The Teapot Family Relaxes At Home

11" tall X 24" wide X 15" deep, cone 5 oxidation firing (2006)

Photo by Jon Barber

This grouping of teapots was made over a period of 6 months. I started with the idea that I wanted to make a composition of three reassembled ring teapots that hopped over and snaked under each other in some kind of interlocking way. I knew that I would have to photograph the group, so I had to make the composition both complex and yet decipherable. I wanted the teapots to be similar, but able to be distinguished from each other, so that at first what would look like a haze of color and shapes would by careful and persistent viewing be able to be visually untangled. I knew before I started that I was going to use yellow, pink (a pastel of red,) and orange (the mixture of red and yellow) glazes. I also planned that I would make one teapot from a skinny round cross-section ring, one from a triangular, and one from a square cross-section ring. I didn’t know exactly how I was going to put this all together, however. First I made the yellow teapot with the round-cross-section ring. Then I made the pink teapot with the triangular cross-section ring, and I constructed it so that it jumped over the right end of the yellow teapot but the viewer could still see the handle, lid, and spout of each teapot from the point of view I was planning to have the photo taken. The third square cross-section ring was assembled in a lower profile so no part of it would block the handles, lids, and spouts of the first two teapots. I chose to put the same forward-leaning stem finial, spout, and handle style on each teapot so that they would look related, like members of the same family. As I completed assembling the second and third teapots in wet clay, they seemed too big and didn’t fit in with the size of the already fired teapot or teapots. By some miracle, they fit together perfectly after they were all fired, and there were no glaze firing flaws to distract from the composition. It was a long process, stretched over six months, but my original plan came out even better than I had hoped when I first dreamed it up! I called the originally–conceived arrangement “The Teapot Family Relaxes At Home,” because the grouping seemed like dogs or cats sitting or laying together on the living room floor in a relaxed manner.
I was able to rearrange the three teapots into a second composition that seems more alert and on the lookout, like dogs who perk up when they hear a stranger at the door, and I called this grouping “The Teapot Family On Guard.”
This teapot sculpture is held in a private collection in Aspen, Colorado.

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