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Royal Tea, A Ceramic Teapot
  • This small teapot represents an innovative experiment --- a failed one for now --- in which the exceptional color potential of a porcelain medium (in the form of commercial Keraflex) is used in conjunction with high-range (cone 10) stoneware clay to overcome technical limitations to produce vividly embellished fluid figurative ceramic art works.
  • Keraflex tiles are photo silk-screened with images of playing cards for use on the front and back panels of the body of the teapot; others are photo silk-screened and modified by bending, folding and modelling for the crown (lid) and fluted robe section at the rear.
  • The flat decorated tile panels are reworked to form the body of the teapot by the rewetting technique described elsewhere (see Technical Note on Silk-Screening Nonplanar Clay).
  • Stoneware clay is formed for the tart-shell feet by press mold; the handle is created of pulled and altered tubular clay; the spout is thrown and altered.
  • The handle, spout and crown are adhered to the Keraflex tile panels by score and slip method.
  • The piece is allowed to dry to the leather-hard state and, without preliminary bisque firing (as recommended for Keraflex), the piece was kiln fired to cone 10.
  • Slumping and cracking occurred during the kiln firing to distort the piece and destroy its artistic integrity. But it was not a total loss because a number of important and potentially valuable lessons were learned nonetheless.
  • First, it is clear that during firing, the delicate Keraflex tiles cannot support the heavy clay structures (specifically, spout and handle here) made of stoneware. Second, while Keraflex may not require preliminary bisque firing (as recommended) for ensuring its integrity and structural strength, stoneware clay obviously does, so bisque firing is essential for such mixed media works. Third, the process clearly requires first building the entire form in stoneware clay for strength and stability, and then laminating the silk-screened Keraflex in place to be modified as needed.
  • A new version will be undertaken in due course. However, the techniques for construction and schedule of firing will be greatly modified based on the unfortunate results of this valuable exploratory experience.
  • Date: 2012.
  • Size: 11.0" x 5.5" x 5.0".
  • Athough not available for purchase in its current state, this design can be replicated or modified anew. Please contact me for information about a possible commission.





Early construction of Royal Tea with underglazing.

  • The central component of the teapot is constructed of photo silk-screened Keraflex porcelain tiles.
  • A novel rewetting method is used after partial drying to rework the flat tiles into curved shapes to form the main hollow inner space that will constitute the teapot body.
  • The feet are constructed of stoneware clay by press mold.
  • Other silk-screened Keraflex tiles are bent, folded and manipulated to create the robe at the rear.

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    Further development prior to first firing.

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 Serious slumping damage from accident in the kiln.

  • The piece is badly slumped during the firing process. The Keraflex is not strong enough to support the stoneware clay handle and spout. The vitrification process was done at a temperature that partially melted the work so it collapsed.
  • The work, although failed badly for technical reasons, is featured nonetheless because of interest expressed among potential buyers for this work or a similar one, with structural modifications to ensure against a comparable fate.


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