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How Are Traditional Japanese Matcha Bowls Made?

Crafting a traditional matcha bowl, or chawan, is a delicate art that involves a blend of skill, patience, and respect for tradition. Here's a general overview of the process:

Step 1: Choosing the Right Clay Imagine a potter in Japan with a keen eye for the perfect clay. They might go for a clay that gives the bowl a certain texture or colour, setting the stage for the matcha magic.

Step 2: Shaping Time Now, you've got two main techniques: the wheel-throwing maestros and the hand-building artisans. The wheel spinners work their magic on a spinning wheel, shaping the bowl with a cool combo of skill and centrifugal force. Meanwhile, the hand-builders craft their bowls with hands-on precision, creating unique designs without the spinny theatrics.

Step 3: Slow and Steady Drying Once the bowl is shaped, it's time for a chill session – drying, that is. Slow and steady wins the race to avoid any pottery drama like cracks or warps.

Step 4: Kiln Action – Round One The dried bowls face their first firing in the kiln, a bit like a warm-up before the main event. This bisque firing strengthens the clay, making it ready for the glazing glamour.

Step 5: Glaze Galore Enter the glazing phase. Bowls get their colours and smooth finishes here. Some might go for a glossy look, while others prefer the natural, rustic vibes. It's like giving the bowl its personality.

Step 6: Kiln Action – Round Two The glazed bowls are back in the kiln for the final firing – the fiery finale. This is where the magic happens. The clay and glaze dance together, creating the finished, durable matcha bowl.

Step 7: The Artistic Touch After the fiery embrace, some bowls might get extra love – artisans trim, paint, or add intricate details. It's like the bowl's chance to shine and show off its unique flair.

Step 8: Quality Check Time for a scrutinising gaze. Artisans inspect each bowl, making sure it's up to snuff. No imperfections allowed – these bowls are destined for matcha greatness.

Step 9: Personal Signature For the fancy artisanal ones, the potter might sign or mark their creation. It's like putting their seal of approval on a piece of art.

Step 10: Ready for Tea Time And voilà! The matcha bowl is born. It's not just a bowl; it's a vessel for tranquility, a piece of Japanese craftsmanship ready to make your matcha experience next-level serene. Now it's time to host your very own Japanese tea ceremony!

*Photos are featuring Lizzie, the incredible artist behind our characterful little matcha bowls <3


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