Banner: Porcelain Grace, Meryl Ruth, Fine Art

 

   MEL-OH-TEA-US, A CERAMIC TEAPOT

Mel-Oh-Tea-Us is a stoneware teapot made in the form of a violin. 

  • This stoneware ceramic teapot is created in the form of a violin, modified in freeform fashion to shape its component parts to serve respectively as the teapot's body, base, spout and handle.
  • The work's name is intended as whimsical wordplay encompassing mellowness, melody, melodious, syllabic stress and surprise (in the "oh!"), tea and teapot, as well as communal togetherness (in the "us").
  • Tagboard templates are created and modeled to provide means for making a three-dimensional form.
  • Violin images are silk-screened onto preglazed clay slabs which are then used in the construction process.
  • Panels are cut from clay slabs according to tagboard designs and fitted together to form the teapot body. Cording is added as a trim.
  • The spout is wheel thrown and sculpted.
  • The violin fingerboard, neck and scroll are shaped into a teapot handle, which is formed of several clay slabs joined together.
  • The teapot lid is a faux wooden violin peg. Additional tuning pegs are fashioned for insertion into the violin pegbox. A chin rest, bridge and tail piece are added.
  • Silk-screened violin score on tiles for the base are added to provide structural balance and integrity.
  • Construction sequence:
       Silk-screen imaging and underglazing in leather-hard state.
       First fired to cone 06.
       More underglazes applied.
       Refired to cone 5/6.
       Multiple layers of China paints are added.
       After each layer, the piece is refired to cone 015.
       Beaded wire and cold finishes complete the work.
       Musical score silk-screened on tiles.
       Tile base  formed and attached by score and slip method.
  • Date: 2011.
  • Size: 18.0" x 9.5" x 4.5".
  • Niche Awards finalist 2011, Niche Magazine, Buyers Market, Philadelphia.
  • Maine Arts and Culture Magazine, Second Statewide Juried Virtual Art Exhibit,r 2011.
  • Texas Teapot Tournament, Houston Potters Guild, Clay Art Museum and Educational Organization (CAMEO), Houston, TX, , 2012.
  • Inspired Hands V, Maine Crafts Association Members Exhibition, University of Southern Maine, Lewiston-Auburn College, Atrium Art Gallery, Lewiston, ME, 2012.
  • Maine Art Educators Exhibit, University of Southern Maine, 2012.
  • San Angelo Museum of Fine Art, National Ceramic Competition, San Angelo, TX, 2012.
  • Published in "500 Prints in Clay," a juried collection, by P Wandless, Lark Crafts, Sterling Publications, Asheville, NC, 2013.
  • Sold.

 


   ENLARGED VIEWS

Enlarged view.

Enlarged view.

Enlarged view.

Enlarged view.

Return to top  


   CREATIVE PROCESS

Preliminary drawing shows the proposed configuration of the teapot in the form of a violin.

  • Initial studies are drawn to make preliminary images in various configurations.
  • Cut and paste methods allow for modifications to be made to satisfy the artistic demands for maintaining the violin configuration while providing the functional needs of a teapot.

Return to top  

Templates are made to serve for slab building of the teapot in violin form.

  • Tagboard templates are designed for purposes of cutting and shaping clay slabs for use in slab building of the teapot.
  • In designing the templates, i draw one piece freehand.
  • Then I fold the template in half longitudinally (shown above, left side) to ensure the two sides are symmetrical.
  • The final template form is made with sides evenly matched (right side).

Return to top  

Templates are built into a three-dimensional form.

  • The tagboard template is made into a three-dimensional form by the additon of side panels taped into place.

Return to top  

Clay slab is rolled out and underglazed in faux wood pattern.

  • The initial process involves rolling out clay slabs that will ultimately be used for the front and back panels in the construction of this teapot.
  • The slab surfaces are then underglazed prior to the silk-screening process to impart a faux wooden appearance

Return to top  

Silk-screen collage of violin images is applied to the slab.

Return to top  

Tagboard template in the shape of a violin is formed.

  • The tagboard template is placed upon the clay slab where it will serve to ensure the panel is cut correctly according to design.

Return to top  

The predecorated slab is cut in the shape of the tagboard violin.

  • The clay panels are cut precisely to design.
  • Note the randomly applied silk-screened images on the previously underglazed faux wood background.

Return to top  

The side panels are formed for attachment to the front panel of the violin form and fixed in place by score and slip method.

  • The side panels are aligned in place (top image, above) ready to be joined together to each other and to the front panel by being scored and slipped.
  • The joining process involves scoring the edges to roughen them, moistening them with clay slip that serves as the glue, and then pressing and holding them together until the join is permenent (bottom image, above).

Return to top  

Construction of the teapot body is completed by attaching the back panel and adding a spout.

  • Construction continues by attaching the back panel to the side panels by means of score and slip process.
  • In addition, a spout that has been wheel thrown and sculpted to match the teapot's overall design is appended in place.

Return to top  

Trim is added and holes cut for the tuning pegs.

  • A coiled edge is added to the sides of the body panels as a trim.
  • A hole is made where the teapot lid will be located. The lid will be a faux wooden peg used for tuning.
  • The teapot handle is made to resemble a transformed violin fingerboard, neck and scroll. It is constructed of several clay slab pieces cut from templates and modified by sculpting, then joined by score and slip method, and attached in place.
  • Additional pegs are to be inserted into the holes made in the pegboard portion of the handle

Return to top  

Additional details are added, including pegs for the violin pegbox and a chin rest.

  • Nine tuning pegs are crafted by hand.
  • Eight of the pegs are inserted into the holes made for them on the pegboard on the teapot's handle.
  • The ninth peg is for the lid.
  • A chin rest is sculpted in clay and attached in place.

Return to top  

Violin bridge and tail pace are added and the work is allowed to dry prior to its first firing.

  • The construction phase of this work is completed with the addition of the violin bridge and its tail piece, both sculpted and permanently appended. 
  • The teapot is now allowed to dry sufficiently so that it can be safely kiln fired for the first time to cone 06

Return to top  

Underglazes are applied.

  • After successful first kiln firing, additional detailed color embellishments are applied to the surface by underglazes.

Return to top  

Additional faux wood underglazing applied to side panels.

  • Underglazing continues with application of faux wood design to side panels, handle and spout.
  • All white areas are to be decorated in this manner prior to refiring to cone 5/6

Return to top  

Underglazes near completion.

  • Nearing completion, the decorative underglazing encompasses the entire surface of this work.
  • A small unfinished central triangular section on the front will  be occupied by the bridge piece being made and fired separately.
  • Faux violin strings, made of wire for durability and decorated with small beads, will also be added.

Return to top  

Multiple layers of China paints are applied to enhance coloration.

Return to top  

Beaded wire attached to form violin strings.

  • Tiny turquoise beads are strung on wires to serve as the violin's strings.
  • Cold finishes are added to complete the construction and decorative phases.

Return to top

Musical score silk-screened on clay tiles.

Completed work with base attached.

  • Base of photo silk-screened tiles with musical score images is attached to ensure stability of the piece and thus ensure against damage from tipping over.

  


  DETAILED VIEWS *

Collage of detailed views.


 

Return to top