**We are offering this teapot at a discounted price due to the presence of 2 small chips: one on the outer rim (on the side opposite the handle), and another on the knob of the lid (see photos). The chip on the knob is glazed over, whereas the chip on the rim is not. Both are likely from the removal of the ash post-firing, and the potter forgot to mend the chip on the pot itself. A small dot of clear nail polish will seal the pot similarly to the repair that the potter made to the lid. This is such an exquisite teapot that we expect someone to purchase it and use it enthusiastically for many years to come. THis type of spot damage is quite common with ash-fired pottery, but is traditionally marked down as we have done in this instance.**
Shiraiwa Taisuke is talented potter who resides in Hakodate, northern Japan. He has studied with the famous Japanese potter Konishi Yohei (Yusen) and the influence of this pottery master is clearly seen in Shiraiwa’s work. His kiln, named Kurakakegama (cave kiln) is located at the foot of Mt. Hakodate with its spectacular night views and soft lights of the fisherman’s boats.
This teapot has a lovely plump melon-shaped body, paired with a narrow footring. The petite spout and handle are each applied at a strong angle, and contrast nicely with the pot’s soft rounded shape. The color is a rich mixture of grey-blue and brown hues. Towards the middle of the pot, these two colors intermix in a most appealing way. The clay is light blue-grey in color with small black spots (best seen on the footring and the pots interior). On the tip of the spout and the handle, the firing has made the natural blue tones truly pop. As with all pieces fired in a wood-fired kiln, the exact effects and finished outcome of the pottery are truly one-of-a-kind.
ABOUT SHIRAIWA’S ANAGAMA KILN
Shiraiwa fires his teawares in a wood-fired anagama kiln and uses natural ash glazes and refined color glazes. Robert Yellen (http://www.e-yakimono.net ) an American expert on Japanese ceramics living in Kyoto, Japan explains anagama kilns like this:
” Kilns come in many varieties, from wood-burning to electric, fuel oil, natural gas, coal, or propane. The heating method greatly influences the pottery — e.g., for natural ash glazes, potters prefer the wood-burning anagama for it produces fly ash, which settles on the pieces, melts, and creates a natural ash glaze that cannot be achieved with any other type of firing.”
Anagama kilns are also known as single chamber tunnel kilns. They were introduced to Japan in the 5th C by Korean potters. Burning wood not only produces heat of up to 1400°C (2,500 °F), it also produces fly ash and volatile salts. Wood ash settles on the pieces during the firing, and the complex interaction between flame, ash, and the minerals of the clay body forms a natural ash glaze. This glaze may show great variation in color, texture, and thickness, ranging from smooth and glossy to rough and sharp. The placement of pieces within the kiln affects the pottery’s appearance, as pieces in the front of the kiln may receive heavy coats of ash, or even be immersed in embers, while others deeper in the kiln may only be softly touched by ash effects. Potters can also apply ash glazes to their pieces which will add colors such as blue and green and grey to their finished pieces. Some pieces will feature both areas of natural color flashing contributed by the heat of the kiln as well as areas of applied glaze The length of the firing depends on the volume of the kiln and may take anywhere from 48 hours to 12 or more days. The kiln generally takes the same amount of time to cool down.
Please Note: This is a handmade item – slight variations in the painting, colors, tooling, patterning and kiln effects of Chinese and Japanese teawares are to be expected. We have carefully photographed this item as best as possible – please be aware that different device screens can render colors and subtle tones slightly differently.
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