Banner: Porcelain Grace, Meryl Ruth, Fine Art

 

MYTHICAL TEA DRAGON, A CERAMIC TEAPOT


Mythical Tea Dragon is a ceramic teapot in the form of an imaginary winged dragon.
  • This ceramic teapot is constructed of stoneware clay using a variety of techniques: primarily wheel throwing, altering and hand-building.
  • The work is commissioned with specific design stipulations by the buyer, including a strong, but not scary, winged female dragon; horizontally oriented; constructed in clay; preferably colored in greens, fuchsia and blues; the dragon incorporated into teapot form; and 15" maximum dimension. My artistic freedom is thereby constrained somewhat, but could nonetheless roam widely.
  • The teapot is wheel thrown and altered considerably.
  • The dragon's head and neck are added, sculpted and carved.
  • The spout is cut into the body of the teapot and shaped.
  • Two lids are made, throwing both off the hump using a Potter's wheel. The one that fits better and had the better aesthetics is chosen for the piece.
  • The tail-handle is pulled and then affixed to the teapot body using score and slip method.
  • Legs and feet are added, sculpted and carved.
  • Wings are created using an original tagboard template to form flat clay slabs, which are then shaped. Extruded clay veins are added to the wing architecture.
  • The entire surface of the dragon teapot is carved with details, including scales and striations.
  • With construction completed, the artwork is allowed to air dry thoroughly to a greenware state before its first kiln firing.
  • Further process details for firing and coloration:   
    • The teapot is initially fired to a bisque state at cone 04 temperature.
    • Glazing begins: A black underglaze is applied to all carved areas and then wiped away. This is intended to bring out the three-dimensionality of the piece.Various blue, green and fuchsia underglazes are added to the uncarved upper surfaces of the work. These colors will intensify considerably after the work is refired.
    • Glossy black glaze is applied to the inner chamber of the teapot and the undersurface of the lid to make the work waterproof and functional.
    • Refiring is done to cone 5. Although dangerous to the work's integrity because of the high kiln temperature, it came through the process unharmed.
    • China paints are now used for further coloration. Another firing follows to cone 015.
    • Added layers of China paints are applied.
    • Five additional firings to cone 015 are required, one after each layer.
    • Small overglaze additions follow. Gold leaf is applied to the inner surfaces of the wings.
    • Cold finishes are applied to the surfaces to complete the work.
  • Date: 2017.
  • Size: 9.5” x 10.0” x 6.0”. 
  • Commissioned work. Sold.
 


ENLARGED VIEWS

 

 

Enlarged view

 

Enlarged view.

 

Enlarged view

 

 

 


CREATIVE PROCESS

 

 

   

 

Early construction phase.

 

  • The teapot is wheel thrown and altered. The head and neck of the dragon are added with details sculpted and carved. An opening is made for the spout, which is shaped in place.
  • Two lids are wheel thrown off the hump. The better fit and more aesthetically pleasing is chosen for use in the piece.
  • The tail doubles as a handle; it is pulled and permanently affixed in place using score and slip method. Legs and feet are added, sculpted and carved.
  • Wings are made using an original tagboard template. Extruded clay veins are added to the wings. The free-form clay slabs thus created are then shaped, as shown, and affixed to the teapot body..

Return to top

 

  Construction completed prior to first kiln firing.  

 

  • The entire surface is carved to provide artistic details, including scales and striations, as illustrated here.
  • The teapot is now allowed to dry for many days to a greenware state, before its first firing.

Return to top

 

After first firing, underglazes are applied to carved surfaces.

 

  • After successful kiln firing to cone 04, black glaze is applied to all the carved surfaces and wiped away to bring forth the three-dimensionality of the work.
  • Blue, green and fuchsia colored underglazes are then added to the uncarved surfaces of the dragon's torso, neck, head and horns. Refiring will greatly enhance the depth of this coloration.

Return to top

Further coloration is added and several  more firings done.

 

  • The work successfully survives its refiring to cone 5. This is hazardous because the work is exposed to very high kiln temperture that may distort, shift or crack it. It comes through safely.
  • A layer of China paints is applied to further enhance the coloration and provide surface details.
  • Firing is done to cone 015.
  • Four additional layers of China paints are applied and the work is fired again and again to cone 015 after each layer. In this way, the coloration is enhanced considerably

 

Embellishments completed.

 

  • Overglazes are added to highlight some colored areas on the outer surfaces. Gold leaf is also applied to the inner surfaces of the wings.
  • Cold finishes enhance coloration and provide details over the outer surfaces of the teapot.
  • These final embellishments complete the work.

 


Return to top