Monday, December 16, 2013

The Ancient Korean Teabowl Potter

In February 2010, I wrote a post titled, The Choson Potter’s Studio and KilnIt was posted on my teabowl blog where I simply try to make sense of and gain a better understanding of teabowls.  I’m about to introduce Korean teabowl artists and want you to have that background before I begin introducing these special artists to you.  
The ancient potter's post can be found here.  Thanks for continuing to check this blog.  Thanks also for your support of my efforts to bring you what I consider the best Korean teas and tea ware available.  Contact me if you are interested in any of our teas, tea ware or tours.  I've extended those sales until Korean New Year.  Have a great holiday and a wonderful New Year.
We are now on Facebook. Check us out Morning Crane Tea. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Don't Miss the Cyber Monday Sale

Yeohanggi Cup
Are you about to miss the Cyber Monday Sale because you are not watching all my blogs?  Click here to check it out.  Happy Holidays.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Park Jong Il’s Chawan

 Image by Joan Martin a Tour Guest
Recently I received some images of chawan (teabowls) from Park Jong Il.  We introduced him a few years ago to the Western tea world and his teapots have gained considerable attention internationally.  Several of you have asked about chawan so I asked him to send me images of some moderately priced examples.  He had been having some difficulty getting images of his work to me over the years so I suggested that he simply use his cell phone.  Well, really it is a smart phone.  Using a smart phone in this way is an easy and efficient way to share images.  I’ve been doing it ever since I moved up to a smart phone and it has helped clients quickly view various options.  In fact I have a ‘smart phone’ sale of Park Jong Il’s tea ware now.  Of course we can also use email for the same purpose. 
When we select a chawan, it is like choosing anything that you want to be part of your life for a long time.  It is like selecting a puppy, mantle clock or even a friend.  What are you looking for?  Each of us comes to that decision from our own place with our own goals.   What I might respond to may not be what you would respond to because we may be looking for different things. 
Park Jong Il is best known for his teapots. While his teapots are usually consistent and recognizable as uniquely his, his chawan are different.  In a real sense his chawan are like a group of people that might attend a gathering to celebrate tea.   Some are masculine, some are feminine, some are more rugged than others – I think you get the picture. 
Park Jong Il takes that approach because he understands that a chawan must serve people individually and each person must find in their personal chawan an energy that compels them to return again and again.  Sure you may use a single chawan for group Tea but the one serving selects the bowl.  This is not to say that there are not or should not be certain criteria for exceptional chawan but untimately it is your decision.  Please view all of this post before you make your decision.  

Lets look at Park Jong Il’s chawan.
I will begin with those I consider simple and progress to the more complex.  Each bowl lists for $300.00.   A fair price for quality chawan. Contact me for details and your special price.

PJI 1  9 cm H 15 cm W
This open chawan is a classic example following one of Korean traditional forms.  It is made with Jerisan clay, as are all of these bowls, considered by Korean ceramic artists to be the best clay for teabowls.  Park Jong Il used this same clay for the walls of his home and tea gallery.  It is glazed with a feldspathic glaze and fired with wood. This like many excellent bowls will age when used.  In 3-5 years of use and care this bowl will blossom.  But from the beginning it will be a pleasure to use.  It fit the hands beautifully.

Click on images to enlarge.
The bowl is deep dropping below the top of the foot ring.  Notice the double swell in this bowl - a traditional Korean form. The foot has the appropriate 'nipple'.  This bowl is made to serve and will serve well.     

PJI 2  9 cm H 15 cm W
This bowl flawless.  It was glazed with the same glaze as the previous bowl but fired in a slightly cooler area of the wood kiln.  Kissed by the flame with a strong bamboo knot foot, this bowl stands tall and strong. 

The deep bowl and strong quickly tooled foot make this a very compelling bowl.  Read more about this bowl here.

PJI 3  9 cm H 15 cm W
A deep quickly formed ‘gqey-yl’ buncheong bowl fired with wood, subtle in color is always enticing to tea connoisseurs.  This bowl is a fine example of that.  Its light pale orange 'flesh' color like the two earlier bowls is a desired color.
When you fire with wood, you put yourself in the hands of the ‘spirit of the kiln’.  Some pieces will be flashed with fire, some will be more matte than others, some may have ash spots etc.  It is part of the ‘dance’ with the outer powers influencing ones work that makes the creation of chawan so fascinating and intriguing.

