Secretly pleased that I went through the theory portion of pottery and ceramics. Struggled to understand it for like...two years. Finally getting somewhere in applying the knowledge to items I look at with intent to purchase. The instructor was simply amused that I refused to try out items on the wheel. He asked, "Are you worried it would turn out ugly?"
Naaah. I just don't have a feel for making things with my hands. Free form is the worst. I get bored in about 5 minutes, and end up with lumps. By that time, I'm completely uninterested in the end product. However, I need to understand the science between clay, ceramics, and how glazing and firing changes the properties of clay, and from thereon, experiment and infer how a brew of tea might taste in a bowl made from a particular type of clay, and in a specific shape.
With that sort of basic theory absorbed, at least I know what I'm looking for when picking up a pretty bowl. It isn't just a bowl. While it will be useful, there's also an artistic value pegged with every creation. Came across tons of them, and would be seeing and touching more. That's the thing about tea wares. I can't and won't buy any till I touch them. It's about how an item would feel in the hands. Especially important since I need to justify why I ought to bother carrying them home in either the suitcase, or the hand-carry tote.