New Tea Bowls Fresh Out of the Kiln

Hi Steepster Community,

My name is Ben and I’m a potter living just outside of Woodstock, NY. A friend of mine introduced me to Cha Dao last year and I’ve since found the way of tea to be a powerful and transformative practice. I’ve begun dedicating a lot of time in my pottery studio to the creation of tea bowl forms.

If you have some time to check out my tea bowls, I’ve included the link below. It would also be helpful for me to hear some feedback on what you think of the tea bowls— I’m curious what sizes, shapes, and colors are preferred among the community.

The tea bowls can be found at

I’m thankful to find a community that embraces pottery in such a sacred and intentional way. It would be an honor to work with you and support your tea practice in any way that I can.

Instagram @sugapottery

8 Replies

Hey Ben!

Firstly, welcome to the community!

Your work is STUNNING; I really, really love the glaze choices and style of your pieces. I will say that, personally, when I’m shopping for teaware one of the things I pay the closest attention to is the capacity of the bowl/cup. It’s awesome you have the measurements there, but I think it would be great to see how many ml each bowl/cup can hold as well.

- Ros/Kelly

Thank you, Roswell! I appreciate the encouragement and the advice about adding information to the website concerning the capacity for each bowl size.

I’m curious, when I measure the capacity should I fill the bowl all the way to the lip or does the capacity measure the amount of tea that would normally be served in the bowl (which I would estimate to be around half of the bowl’s maximum capacity).

Thank you for the encouragement. I’ll do some measuring and begin updating the site this week!


I’d say to the maximum capacity :)

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t-curious said

I agree with Roswell Strange. Very nice work but I’d never buy any tea related pottery unless I knew the milliliters first.

Thanks t-curious :) I’ll put that info up asap. I appreciate the reply.

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t-curious said

Forgot to ask. What is the purpose of the “clay guardian?”

I starting making the clay guardians a few years ago after completing my apprenticeship, which was in traditional wheel-throwing in the Karatsu-style Japanese tradition.

I often found myself going to old prehistoric work whenever I needed inspiration. I was particularly inspired by Jomon-period Japanese ceramics and old African forms. Many of the forms were used during important events, performing the task of holding space for whatever ritual or ceremony was happening at the time.

I wanted to see if I could bring some of that magic and mystery into the contemporary spaces that we inhabit. People use them for many different purposes, but I’ve found that they’re most often related to as a reminder that there is an unseen reality, that what we see is just a small part of the what is. I relate to them as being very protective, but each in its own way because of the subtle personalities that they hold.

They are woodfired over the course of many days, reaching temperatures of up to 2400 degrees F. They are not glazed, it is just the flame, ash, and particular properties of the clay body that creates the unique surface qualities.

Thank you for asking. I’ve recently fired a couple of woodkilns and unloaded many of the guardians. There were a few gems. Still, after all these years, opening up the kiln after a long firing is like Christmas. The kiln and fire gives each piece that special something that brings it to life.


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Rasseru said

Oh yeah, very pretty :)

just echoing what everyone else says – just even a rough estimate to the nearest 5ml would be fine, fill it almost up to the top.

generally I choose stuff within 10-20ml.. cups 30-50ml for some tea I would choose, then 70-100 or something for others etc :)

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