Banner: Porcelain Grace, Meryl Ruth, Fine Art

 

 

  DRINK TEA AND BE MERRY, A CERAMIC TEAPOT


 

Drink Tea and Be Merry is a portrait commissioned ceramic teapot combining a Dachshund with a Western style tooled leather handbag.

  • This ceramic work is commissioned as a portrait of the buyer's Dachshund, named Merry. The title of piece is intended to celebrate the dog's name. Made of stoneware clay, the teabag combines the features of a Western-styled tooled-leather purse with those of the dog.
  • It is fashioned after a prior prototype, Hot Dig-it-tea Dog, but with a number of changes. Principal among these modifications are alterations made to the face as a portrait of the buyer's pet. The tooled-leather tail, which is the teapot's spout, is reshaped; it is now longer and more tapered, and thus more graceful and fluid in design. The legs and paws are placed in a more forward position with the toes more splayed out. A  more characteristic milkbone configuration is used to form the lid on the dog's back.
  • The work is a combination of hand-built slab construction for the body of the teapot, detailed sculpting for the head, tail and paws, and press mold to impart the faux tooling of the purse and the tail.
  • Construction sequence:
    • Initially fired to cone 04 in greenware state.
    • Clear cone 5 glaze is applied to the eyes and the snout. This is done so they will appear "wet" later.
    • Black cone 5 glaze is poured into the interior teapot chamber, swirled around to cover all inner surfaces, and the residual glaze poured out. This provides a nonporous waterproof chamber to make the teapot functional.
    • Black glaze is also applied to all exterior teapot surfaces, and then rubbed off quickly with a sponge. This is done to enhance the pattern of tooled crevices. Colored glazes matching Merry's dark auburn coat are then carefully applied using a dry-brush technique.
    • The work is refired to cone 5.
    • Opalescent overglaze, lusters and China paints are added.
    • Multiple firings follow each coloration layer at a temperature of cone 018.
    • Cold finishes include cubic zirconium crystals added to the collar and crushed turquoise to the buckle clasp to give it the appearance of inlay.
  • Year: 2016.
  • Size: 16.0" x 9.5" x 4.5".
  • A  commissioned work.
  • Sold to a Nevada collector.

 

 


ENLARGED VIEWS

\Enlarged view.

 

Enlarged view.

 

 


CREATIVE PROCESS

 

 

Photograph of Dachshund is basis for this commissioned teabag.

 

 

  • The commission involved creating a modification of a prior work, Hot Dig-it-tea Dog, as a portrait of the buyer's auburn short-haired Dachshund, Merry, shown in this photograph with Pippin, her black-and-tan companion Dachshund.

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Early construction phase of a Dachshund fashioned as a component of a Western style leather handbag.

 

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    Construction proceeds with details of the dog's face and paws added.

 

  • The legs and paws are sculpted and permanently added in place by score and slip technique.
  • The milkbone lid is shaped by carving and fitted into the opening made for it on the dog's back.
  • Much detailwork is done to ensure the head and paws properly portray a portrait of the buyer's dog.

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Construction phase is complete.

 

  • An elongated tail is sculpted. Faux tooling is imparted on the surfaces of the purse and the tail by press mold. The tail serves double duty as the teapot's spout.
  • Permanently affixing the tail is done with score and slip method to complete the construction phase.
  • The teapot is now allowed to air-dry thoroughly to its greenware state before its first kiln firing.

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Work shown after successful first kiln firing.

 

  • After the work has been throughly dried to its greenware state, it is successfully fired in an electronic kiln to cone 04.
  • Clear black cone 5 glaze is applied to the eyes and the snout. This will impart a "wet" look later after firing.
  • Black glossy glaze is poured into the interior chamber surface, swirled about to cover the entire inner surface, and then the excess is poured out. When refired, this glaze will be vitrified to create a nonporous, watertight inner surface, and thus make the teapot functional.
  • Black glaze is also applied to the outer surfaces; the excess is quickly rubbed off with a sponge. This process is used to reveal the rich texture of the press mold interstices that make up the faux Western tooled handbag and dog's tail. It similarly enhances the other detailed incised aspects of the dog, including its face, ears, legs and paws, all of which were created by sculpting and carving the clay.

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Coloration is begun with dry-brush technique to avoid disturbing the black tooling and incising underglaze.

 

  • Coloration continues with the addition of various brown and brown-red shades of glazes to the entire surface of the work.
  • A dry-brush technique is used to prevent spillage into the crevices which had previously been filled with black underglaze to enhance the tooling and incising patterns.
  • The dry-brush approach also gives a scratchy texture to the surface, making it appear somewhat fur-like.
  • At this stage, the colored glazes are not as vibrant as they will become after the next firing to cone 5 is completed.

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Coloration is nearing completion by glazing and kiln firings.

 

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Completed work.

 

  • Cold finishes include adding cubic zirconium crystals to the collar and crushed turquoise to both the buckle clasp and the milk-bone lid, thus completing the work.

 

 


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