Purple Dolphins Diving Reassembled Ring Teapot

12" tall x 16" wide x 11" deep, cone 5 oxidation firing

Photo by Jon Barber

Three of my recent reassembled hollow ring teapots, including this one, have started with similar pointed-end oval cross-section rings. The other two are “Aztec Headdress” and “Blue Billowing Spinnaker.” I am encouraged by the fact that I am able to make widely differing reassembled ring compositions from the same ring cross-section starting point.
For this teapot I cut the hollow ring into four sections, using an x-acto knife to cut across the ring walls in a wavy pattern. When I assembled the composition, I started by putting together the first three arc sections you see on the left of the picture. You can’t see the third arc section because it is hidden behind the left forward leg. I had planned to add the fourth and longest arc section in an upward-arching curve like the letter “C” to the right of the assembly of the first three sections, but it was not a pleasing composition. When I flipped the long arc section over and oriented it like a rainbow, it completed the teapot assembly in a very pleasing resolution of the sculptural challenge I had set for myself. I realize now that this teapot reminds me of many of Alexander Calder’s large outdoor sculptures. I have always admired Calder’s work, and feel like I would want to walk around and under the arch of this teapot if it were reproduced on a monumental scale, or if I were shrunk to the size of a small bird (not a pigeon!)
This reassembled hollow ring teapot assembly was very fragile before it was fired,, and I had three separate removable props supporting the teapot in the bisque and glaze firings. When I showed the finished teapot to my brother, who is an oceanographer, he commented that it looked like whales or dolphins diving in the sea. I thought that this was an interesting and insightful reaction to my abstract sculptural composition, so I named the piece “Purple Dolphins Diving Reassembled Hollow Ring Teapot.”
By the way, some of my teapots photograph more successfully than others. In the case of this “Purple Dolphins Diving Teapot,” there was not one single point of view that showed all the sculptural elements of the composition. You really have to look at this teapot from different viewing angles to appreciate the piece as a whole.

This teapot was dropped off of an airplane, broken, and is not available for sale.


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