Bird Of Paradise Reassembled Ring Teapot
18" tall x 16" wide x 7 " deep, cone 5 oxidation firingPhoto by Jon Barber
This teapot was named by the brother of my webmaster computer genius friend one day when he was visiting the studio. I think he was referring to the dramatically colorful and beautiful flower of that name, but he may also have been thinking of the flamboyant South American bird also named “Bird of Paradise.”. Either way, it works for me. With this teapot ring, as with “Elephant Clouds,” I was experimenting with making a large wide ring. I had to throw it in two parts. First I made a wide flat open ring on the potter’s wheel with an inner wall and an outer wall. In cross-section it looked like a wide “U.” Next I made a second flat ring with the same inner and outer diameters as the first ring. When they were both dried to leather-hard, I attached the flat ring with clay slip and pressure to the top edges of the inner and outer vertical walls of the first ring, thus making a wide rectangular cross-section hollow ring. I cut the ring into three sections, closed up the zigzag cut –open ends of the arc sections with flat clay slabs, then assembled the sections into a vertical V- composition and mounted it on an oval base. I built the spout out of flat clay slabs, added the pulled handle, and cut the lid opening out of the top left part of the teapot body. I decided that this teapot was already visually complex, and decided not to add a lid finial.
I glazed this teapot with a first coat of our glossy pale green glaze, followed by a second coat of our glossy pink. Where the green is thick, it burns through the pink, but where the pink is thick it holds its color or mixes into a purplish fuchsia blend. This glaze combination is unpredictable but almost always interesting. I also used it on my “Pink Pentagonal Cross-Section Teapot,” which was featured on the cover of the March 2002 Ceramics Monthly magazine. A full-page photo of this “Bird Of Paradise Reassembled Ring Teapot” is printed on page 120 of author Steve Woodhead’s Teapot Book, published in 2005 by A&C Black Publishers, London, and the University of Pennsylvania Press.
This teapot is held in a private collection in New York, New York.