Banner: Porcelain Grace, Meryl Ruth, Fine Art

 

  HOMAGE TO PUMPKIN, A CERAMIC TEAPOT


Pumpkin is a commissioned portrait  honoring the memory of Allie, a long-haried dachshund.
  • This stoneware clay teapot is a commissioned work intended by the buyer to be a memorial portrait of his deceased pet, a long-haired Dachshund named Allie, who was also called Pumpkin by the buyer's wife. Since it is intended as a gift of the buyer to his wife, the name Homage to Pumpkin is felt to be appropriate for this work. The commission requires that a pumpkin form be incorporated into the teapot design as part of the dog's body. The concept I developed to achieve this is to encompass the dog's thorax in a pumpkin form and use a pumpkin stem atop the dog's head to serve as the teapot's spout. A clay replica dogbone at the back of the dog's neck doubles as the lid. Another stipulation is to duplicate the dog's fur, no small feat.  Details are based on mutual agreement between the buyer and me.
  • The pumpkin is formed using a previously-made slipcast mold; the pumpkin stem on the dog's head is made from a newly-created slipcast mold.
  • The dog's head and body are sculpted from a block of stoneware clay. Both are hollowed out and permanently affixed to the pumpkin by means of the score and slip method. In this way, the combined head, pumpkin and hind quarters are made to constitute the main chamber of the teapot.
  • The dogbone lid, located at the top of the pumpkin at the back of the dog's neck, is made from a press mold of a dog's bone.
  • The handle, in the form of a leash, is made from extruded clay.
  • The dog's collar is slab constructed.
  • The fur is a composite of extruded components, slip and carving,
  • Construction details:   
    • After fully constructed in stoneware clay, the work is allowed to dry thoroughly to a bisque state.
    • First firing is done to cone 04 in an electronic kiln.
    • After teapot is cooled, the interior chamber is covered in black glossy cone 5 glaze.
    • Colored underglazes are applied to the outer surfaces of the teapot. More underglazes are added, especially to bring out the facial details. Black underglaze is used for the back of the leash and pink underglaze for the dog's collar.
    • The teapot is refired to cone 5.
    • Orange glaze is applied to the pumpkin, the base of the stem (spout) and the leash (handle), all with black details. Off-white glaze decorates the stem. The exterior surface of the leash is plaid patterned in orange, off-white and black glazes; the interior leash surface is left black. The "fur" is embellished with off-white, black and gray glazes to replicate Pumpkin's own coloration as closely as possible.
    • The work is completed with a final kiln firing to cone 018.
  • Date: 2016.
  • Size: 12.0” x 10.0” x 6.0”.
  • A  commissioned work. Sold.

 


ENLARGED VIEWS

 

Enlarged view.

 

Enlarged view.

 

 

 


CREATIVE PROCESS

 

 

   

 

Composite of images of Pumpkin during an early phase of construction.

 

  • Composite of images showing various views of Pumpkin in an early stage of construction. Here the dog's body and head (comprising the main teapot chamber) are formed of four parts: the slipcast pumpkin, sculpted and hollowed head and rump with appendages, plus a slipcast pumpkin stem for the spout.   Additionally, a press mold dogbone at the top rear of the pumpkin is the lid and the extruded leash is the handle.
  • Much effort is expended on duplicating the fur. This is ultimately achieved using extruded clay in combination with slip and carving.

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Coloration added with underglazes.

  • After being allowed to dry to its bisque state, the work's interior chamber is made waterproof with an application of black glossy cone 5 glaze.
  • Additional coloration is added to the outer surfaces of the teapot, partially completed in this process photograph, with colored underglazes.
  • Firing is done in an electronic kiln to cone 04.

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Composite views of the work with colored underglazed details added to enhance facial details, black underglaze to the back of the leash and pink underglaze to the color.

 

  • Additional underglazes are applied to provide detailed features to the dog's face.
  • Black underglaze to the back of the leash (handle) and pink underglaze to the collar.

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Underglazing is complete.

 

  • As shown in this composite of process images, the underglazing process is complete.
  • More underglazes are added to enrich the dog's fur.  
  • Argyle patterning is applied to the outer side of the leash (handle), integrating the colors of the pumpkin and the collar. The diamond pattern imparts a jester-like quality.
  • The work is now ready for refiring to cone 5.

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[More process images to be inserted]

 

  • [Caption details to be inserted]

 


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