Starting a long life as a potter in the sixties, absorbing Leach, Zen and the East,( though never in reality getting up to now nearer than Thailand,) the philosophy behind the idea of a Yumoni cup, beaker, what you will, immediately appealed to me. Not a ceremonial tea-bowl, but the cup you chose to drink your tea from every morning; the idea to build a relationship with a bit of pottery until it became an intimate part of yourself!
Much as I admire some of the older pots I've seen, I don't aspire to call my productions Yumoni, but rather inspired by them and the idea of them.
So far I've gone through, or rather, let evolve, many different forms, but always with the same amount of clay for some years; very recently I've jumped it up a few ounces. But maybe that'll give me too much tea? We'll see.
What, then, is my thinking in all this : the pot must be pleasant to handle - touch, very important with any useful pot; beauty (may I use that word?) of glaze and unglazed parts; ease of use. But also, and I think the most important , the ease of drinking; does the lip turn in, making drinking your tea uncomfotable ? Does it splay out too far, making the tea come at you like high-tide ? Or does the lip fit just under your lip? All about touch again.
Does the pot catch you in an unthinking early morning moment staring at it, seeing the subtile glaze, the cold heat of the fired clay? Or does it look like a misshapen clod? For all my wordiness here, this experience is without words.
But really what I think I"m after is something very, very simple: a cup that's comfortable in the hand - or two hands if they're cold; a generous lip and some unglazed parts around the foot to allow admiration of the coarse beauty of a hand-prepared clay, fired at high temperature. Sounds simple, doesn't it, but so hard to achieve!
A too timid curve of the wall; a too generous lip; a glaze not fully developed, all these and others, can eliminate many pots from the high standard I believe I'm looking for.
With each batch I'm trying at least one thing differently. One or two of the best of them get tried for my morning tea. This can go on for some days, but eventually they get put on the reject heap or put among the best (up until now) and I can get back again to my own cup.
Perhaps many would say they thought another was better. It is just a cup, of corse, but for me it's the one I know best and love.