“It Is Still (And Yet It Moves)” Reassembled Ring Teapot
11" tall x 21" wide x 12" deepPhoto by Jon Barber
This Teapot is For Sale
I had an idea that I wanted to make a teapot covered with tendrils or spines, and when it was fired the reassembled ring would be held off the ground and sit on these spines. I knew I had to make this teapot on a clay rack strong enough to support the reassembled ring and tall enough to hold the reassembled ring up in the air so the spines could hang down in the air and not be crushed or broken while the teapot dried and during the biscuit and glaze firings. I made a round cross-section ring and scored segments into it like a caterpillar body, then cut it into 7 sections and reassembled the ring onto the rack, which had a wide clay slab base and 5 pier supports of varying heights holding up the teapot assembly. I cut out the lid, added the segmented spout and the pulled handle, never once moving the ring assembly off the clay support rack. I then started from the handle end and started adding the spines. If you look closely you will see that the spines around the handle are pointy, but I soon decided to make them taper to square ends, so I could twist and curl them into more expressive shapes. It took me parts of six days just to put on the spines, and there are probably about 300 spines on this teapot! I made sure that none of the spines touched the upright support posts or the surface of the clay slab rack. I decided to give this teapot a prickly demeanor, inviting the viewer to pick it up by the handle, but filling the space inside the handle with sharp spines so that it is almost impossible to actually pick up—kind of the rose-and-thorns approach.
After a long drying process, I slid the teapot on the rack onto a kiln shelf and very carefully lowered the teapot into the kiln. When I put the teapot into the kiln, I saw that there was only about 1” clearance inside our 23” diameter electric kiln. After bisque firing, I removed the spiny teapot from the rack and completely coated the rack with hot wax, so that when I poured glaze all over the teapot the glaze would not soak into the rack. I first poured Opaque Glossy White onto the teapot, then let it dry overnight. I very carefully lifted the teapot off the rack, turned it upside down onto a folded towel, and handpainted the areas that were missed in the pouring process. I then carefully put the teapot back on the rack and poured our Violet Purple glaze all over the teapot. After another day of drying I again inverted the teapot onto a towel and painted the missed areas with the second purple glaze coat. The glaze firing that held this teapot and the Rainbow Of Trout Upright Ring Teapot was a tense one for me, as there was so much work inside the kiln and so many ways that things could go wrong. Both teapots came out super, however, and I am very proud of my artistic accomplishment.
Many people have told me that this teapot looks like it is almost moving, so I chose the name “It Is Still (And Yet It Moves,)” after the phrase that Galileo is said to have muttered under his breath in 1633 when the Inquisitor, threatening him with torture and imprisonment, made him recant his Copernican hypothesis that the earth revolves around the sun.