Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Teaware Again: The "Question-mark" Shiboridashi & Teacups by Petr Novak

Visiting's shop in downtown Bratislava the day before yesterday, I couldn't resist to buy something when I'd seen the newly unladen pieces of teaware - among these were also some works by Petr Novák and other Czech potters. Specifically, two different Shiboridashis caught my attention and I immediately knew that one of these has to be mine (even though I don't necessarily need it - but well, buying things we do not need is what makes us strangely happy, after all). After hours of thinking, comparing two equally beautiful pieces and drinking some great fresh teas brewed by Teatrade's owners, I've finally decided for this one, as it seemed much more well-suited for Japanese green tea than its competitor.

The reason why I nicknamed this 80ml beauty the "Question-mark" shiboridashi becomes obvious when the lid is closely observed - there are two noticeable unglazed parts on it, forming a shape of "?" together, at least in my eyes. Other than that, the glaze is quite shiny both on the outside and inside walls, giving the pot somehow more sophisticated and different impression compared to my older Petr Novak shiboridashi, which is significantly more rustic both on touch and look. Even so, this new piece still has the very natural charm, encouraging one to go outside and enjoy some fresh tea under the green trees, which I've experienced with this pot's older sibling.

The tea it brews also appears to be more subtle and, especially, clear - I credit this to its thinner walls and fitting lid and spout, which leaves just a very narrow cleft to pour the tea. Even so, the flow is very fluent and fast - a proof of skilled craftsmanship.

It comes with two small cups, which are, in many ways, in contrast with the shiboridashi - unglazed on the outside, quite rough and both different from each other at a glance, they seem very rustic, natural and traditional. Yet, they fit the shiboridashi very well and enhance the drinking experience even more, seemingly like a single, harmonic set. Personally, I'm especially looking forward to using them for Gyokuro, Kabusecha and, generally, "sweeter" green teas, as they posses the feeling of having the ability to make such teas even better.

Their inside is just as interesting and diversified as the outside; while the top, slightly smaller cup has quite a simple, modest whitish glaze with only a small spot of different color on its bottom, the second cup seems much more patterned and brindle, reminding me of inside walls of some empty sea shells.

As the newest members of my teaware family, the Question-mark shiboridashi and its two teacups have already proven themselves as a perfect brewing and drinking devices and a joy to look at. The opportunity to choose from two different shibos every time I drink suitable tea is also a big advantage - similarly to tea, certain teaware just fits certain weather, season and mood better than others.


  1. Hi Michal,

    I am glad that you find this shibo and that you enjoy it. It is one of the older pieces (maybe you will find the year on the bottom of it) but I remember it very well. It is unglazed outside - all colors as well as shiny places are only clay with fire and ash deposits. It was fired on very exposed place -on the edge of firebox. The "question mark" on the lid then was "created" just as a shadow - to made this I have leave there small pieces of fire-clay. Those cups have the same glaze inside. Only different thickness and different place in the kiln created the different look. Actually it is real glaze glaz. It is only ash from the hay.

    Thank you for your support and enjoy your day

  2. Hi Petr,

    thank you for the interesting and detailed description - it makes these pieces even more impressive and valued in my eyes. I think this shows the amazing power of natural fire very accurately - it seems almost unbelievable how many different color effects and patterns is is capable of creating.

    Once again, thank you for producing such an amazing pottery and have a nice weekend!