After a long 6 weeks, I am finally done with the teapot. I had a few mishaps along the way...lid not fitting, my teacher (Left photo) had to fix the spout for me since I cracked it etc...But all the hard work has paid off! Here are the final steps! (mishaps included)
After starting to carve the teapot spout (which was extremely fragile and brittle) I accidentally cracked it. But never fear! Arai Sensei was there! After getting all panicked my teacher came over and calmly fixed the crack.
Here he is taking some of the leftover bizen clay and mending the crack. He used water, a carving knife and a brush. First dipping the brush in the water he lightly brushed the crack. This filled it with a very small amount water which made the bonding of both sides much easier. He then took some bizen clay (about a a 10yen coin size worth) and started molding back the areas that had crumbled away. It's hard to tell in this picture but he is moving the blade towards the body, not away from it. (I did the opposite which led to the crack in the first place) Going towards the body provides more support for the spout and lessens the chance of cracks or unwanted large pieces breaking off.
Since the water from the brush needs to soak in overnight I couldn't carve the teapot anymore than night. So I put it away and came back to it the next week.
The next class, it was time to carve the spout for the final time and attach the handle rings to the teapot body. Before attaching the rings it is important to finish carving since it can be difficult with the rings. They could get knocked off or bent.
After gingerly carving the spout it was time to attach the rings. I first eye measure where I wanted the rings placed and scored the bonding spots on both the teapot body and rings. I then used a liquefied form of the bizen clay and a brush to ensure a good seal. Although the teapot and rings were much drier than the liquid clay, Arai Sensei insured me that the bond would be very strong since the moisture would serve as a sealing agent.
Moving quickly I attached the rings to the front and back. I also checked above and around to make sure the rings were at the level and angle I wanted.
After the rings were attached the area around them was lumpy and ugly so I took some of the liquid clay and brush it around to make a nice smooth surface. (I used my fingers and some water too) Some may think the spout is rather long but this is actually a must since the tip of the spout has to coincide with the water level inside the pot. If the spout mouth is too low the water will leak out.
Voila! A complete teapot!!! ALMOST! I thought the teapot needed a little extra design element so I added some warts (as one of my fellow students called them) to the outside.
As you may remember I have done this one other time on a small plate. It turned out really well and would love to see the same for the teapot. Although they may look like warts to some, I think it looks cool :)
The final touch was a small 2mm ball on the underside of the spout tip. I was worried about the spout dribbling (since it is very hard to make a smooth pouring spout) So my teacher said putting this small ball on the underside will help catch the water and prevent it from dribbling down the side. Hope it works!
In the meantime the teapot will dry and get bisque fired, glazed and will be put into the winter (dec 18th) noborigama. So actually I won't get to see it until 2011!
Until next time!!!