Dancing On The Choppy Waters Of Lake Champlain Reassembled Ring Teapot
21" tall x 8" wide x 9" deepPhoto by Ray Bub
In February 2010 I was contacted by Kory Rogers, exhibitions curator at the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont. He invited me to participate in a May 16 to October 24 feature exhibit of ceramic art titled “All Fired Up—Six Ceramic Artists From Vermont.” The installation of my display in this exhibition consists of eighteen reassembled and upright ring teapots, as well as myRough Rusty Pillow Torn Open Teapot and my Lace-Pattern Oval Slab-Built Teapot. During this same period I was invited to participate in the Bennington Museum’s 50-year survey exhibition of craft-media artwork in Vermont, titled “State Of Craft,” from May 22 to October 30, 2010. The curators of State Of Craft chose for to exhibit my Midnight Blue Intersecting Arcs Reassembled Ring Teapot. More information about these exhibitions can be found in the Competitions/Exhibitions section of raybub.com.
This welcome attention for my ceramic art inspired me to begin work on Red Clipper Reassembled Ring Teapot, and I completed it in time to include it in the Shelburne Museum exhibition. During a walk around the extensive grounds of the Museum, which is located just south of Burlington, Vermont, I looked west and saw the dark waters of Lake Champlain. This Lake is large and deep, and has sometimes been called “the sixth Great Lake.” There have been several reports over the years, none proven by hard evidence, of sightings in the Lake of a Loch Ness-type sea monster, nicknamed “Champ” in the popular press. I began thinking about how I might compose a reassembled ring teapot inspired by Lake Champlain. It would have to be presented in a horizontal format, similar to Orange Five-Pointed Star Reassembled Ring Teapot, and display wave-crest points and edges as well as wave-trough curves. I threw a 5-pointed star cross-section ring on the potter’s wheel, and using my trusty x-acto knife cut it into five curvy-pointy-ended arc sections of varying lengths. I also threw a wide bowl, cut a chord out of its center, and joined the two crescent half-sections together for the inverted oval base. I joined the ring arc sections in my planned horizontal format, with all of the sections curving upwards except for the central section which curves downwards, and mounted it on the oval base with two separate joins and a look-through showing between. I added the pulled handle on the left of the composition, and slab-built an ornate “Champ-Monster” teapot spout, which I mounted on the right-most arc section. I cut the trap-door teapot lid in the top of the center section, and built an abstract lid finial out of three layers of curved-edge slabs, trying to echo the curves and dips of the handle, teapot body, and ornate spout. It wasn’t until later that I saw that the finial slab composition can be interpreted as a dancing figure with a crescent moon on its chest, its arms extended in upward and downward curves, and its right foot raised and pointed toward the spout. What a nice surprise!
I glazed the completed teapot with a first layer of our opaque glossy white glaze, then added successive sometimes-overlapping poured layers of our pale blue and teal blue glazes. I completed the glazing process by brushing our dark hemlock green glaze onto parts of the teapot surface in a random pattern. The teapot came through the glaze firing with a distinct dark watery feeling, with the opaque white glaze bubbling in places through the dark blue-teal-green surface. It is very evocative of the dark choppy waters of Lake Champlain, and I am very pleased with the completed presence of this teapot.
This teapot is held in a private collection in Asheville, North Carolina.