Banner: Porcelain Grace, Meryl Ruth, Fine Art

 

  LARA'S THEME, A CERAMIC TEAPOT   


Teapot in the form of a balalaika with peacock surface pattern.

 

  • This stoneware clay teapot is another iteraton of my musical instrument series, which includes Tea Tootaler, Tea-Sharp Harmony, Mel-Oh-Tea-Us, Fit as a Fiddle and Just in Case. This work is the third balalaika form, contrasting considerably from the first two entitled Ballet-Like-A Chai and Balalaika Teacock. This piece is whimsically modified with artistic license to show its metamorphosis to abstraction.
  • The work is entirely hand-built, except for the four tuning pegs, which are slip cast mold, the decal peacock decoraton on the soundbox panels, and the wire strings.Tagboard templates are made to serve for cutting clay slabs to form the body of the work.
  • The teapot's base and body are three-sided (pyramidal) in shape like that of the soundbox of a classic three-string Slavic balalaika. It has a bulbous projection posteriorly made from a series of flat plates.
  • The fingerboard for nesting the frets, usually extending vertically straight up from the peak of the soundbox, is playfully adaped to a free-form shape to become the teapot's handle, providing humorous distortion of the frets. The spout is formed as an extension on the side opposite the handle.
  • The headstock is appended peripherally at the upper extreme of the fingerboard to anchor the strings and place the tuning pegs.
  • The lid is formed of a tuning peg (in slip-cast clay) placed at the extreme upper end of the headstock.
  • A  triangular porcelain (Keraflex) panel is decorated with peacock decal design motif. The panel is affixed to the front surface of the teapot body by score and slip technique.
  • The title, Lara's Theme, is based on the balalika motif from the great 1965 film "Doctor Zhivago."
  • Construction sequence:.
    • The work is fired initially in bisque state to cone 04.
    • Black glaze is applied to the inner teapot for waterproofing to make the work functionally utilitarian.
    • Underglazes are applied: Black to the fingerboard, white to the triangular front, various colored glazes to the areas that will have a faux wooden appearance, and clear glaze to areas what will have lusters applied later.
    • Refired to cone 6.
    • Decals are appended to the front panel and back of the vessel to form the peacock design.
    • Mother of Pearl luster is applied to the front panel; gold luster to the knobs that hold the strings.
    • Final firing done to cone 018.
    • Cold finishes, including acrylic paint, enamel and gold leaf, complete the decorative work.
    • Three wire strings are added.
  • Shown at Center for Maine Contemporary Art Biennial Exhibition, Rockport, ME, 2014
  • Date: 2012.
  • Size: 15.0" x 13.25" x 6.0".
  • Available for purchase. Price: $1000.

 


ENLARGED VIEWS

 

Enlarged view.

 

Enlarged view.

 

Enlarged view.

 

 


CREATIVE PROCESS

 

 

 

Balalaika Teapot, third version    

 

  • Seeking a more fluid and imaginative depiction of the ceramic teapot in balalaika form to fit the poignant love story of its title, I ventured to provide freely flowing and abstractly gestural lines for this third attempt. It turned out to be much more aligned with my original creative concepts.
  • Structural composition begins with a more solid-appearing soundbox for the instrument, which also serves as the teapot's base and body. The base has a flat triangular front face and a bowed back, akin to that of a mandolin. The base and the attached extension of the fingerboard lean sinuously backward and to the side. It curves upward from the top of the base into a looped handle, and continues in a smooth trajectory to terminate in the headstock adorned with clay tuning pegs (made by slip cast mold).
  • The lid, another tuning peg in form, is placed midway between the handle and the headstock.
  • The work is fired in bisque state to cone 04.

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Underglazes added.

 

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Silkscreened peacock image prepared for decorating the front panel of the balalaika.

 

  • Peacock images are made from decals for application to a triangular porcelain clay slab which will be attached to the front panel of the balalaika body.
  • The decals are fused to the porcelain surface by vitrificaltion at high kiln temperatures.
  • Refiring to cone 6 follows.

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Decorated triangular porcelain panel is affixed to the front of the balalaika base.

  • The triangular porcelain plate is embellished with the peacock images by means of decals.
  • The panel is affixed to the flat front section of the balalaika base using the score and slip method.
  • Decorative glazes and lusters, including mother of pearl and gold lusters, are applied to various surface areas.
  • Final firing is done to cone 018.

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Finalized version of Lara's Theme.

 

  • Cold finishes are applied, such as acrylic paints for color enhancement and enamels for touch-up.
  • Gold leaf is applied to the side panels and the edges of the front plate.
  • Three wire strings are attached to complete the work.

 


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