The bowl is deep, the foot is strong and quickly turned.  This is a bowl worth your consideration. 
PJI 4 has been removed

 PJI5  10 cm H 13 cm W
This strong, quickly formed ‘tum-bung-mun’ buncheong  chawan is another classic bowl with a classic finish.  This time another type of 'buncheong'.   Tum-bung-mun simply means that the bowl was dipped in 'slip' (a liquid clay).  The term 'gqey-yl', used earlier, refers to brushing the slip.  The term 'buncheong' is a modern term used to explain a number of different decorating processes where the use of slip was employed in various ways.  Two of the more popular processes are 'gqey-yl' or brushed slip and ‘tum-bung-mun’ or dipped slip.
The story of buncheong is a long one and often confusing.  I'll tell it on one of my blogs some day.  Buncheong processes were most popular between 1392 CE and 1592 CE when Korea was invaded and many ceramic artists were captured and taken east during the Imjin War.

The bowl is deep, the foot is strong and quickly tooled.  This bowl with its Korean decorating process fits the Korean 'Pungnyu' aesthetic philosophy with its natural unrestrained movement - like the flow of wind.

PJI 6  9 cm H 15 cm W
Now we move to a different glaze - ash.  Wood ash or really most ashes are a natural glaze.  The first glazes were essentially ashes and water dating back to the Han Dynasty.  Ash glazes are another highly desirable finish for a chawan.  But one must rely on those 'outer powers' I mentioned earlier.  In this case the ash mottling is beautiful.

The bowl is deep falling below the top of the outer foot, the ash pattern beautiful, the 'bamboo knot' foot is strong and quickly tooled.  What more can be asked of an ash glazed chawan? Beautiful.

 PJI 7  10 cm H 12 cm W
This is another ash glazed chawan.  I wanted to show three sides of the same bowl because the bowl's surface varies so much and because Park Jong Il sent me so many sides of it.  Like PJI 5, this is a strong quickly formed bowl capturing the movement of the wheel.  It also fits the Korean 'Pungnyu' aesthetic philosophy with its natural unrestrained movement - like the flow of wind.
The bowl is deep, the foot is strong and quickly tooled -   another great chawan example by Park Jong Il. 
Each bowl is listed at $300 USD, a very fair price for quality chawan.  But it may be possible that your price could be less.  All bowls are currently still in Korea and shipping is not included.  However, we may be able to negotiate both the price and shipping costs a little so contact me if you are interested in a chawan by Park Jong Il.        
I cannot leave this post without a further attempt at explaining the Korean aesthetic philosophy of Pungnyu at least a little more.   Although any short explanation like this probably does the term more disservice than service.  Pungnyu is not limited to 'movement' as illustrated in PJI 5 and PJI 7.  Pungnyu's meaning is much deeper and varied.  Like the wind itself, the aesthetics of Pungnyu can be calm and serene or a raging torrent.  Korean aesthetics principles involve those things that are natural and 'free'.  In a sense the fact that Park Jong Il is not tied down to one style of chawan indicates that he is embracing that philosophy.      

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Park Jong Il Teapot Sale: Autumn 2013

Have you been waiting to get a 
Park Jong Il teapot?  
Wait no longer !!

This is the first of two posts on Park Jong Il's tea ware.
Ever since I introduced Park Jong Il’s tea ware to the Western tea world they have been gaining in popularity.  A number of tea connoisseurs have purchased two or more of his teapots.  European blogs are borrowing and translating my posts on him as he continues to grow in popularity internationally.  I’m particularly pleased that Asian tea folk are finding his work through me.  But of course that is who Park Jong Il sells more of his tea ware to, so that should not come as a surprise.
A tea connoisseur recently commented that he has reduced his use of YiXing teapots because the Park Jong Il teapots are so much more “alive”.  A tea master in Korea told me that Park Jong Il’s unglazed teapots, either white or dark, are better than either China’s Yixing or Japan’s Bizen tea ware.  I’m not making that claim because like tea a teapot must also suit your personal taste.  I’m just happy that Park Jong Il is being appreciated by many of you internationally.  If this is your first Park Jong Il teapot, you won’t be alone.

I thought about calling this the cell phone text sale or the email sale.  I found these method of offering work a great way for you to select the work you want in a more personal manner.

Just email me to let me know you are considering getting a tea pot by Park Jong Il.  In that email let me know if you are located in the USA and will accept text messages on your cell phone. If so include your phone number.  If not or if you are in another country, we will use email or discuss other options
Let me know the type of work you are seeking.  I’ll take images of the work I have here that might interest you and send them to you as text messages or by email. 
We’ll decide a mutual time to ‘chat‘ about the work while I continue to send you other tea ware images you would like to see and answer any questions you may have.  This type of sale is much more personal.
This sale has ended but contact us for the current sale.
I often have Park Jong Il's teaware in stock.
We always give great prices.
The teapots illustrating this post are for sale.  We have a number of cups including ‘Gqey-yl’ that will go with any teapot.  We are very limited on white pitchers and cups.
For your information, I'll be presenting a similar offering on Park Jong Il's chawan and his "da-hae" sets.
We have a new Facebook page.  Please 'like' us on Facebook. We also have a website that attempts to combine the work found on most of my blogs. Check here to go there.

