Banner: Porcelain Grace, Meryl Ruth, Fine Art

 

  NOBILI-TEA, A FIBER TEAPOT


Nobili-tea, a fiber teapot, with a playing card theme.
  • This fiber teapot combines my love of sewing and sculpting. It is experimental in nature because I am attempting to determine if silk-screening could be feasible for transferring images onto the roughly textured synthetic felt-like material (Fosshape), which I had previously used successfully to make another fiber teapot, Designer Teabag. The synthetic felt has proved very utilitarian for sculpting purposes because I discovered that it could be hardened to retain its shape permanently by simply baking in a conventional oven (see Buckram replacement for details).
  • Three color separation silkscreens are used for the front surface of the sculpture (for the image of the King of Hearts) and one color separation for the back (a classic playing card design). Ordinarily, one definitive "pass" with ink across the surface of a print beneath the fabric should suffice, but one pass did very little to deposit the fabric ink onto the synthetic felt.  About five or six passes are required for each color. Doing so makes the image edges less crisp, but I was able to eke out a fairly good set of card surfaces to create the panels I wanted for the front and back of the teapot. Further, the fact that the imagery is not completely solid, and even blotchy in places, is interesting. This yields a work suggesting antiquity or aging. It is an effect I had not anticipated, but liked nonetheless.
  • The feet of the teapot are made of polymer clay (Fimo) in a clay press mold. I have learned that when the Fimo clay gets too soft during the molding process to respond properly, it can be frozen to harden it again. This differs from what can be done to correct the condition of ceramic clay that has become too hard (or too soft) in response to excessive (or inadequate) drying. Merely adding water (or reducing water content by allowing time for further drying) will make it workable again.
  • Sewing techniques are also modified to create the desired results when using synthetic felt. I obtained a new sturdy presser foot for making my own cording. I find it works particularly well for the tight cording that surrounds the cards and that is to be placed between the central front and back panels.
  • The spout is molded and sewn in place.
  • The handle is also made separately and stitched into the body of the teapot.
  • The original lid (head and crown) is replaced by a newly-designed one to enhance artistic interest, grace and fluidity.
  • Coloration with fabric paints is applied to enhance the details of the body, feet, robe, handle and lid. Cllear varnish coat is added to the red Fimo clay of feet and lid.
  • Because this teapot is made of material that is not waterproof, it is decorative but not functional.
  • Date: 2015.
  • Size: 15.0" x 11.0" x 4.0"
  • Available for purchase. Price:  $900.              

ENLARGED VIEWS

 

Enlarged view.

 

Enlarged view.

 

Enlarged view of lid.


CREATIVE PROCESS

 

Early stage in construction of the teapot body, showing the front and back panels with playing card images transferred by silk-screening.

 

  • Silk-screening the images of the front and back synthetic felt panels is done with multiple passes.
  • Cording is made of the felt material.
  • The main chamber of the fiber teapot is constructed by sewing the assembled front and back panels, undecorated side panels, and  preformed cording.

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    Further advanced construction phase with preformed spout sewn in place.

 

  • The teapot spout is preformed from synthetic felt.
  • It is fixed in place by stitching to one corner of the main teapot chamber.

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Fimo clay is used for form the teapot's feet by means of clay press molds.

 

  • The teapot's feet are made of polymer clay (Fimo) by using clay press molds.
  • When completed, they will be attached to the teapot body chamber and the entire unit baked in a conventional oven.
  • This process will permanently harden both the felt and the Fimo clay.

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Lid, handle, feet and robe formed and attached by sewing.

 

  • Preformed feet of baked Fimo clay are attached.
  • The lid, consisting of the king's head and crown, is created of synthetic felt and bits of rounded Fimo.  A feather will be placed atop the crown (not yet shown). The lid is appended above the main teapot chamber in an opening provided for it.  
  • Portions of robe, made of synthetic felt, are also sewn in place at the rear.

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Lid (head and crown) is modified to enhance artistic interest.

Lid (head and crown) is modified to enhance artistic interest.

 

  • In the interest of artistic design, the original formalized lid, consisting of head and crown, is replaced with an entirely new one made with greater complexity and fluidity.

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Coloration nearing completion.

Lid details enlarged.

 

  • Detailed coloration nears completion. All exterior surfaces, except the side panels and those previously silk-screened, are hand-decorated in white fabric paint. The side panels are painted black.
  • Shown separately are enlarged front and back views of the fully embellished teapot lid (the king's head with feathered crown). The lid is in place in the opening created for it on the top of the teapot body.

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Heart stencils added to robe and tattoo-like images added to handle.

 

  • A clear shiny varnish coat is applied to the red Fimo clay  of the feet and parts of the crown.
  • Additional details are the hearts stenciled on the projecting back portion of the robe and the word MOM and another heart in a tattoo-like arrangement on the handle.

 

 


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