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Jonathan Steele Studio

Meet the maker, Jonathan Steele, the ceramist of Jonathan Steele Studio in Tacoma, WA. Jonathan’s exploration and appreciation for Gongfu, the ancient Chinese ceremony of serving and drinking tea or literally “making tea with skill,” shows in the simple and functional beauty of his ceramic gaiwan bowls, saucers, cups, decanters and teapots.  
Jonathan Steele Studio

Physics is Jonathan’s educational background, but artisanal pottery took hold of him in 2009, ultimately earning him an MFA in Craft from Oregon College of Art and Craft. He spent a year as Resident Artist at Pleasant Hill Pottery and currently holds an adjunct teaching position at University of Puget Sound. When he isn’t teaching he’s in the studio focused primarily on the art and tradition of tea service.

Jonathan creates gaiwan bowls that are specifically used for the infusion of tea leaves and the consumption of tea. A gaiwan bowl consists of a lidded bowl (without a handle) and a saucer. The gaiwan bowls below are sold in a set with two tea cups and a decanter (also known as a fairness cup to make sure everyone gets a fair or equal tea serving).

“I think the teapot and its supporting cast of wares is a wonderful combination of precision design and aesthetic nuance”, says Jonathan. “Each asks for equal and unwavering dedication to be developed and expressed well.”  Jonathan finds joy in the dichotomy of sharing tea from formal to informal and celebratory to meditative.

Jonathan is not only inspired by enriched Asian traditions, but also by the desert landscape of Eastern Oregon and the communities that assemble around the wood kilns throughout the Pacific Northwest. He strives to work in a sustainable way that offers more people the quiet enjoyment of his elegant ceramic forms. Browse through Jonathan Steele Studio below, if you are looking to infuse your tea experience with history, functionality and beauty.


Welcome to Jonathan Steele Studio!

According to legend, in 2737 BC, the Chinese emperor Shen Nung was sitting beneath a tree, while his servant boiled drinking water, when some leaves from the tree blew into the water. The tree was a Camellia sinensis, and the resulting drink was what we now call tea.” - History of Tea

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