The inside of a Park Jong Il Teapot

Some tea ware we offer is only to retail shops.  Introduce us to your regular land teashop and we'll gift you some tea or even tea ware if they buy from us. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Kim Yu Sung's Celadon Cup

If you have seen any celadon at all, in quick passing you might simply ignore this cup and place it with a million other celadon cups with crane and cloud carved inlay or rather sanggam technique.  But this cup is far different even if you may not be able to see all of its qualities in the flat world of digital screen imagery.  
The cup was made by the wonderful female ceramic artist Kim Yu Sung.  Kim Yu Sung is one of the only female celadon artists to have won the prestigious Gangjin Celadon Award at Gangjin Korea’s annual celadon competition held each year during the Gangjin Celadon Festival.  Receiving this award placed her among the nation’s best celadon artists.
She was selected by the city of Gangjin to be their representative demonstration carver for the New York opening of the International Gangjin Celadon Exhibition and her work truly stands out. 
Fortunately for us one of her specialties is tea ware.
This crane carving is just 3.5cm.  The dark legs are like tiny hairs even here.  Imagine what it is like in actual scale.    
Instead of looking at what this cup is, let's think about what this cup is not.  It is not too green.  It is not too gray.  It is not too blue.  It is not too light.  It is not too dark.  It is not too yellow.  It is not too intense.  It is not too large.  It is not too small.  It is not too thick.  It is not too thin.  It has no crazing.  "Wait a minute." you might ask,  "What do you mean, it has no crazing?  I thought crazing was a good thing with celadon.  I thought that celadon should have that, "cracked ice" look with lots of crazing."  Well, to be blunt, crazing is a glaze fault.  True we ceramic artists often like glaze faults.  But do we really like them or do we adjust to them?  Let's consider the celadon artists who because of the quality of their clay, the mixture of their glaze and the firing of their kiln simply can't produce celadon without crazing.  Answer:  Teach the world that crazing is good when it comes to celadon, create a memorable poetic term, - "cracked ice".  Sounds pretty good.  Say this so long and so often that you believe it yourself or because your teacher said so and we have "cracked ice" celadon.  But the fact remains that the very best celadon has no "cracked ice" crazing.  The fact remains that crazing is a glaze flaw.
This no "cracked ice" celadon is from Gangjin.  Or should I say this pure smooth almost soft perfect secret color celadon is from Gangjin.  Gangjin was the major center for the old celadon that was famous during the Goryeo Dynasty (918CE-1392CE) when celadon was in its glory.  Gangjin was so famous then that today if you visit an art museum, anywhere in the world, that is fortunate to have an old 12th century celadon piece, there is a good chance it was made in Gangjin.  Eighty percent (80%) of the celadon found in the museums of the world today were made in Gangjin- and traditionally without crazing.  That is Gangjin celadon has no crazing.
Kim Yu Sung lives and works in Gangjin.  She is co-founder and ceramic artist at the new Gangjin Goryo Celadon Institute along with Kang Kwang Mugg.  They have established a beautiful center and have some great things happening there that I'll tell you about later.  If you can't wait to learn about them, email me.  Adventurous ceramic artists in particular should consider doing that.              
We are all familiar with the aesthetics of the natural - like earth and stone.  This is the aesthetics of nature like clouds and and a gentle breeze.  This is the aesthetics of nature that is pure and humble and soft and even delicate.  A whisper of color - not a shout.  Such is this simple celadon cup by Kim Yu Sung - true poetry.  Poetry that isn't forced but just 'is' - beautiful. 
Why did I decide to write this post?  I paired this cup with a tea.  Not any tea, an unusual Darjeeling called Treasure Gold and a new offering at Morning Crane Tea.  
There was something about that golden tea that made me think about this cup and something about this cup that made me think about this golden tea.
I particularly like celadon (but, as expressed above, not any celadon).  I particularly like these perfect celadon cups and tea ware - those with this perfect color for these darker teas - the perfect cup for a delicious tea.
We will soon have Kim Yu Sung's beautiful tea ware available here at Morning Crane Tea. Contact us if you would like to learn more about Kim Yu Sung and the other new tea ware artists we are making available this year.  Click here to learn more about the tea Treasure Gold.  Watch this site for a special offering joining Kim Yu Sung's tea ware with this or one of our other great oxidized and/or fermented teas - our balhyochas.  We will have some exciting tea ware artists this year.  Get ready.
I know you are asking, "What is the size of this cup?" The cup is 2.75 in W X 1.75 in H  or 7 cm W X 4.5 cm H - perfect for Tea.