Thea Patterson’s Yunomi Grabs Troy Bungart’s Attention with Story and Design

By Troy Bungart

Browsing for yunomi, I find myself falling in love with the image of the cup, its decoration and/or its story, long before I get to hold it. As a tactile person who thinks and senses in 3-D, I’m much more suited to a sidewalk art fair than the internet.

Rabbit Yunomi by Thea Patterson (Troy Bungart Collection)

I always know a fellow potter at an art sale because he or she picks up a piece in a certain way– testing the weight and the wall evenness, and then turning it over to check the foot. Next comes the critical twist and turn maneuver, so as to judge the wrap around design or glaze effect. The eye then travels over the body of work to judge consistency of quality; a knowledgeable process used when trying to find the one piece that stands above the rest. And there always seems to be a silent little assessment in the back of the assessor’s mind (I can see the wheels turning), asking “is this work better than mine, less than mine, different than mine, similar to mine?”

On the internet, however, cup sales are no longer about tactile assessment – or even “perfection” as a potter (whatever that is) – as much as conveying a story about the piece through image and back story. In effect, after we potters make our wares, we have to lay down rabbit trails and try to get someone to chase our work through the burrows and tunnels of cyberspace.

Rabbit Yunomi by Thea Patterson (Troy Bungart Collection)

Recently, I was browsing Etsy for yunomi when a photo of Thea Patterson‘s work arrested me. Her cups appear well done and her design work is appealing.

Now in my hands, the cup purchased from Fleurdelysarts is indeed a well-thrown functional form. It’s decorated with a black underglaze slip removed in a scraffito method and reminds me of a primitive wood block carving. A glossy, slight crazed clear glaze finishes the surface.

So, I like her style, but it was her subject; an excellent rabbit design, that really tickled my sense of humor.

Looking at the cup brings back memories of raising rabbits. I raised them as a kid, later on with my wife, and then again with my kids. My favorite rabbit was one that I let run free-range.  (We have a dog now, who believes rabbits are no longer allowed.)

I’ve often used rabbits as a decorative element in the past and have painted a lot of them. Rabbits are a great subject that can have wonderful lyrical lines that take you around the pot and back again.

I bought this cup because he rabbits grabbed my attention and I did not want to let them out of my sight. Unlike some other cups which have haunted me (and then force me to figure out why I like them), the appeal of this cup was obvious — good story and design elements.

I imagine these rabbits greeting each other or doing a victory dance because they outsmarted the dog. I’m very pleased with the purchase, which was shipped quickly and well packaged.

Sitting here; holding the cup and thinking about the way I found it, makes me realize that when hunting for treasures on etsy, it’s fun to chase rabbits, but one must be mindful to capture them when found before they disappear on into someone else’s collection!

–  Troy Bungart (Burlchaser on Etsy)

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