Banner: Porcelain Grace, Meryl Ruth, Fine Art

 

  ALL-STAR TEAPUP, A CERAMIC TEAPOT


 

 

A ceramic teapot in the form of a Chihuahua emerging from a Converse sneaker.
  • This is a hand-built functional ceramic teapot.
  • It is constructed of stoneware clay.
  • It is made in the form of a vintage Converse sneaker from which emerges the sculpted and carved head of a white Chihuahua puppy.
  • The work is all black and white in ooloration with red highlights for the sneaker patch, the collar and the inner face of the dog's ears.
  • it is modeled after such earlier prototypical works as High Tea Top, High Top Tea and Sweet Teaker, with modifications in both structural design and color pattern.
  • The slab-constructed hollow shoe is the main chamber of the teapot body; extruded clay forms the shoelaces and the handles (which are extensions of the laces); the pouring spout is the sculpted and hollowed puppy's snout; the lid, in the shape of a buckle, is located behind the dog's neck as part of its collar. Aglets are mode of extruded clay.
  • Round side emblem is press mold.
  • Black star-shaped decals are applied to handle and laces where they are vitrified in place by high kiln temperature firing.
  • The front of the sneaker has a faux rubber component of carved clay.
  • Construction sequence:
    • Initially fired to cone 04.
    • Hand-painted with underglazes; clear glaze applied to some areas.
    • Refired to cone 5.
    • Star decals applied.
    • Fired again to cone 010.
    • Lusters applied.
    • Fired yet again to cone 018.
    • Metal lusters applied to aglets and buckle hardware.
    • Cubic zirconium added to dog collar.
  • Created on consignment for the Mobilia Gallery; exhibited at The Teapot Redefined Premiere, Invitational Exhibition, Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge, MA, 2012.
  • Date: 2012.
  • Size:  9.0" x 3.5" x 10.0".
  • Sold.

 

 


ENLARGED VIEWS

 

Enlarged view

 

Enlarged view

 

Enlarged view

 

Enlarged view

 

 


CREATIVE PROCESS

 

Early phase of construction.

   

  • Earliest phase of construction showing formation of the ceramic Converse sneaker by using flat slabs of clay, cut to pre-designed template patterns and altered, and then joined by score and slip method to build the form.
  • The teapot body is constituted of the main section of the shoe.
  • Grommets cut from extruded clay and attached in place to accommodate the "laces" that will be made from extruded clay strips.

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Chihuahua puppy head, collar, laces and handles added.

 

  • Construction continued with addition of a sculpted and hollowed Chihuahua puppy's head (to become the pouring spout), dog collar (to hold the lid at the rear), and laces and handle in extruded clay.  
  • A newly-designed circular Converse patch and additonal vent grommets are appended as well.

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Construction phase is complete with carved and incised details.

 

  • The construction phase concludes by refining the Chihuahua's head with carved details; by adding clay to the front of the sneaker; and by etching details into the latter.
  • At the same time, rubber mold is being made of the sneaker on an experimental basis. It takes considerable time to dry. If it is successful for use to cast the sneaker body, it can be expected to open exciting avenues for pursuing in future ceramic wworks.

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Coloration is applied by glazes.

  • When the construction phase is completed, the teapot is allowed to dry very slowly until it is ready in bisque state for safe kiln firing to cone 04, all prior to undertaking coloration with underglazes.

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The work is allowed to dry prior to its first kiln firing; then glazes are applied.

  • After the work has undergone its first successful bisque firing to cone 04, decorative underglazing is done, as shown here.
  • The subsequent refiring to 5/6 unexpectedly yielded disappointing coloration results. Typically, underglazing is done in the bisque state, never after a high-temperature firing. Nonetheless, my experiments demonstrated that it was quite feasible to use underglazes effectively after firing to high temperatures.

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Further coloration details added.

 

  • The piece is refired to cone 05 and is further decorated with additional underglazes.
  • Decals designed in the shape of stars are made and will be applied to the handles and laces.

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Star decals applied, shown before firing.

  • Black star-shaped ceramic decals are designed, made and applied to the white areas of the handle and the laces. Doing so required some experimentation to determine if this type of decal can be applied to fired ceramic matte surfaces. (Decals are applied to surfaces treated with glossy glazes.)  The process proved successful.
  • The work will be fired at high kiln temperature at cone 05 to vitrify the decals, thereby fusing them to the ceramic surface.
  • Multiple firings are done after lusters are applied.
  • The work is completed by placing decorative round Cubic zirconium onto the dog's collar.

 

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