable) pot. The encouragement really helps too. Some days nothing works. But, that's just part of learning. I have become very critical of the work of others:

http://s18.postimg.o...6hzt/3219_4.jpg

http://www.ebay.com/... ... 232a5c14c2

I found these on ebay, and started listing the flaws as soon as I saw them. But, it made me feel better to see that others have struggled with the same things that I do... (lumpy spout, crooked handles, etc.) albiet they strugglemuch less...

I think I'll try to copy this teapot next:

its looks simple (deceptively simple ) and yet I think I understand how to make it.

http://img.auctiva.c...66595428_tp.jpg

http://www.ebay.com/... ... 4ac3fc5b34

(FYI I have no idea if this ebay auction is a good price or even that great of a pot, I'm just using it for a visual reference, not saying it's worth bidding on!)



Back to the drawing board!


I really like the greenish colored pot in the first photo. Its rustic, hearty and solid. I like the style you created. There are a few tiny things about the lid though. I am trying the yxing pot also and the lid is very hard for me.

To be quite honest with you I would want that teapot over the ebay item. Keep making teapots.
Caroline

#20 Jo-Ann

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 06:20 PM

Posted ImageI'm playing around with drawing on the pots. But it's hard to get it looking "effortless" ha ha... I think I ruined this one with my attempt at trout swimming up stream.
Posted Image
I erased it. I need to read up on 'how to draw on clay'Posted Image
But look what came in the mail today!! a Solid rosewood Chinese clay mallet! OMG it's so heavy and it works sooooo much better than the potato masher. If only I didn't have so many papers to grade I'd do another pot right now... maybe try out the dodecahedron designs...




When I draw on clay, I first draw it on paper, then cover my clay with clear plastic then trace my paper drawing with a ball point pen maybe something you can try.

This link shows how you can transfer water based inks which might be better for your needs
http://ceramicartsda...nsfers-on-clay/

Love your little pots!




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