The most enjoyable collaborations happen between people who have similar aesthetics. That's why my most recent collaboration with Kathy YL Chan was such a great one. After much deliberation over different forms and glaze options, we not only came up with this collection of custom chawan, but also became close friends and ice-cream-eating partners-in-crime.
Chawan are the serving vessels for a Japanese drink called matcha. Before Kathy, my only impression of matcha was that it is a bitter, powdered tea that people would drink only ceremoniously. I had no idea it could be such a lush and frothy, bright and grassy green experience. It's delicious.
Therefore, when Kathy asked if I wanted to make matcha bowls for her online tea shop, I immediately said "Yes!" Our intent was to put a modern spin on a vessel rooted in a very traditional ritual.
A total of ten chawan made it into the collection. These were the last pieces I made at Greenwich House Pottery in NYC, so for me, there are a lot of memories attached to each bowl. Among those memories...the unbearable heat of firing kilns plus the already sweltering summer sun, the treasure hunt for lost bisque ware with help from Derek, the breaks I took on a park bench listening to live jazz in Washington Square, the scrambling to get the pieces through the firing process, and the immense feeling of relief when they finally made it out of the glaze kiln.
These bowls were also the first things I threw on the wheel after only working in slip-casting for the most part of this year. It felt so good to be back on the wheel, with the buttery porcelain moving between my hands. The wheel is still my first love, and I never forget my loves.
Now, head on over to the online tea shop, check out my chawan, and indulge in a tin of Kathy YL Chan matcha.