Red Clipper Reassembled Ring Teapot
16” tall by 17” wide by 7” deepPhoto by Jon Barber
Red Clipper Reassembled Ring Teapot
16” tall by 17” wide by 7” deep
Cone 5 oxidation-fired stoneware
This teapot is held in a private collection in Aspen, CO.
In the various disciplines of science, a “meta-study” is a research project extracting pertinent information from a selection of many, often hundreds or even thousands, of previously completed scientific studies which touch on the same subject matter the researcher is exploring in his or her meta-study project.
In the same vein, I often revisit earlier reassembled ring teapots for inspiration while working on a current teapot. There are so many references to my earlier teapots in Red Clipper Reassembled Ring Teapot, that I am tempted to call it a meta-teapot!
The title “Red Clipper” was suggested to me by my ceramic art colleague Chris Warren, who said the reassembled ring composition reminded him of the wind-filled sails of one of those old clipper ships which plied the high seas before the advent of internal combustion engines.
I started by throwing on the potter’s wheel an outward-curving triangular cross-section ring similar to but a little narrower and taller than the ring I made for my Lemon Yellow Triangular Cross-Section Reassembled Ring Teapot. I cut the leather-hard ring into three roughly equal arc sections with upward-sweeping x-acto knife cuts, and joined the 3 sections together like a fan at their rounded ends to the ovoid base, with each arc section curving leftward. This assembly was inspired by Blue Billowing Spinnaker Reassembled Ring Teapot, which also has a boat sail reference in its title, although to a much smaller lake or bay sailing vessel. Additionally, I was drawing inspiration for this assembly and fan-like upright orientation from another aquatic-inspired teapot, Purple Foamy Whitecaps Reassembled Ring Teapot, and finally from Pink-Green Oval Cross-Section Reassembled Ring Teapot.
I built the Red Clipper Teapot spout from slabs, referring back to the spout of Bird Of Paradise Reassembled Ring Teapot. In fact, while I was working on making and attaching the Red Clipper spout, I got out Steve Woodhead’s 2005 hardback Teapots book, which features a full-page photo of my Bird Of Paradise Teapot on page 120. I studied the Bird Of Paradise Teapot spout profile for inspiration. I have also used this slab-built spout technique in Sparks Fly Up Reassembled Ring Teapot, Elephant Clouds Reassembled Ring Teapot, and Coral Reef Reassembled Ring Teapot.
I placed the handle to the lower left inside the curved arc, as I had done with the Elephant Clouds Teapot, as well as with the Blue Billowing Spinnaker Teapot.
The final decision I make to complete a reassembled ring teapot is to design and attach the lid finial. I try and add a new sculptural statement, while simultaneously echoing and supporting the sculptural unity of the reassembled ring-handle-spout assembly. First I decide on the lid placement, and cut out a “trapdoor” opening for the lid. Then I sketch possible sculptural solutions for the finial by making trial finial pieces out of clay, often three or more “candidates”. Sometimes the finial is a new and different statement, which enhances the completed teapot’s presence, but in this case I re-stated the three leftward-curving arc sections of the ring reassembly. This choice echoes the sculptural finial on Purple Foamy Whitecaps Reassembled Ring Teapot. While attaching the lid finial to the trapdoor lid, I added two forward-pointing “prongs,” which seemed to echo the sculpted figurehead projecting from the bow of a clipper ship of old–often a mermaid or classically sculpted woman.
I first glazed the completed Red Clipper Reassembled Ring Teapot with our coral glaze, but without first putting on our opaque glossy white glaze, as I had done with Coral Reef Reassembled Ring Teapot. The coral glaze on the brown-tinged clay without the opaque glossy white under it yields a darker red than coral over glossy white, a variation I was aiming for with this teapot. However, I wanted to call attention to all the prominent crisp edges of this sculptural composition, so I used a sharp knife to scrape off the coral glaze from all the edges. I then paint-brushed the opaque glossy white glaze onto all the scraped-off edges. I had used this same edge-enhancing technique with my Midnight Blue Intersecting Arcs Reassembled Ring Teapot. The Red Clipper Reassembled Ring Teapot came through its first glaze firing very much as I had hoped, and I am very proud of this completed sculptural statement!