Banner: Porcelain Grace, Meryl Ruth, Fine Art

 

  BAD ASS TEABAG, A CERAMIC TEAPOT

 


Bad Ass Teabag, a ceramic artwork.
  • This work is the second on the theme of the motorcycle culture, after Hot Motorcycle Mama's Tea. It represents a teapot in the form of a leather backpack with Harley-Davidson decorative elements. The work is made entirely of stoneware clay using mostly slab construction.
  • Tagboard templates are made in the shape of an over-the-shoulder backpack. Slab construction is used to make the front, side and bottom body pieces. Press mold involves using plaster molds made from a small leather biker's jacket. The work is entirely hand-built, with press mold body and back straps; wheel thrown and altered spout; extruded cording; carved belt, buckles, buttons and zippers; and incised lettering and Harley-Davidson emblem on the back side. the scarf is formed from very thin slabs of clay. To avoid distortion of the spout by the torque likely to occur during firing, it is severely angled (to five o'clock) for compensation.
  • All elements are fused permanently together by the score and slip method.
  • When the initial construction phase is completed, the work is allowed to air dry thoroughly to its greenware state, in which condition it is ready for its first firing at cone 04.
  • After drying and successful firing, the work is decorated as follows: Glossy cone 5/6 glaze covers the inner chamber for waterproofing; this makes the teapot functional. Black underglaze is applied to the external surfaces and wiped off to enhance the surface texture. White underglaze is painted on the kerchief and the spout. Gold cone 5/6 glaze is applied to the backpack's sides and bottom, cording, buckles and grommets.
  • Refiring is done to cone 5/6.
  • Decals with skull and crossbone design are applied to the gold areas, including sides, inner straps, kerchief and bottom ot the teapot.
  • The work is fired again to cone 016. A  kiln accident destroyed the work during the firing. It is likely that the cause was my having used a Dremel drill to carve an imperfection on the spout too early, instead of waiting until all firing had been completed. This is something I had not done previously, and will not do again, needless to say.
  • All steps are redone from the beginning. China paints are then airbrushed onto the teapot surfaces. Multiple firings to cone 017 are repeated after each layer of China paint has been completed.
  • Gold luster is painted onto all hardware elements (buckles and grommets).
  • A  final firing to cone 018 finalizes the work.
  • Construction details:   
    • After thorough drying to the leather-hard state, the initial kiln firing is done to cone 04.
    • A glossy cone 5/6 glaze is applied to the inner chamber. This renders the surface nonporous and waterproof, thus making the teapot functional.
    • The outer surfaces are painted in black underglaze, and the underglaze is wiped off to enhance the surface texture.
    • The "kerchief" and the spout are colored in a white underglaze.
    • Gold cone 5/6 glaze is applied to the sides and the bottom of the backpack/teapot as well as the "cording," buckles and grommets.
    • The art work is now refired to cone 5/6 to vitrify the glazes. A serious kiln accident reduced the piece to shards. This necessitated undertaking the project all over again from the beginning.
    • For the second interation, all steps are redone using a fresh batch of stoneware clay, with minor modifications of structure and color.
    • Decorative decals are applied to all gold areas.
    • China paint layers are airbrushed to surfaces to enhance coloration.
    • Multiple firings to cone 017 follow each China paint layer.
    • Gold luster is applied to hardware elements.
    • The work is fired once more to cone 018 to finalize it.
  • Date: 2018.
  • Size: 13.0" x 11.0"  x 10.0".
  • Available for purchase. Price: $900.
 


ENLARGED VIEWS

 

Enlarged view.

 

Enlarged view.

 

Enlarged view.

 

 

 


CREATIVE PROCESS

 

 

   

 

Construction phase.

 

  • A hand-built stoneware teapot is made in the form of a motorcyclist's leather backpack fashioned after a leather jacket.
  • Various techniques are used to construct each element of the teapot plus the several decorative clay components that make up the faux-leather aspects of the jacket design of the backpack.
  • When completed, all parts are joined together permanently by the score and slip method.
  • The work is then allowed to dry thoroughly to its leather-hard state in preparation for its first kiln firing.

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 Construction phase completed.   

 

  • The teapot has been successfully fired for the first time to cone 04.
  • Glossy cone 4/5 glaze is applied to the interior chamber to make it waterproof and functional as a teapot.
  • Black underglaze is painted on the outer surfaces and wiped off. This enhances the interstices to emphasize the surface texture.
  • White underglaze is applied to the "kerchief" and the spout.
  • Gold cone 5/6 glaze is painted on the side and bottom panels of the teapot as well as the cording, buckles and grommets.
  • Refiring is done to cone 5/6.

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A kiln accident destroys the piece, which must now be reconstructed from the beginning again.

 

  • The refiring process sadly destroyed the work in progress by reducing it to shards, as shown here. This destructive incident came as a surprise, unexpected and devastating.
  • It represented a huge waste of time and effort, albeit a recognized hazard of creating ceramic works.
  • Further, it meant that it would be necessary to restart construction from the beginning, duplicating all the aforementioned steps.
  • Differences from the original work can be expected to occur given the one-of-a-kind aspect of this work of art.

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Final image of Bad Ass Teabag, completed.

 

 

  • The second iteration followed all the steps described above, with minor modifications in structure and coloration.
  • Layers of China paint are airbrushed to enhance surface coloration. Multiple firings to cone 017 were done after each layer of China paint.
  • Gold luster was painted onto the hardware elements, namely, buckles and grommets.
  • A final firing to cone 018 completes the art work.

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