Banner: Porcelain Grace, Meryl Ruth, Fine Art

 

  MIRTHFUL MIRANDA, A CERAMIC PORTRAIT TEAPOT


An Australian Shepherd emerges from a running shoe to form a functional teapot.
  • This functional teapot was commissioned as a portrait of the buyer's pet dog, Miranda, an Australian Shepherd. Aside from her desire for a sculpted likeness of her dog emerging from a sneaker, the buyer imposed no constraints on my artistiic input or inspiration.
  • The ceramic teapot is hand-built of stoneware clay. The teapot base is fashioned in the form of a running shoe from which the dog emerges. The teapot's handles are thick extruded clay strips that morph from the sneaker's laces and embed near the shoe toes. The teapot's spout projects from between the dog's outreaching forepaws. A press mold and carved dog bone is the teapot's lid, located behind the dog's rump at the top front aspect of the running shoe's lacings.
  • Additional details are added, including faux fur made from thin round extruded clay strips, prior to allowing the work to dry completely to the leather-hard state before it is ready for its first kiln firing to cone 6.
  • Subsequent coloration done with underglazes and China paints. Refired to cone 5. Colors enhanced with overglazes, China paints and lusters. Final firing to cone 018. Cold finishes added.
  • Construction sequence:
    • First fired to cone 6.
    • Underglazes applied by air-brushing and hand-painting.
    • Refired to cone 5.
    • Overglazes and China paints added.
    • Another firing to cone 5 is done.
    • Color is enhanced by layers of China paints.
    • Firing to cone 5 follows each layer of coloring.
    • Final firing to cone 018 finishes the work.
    • Cold finished with China paints and acrylic paints.
  • Date: 2013.
  • Size: 11.5" x 12.0" x 3.5".
  • A commissioned work.
  • Sold to a Philadelphia collector.

 

 

 


ENLARGED VIEWS

 

Enlarged view.

Enlarged view.

Enlarged view.

Enlarged view.

 

 


CREATIVE PROCESS

 

 

 

One of many photographs I took of Miranda for use in the ceramic construction of her portrait teapot.

 

  • One of the many photographic studies I took of Miranda, an Austrailan Shepherd, in preparation for sculpting her portrait and incorporating it into a ceramic teapot.

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Early phase of construction.   

 

  • These are images of the early phase of construction of this stoneware clay ceramic teapot.
  • The Austrailan Shepherd is sculpted and then carefully hollowed to prevent damage during later kiln firing. It is made to appear to be emerging from a running shoe.
  • The running shoe is also made of stoneware clay, hand-built by the slab construction method. The slabs are cut to fit  preformed tagboard patterns, joined by score and slip technique, and modified by altering, carving and sculpting.
  • The shoe is adorned with clay sole and heel, decorative canvass sides, and front lacing. Extruded clay strips are added for the handles, which are applied to appear as if morphing from the shoe's lacings and distally embedded into the toe of the shoe.
  • A press mold is made from an actual dog bone to serve as the teapot's lid. The lid is attached just behind the dog's rump at the top front of the shoe where the laces become the handles.

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More advanced construction phase.

 

  • Thin round strips are made of extruded clay for use in adding faux fur to the surface of the dog's neck and body.

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Handle, spout and lid are added before the first firing. 

  • For purposes of duplicating an accurate image and expression of the dog, the greenware state clay is modified by thinning the ear forms and making them more curved, among other sculptural changes. In addition, the handle is shortened to reduce its size and enhance its curvature.

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Construction phase completed, the work is allowed to dry before its first firing.

 

  • The hand-building phase is completed with additional extruded clay faux fur plus other small modifications in the interest of providing a good likeness of the Miranda.
  • The work is now allowed to dry to the leather-hard state before subjecting it to its first kiln firing to cone 6.

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Coloration with underglazes begins aftre first kiln firing.

  • After the first successful kiln firing, embellishment of the teaots's surfaces begins. First underglazes are applied to bringing Miranda to "life" with her physical and psychological features on display.
  • Because the fur consisted of thin clay rod extrusions, it was not possible to hand paint them with underglazes. Therefore, coloration was applied gently by air-brushing.
  • Other sturdier areas were hand-painted with underglazes, including the handle, the lid (dog bone) and the sneakers.

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Underglazing almost somcplet in preparation for second firing.

  • Having completed the initial coloration, I am now ready to refire the work in a kiln at cone 5 temperature.

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Enhanced coloration with overglazes and China paints.

 

  • After refiring, additional enhancement of coloration is done with China paints.
  • Firings are done to cone 018 after each layer of China paints is applied.
  • The work is nearing completion.

 

Final version except for coating of clear glaze.

 

  • Final touches of coloration are added prior to an overall coat of clear glaze and a last firing to cone 018.

 

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