Banner: Porcelain Grace, Meryl Ruth, Fine Art

 

 

   SOLE MATES, A CERAMIC TEAPOT

   

Teapot with shoe form and emerging giraffe.

  • This work is a hand-built teapot made of white stoneware clay. It was designed to integrate a man's shoe (chosen very specifically to represent a particular man or more generically maleness, as detailed in the Creative Process, see below), with a lively, elongated, emerging giraffe (representing a woman and femininity) into a functional teapot form.
  • The crushed shoe box base was intended to suggest that the shoe and its occupant, the giraffe, had stepped down forcefully on it.
  • The giraffe's left ear is the teapot's spout; its tail forms the teapot's handle; the shoe's protruding tongue forms its lid.
  • The glazed surface design attempts to meld the Argyle pattern of the sock with the faux giraffe effect in an artful dance from giraffe to sock to shoe box.
  • Construction sequence: Fired to cone 06. Underglazes applied. Refired to cone 6. Opalescent overglazes added. Fired yet agin to cone 017. Various cold finishes used to complete the piece.
  • Size: 18.5" x 12.5" x 12.0".
  • Date: 2007.
  • Cover illustration on September, 2012 issue of Mt Lebanon Magazine.
  • Featured in B Martin's "Humor in Crafts," Lark Crafts, Sterling Publishers, Asheville, NC, 2012.
  • A commissioned work.
  • Sold to a Maine buyer.

     Enlarged Views

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Enlarged view shown.

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Creative Process

Creative process illustrated.

  • Sole Mates was fashioned along lines outlined by the buyer who commissioned this work as a gift for her husband, a designer of shoes. It was logical, therefore, to model the shoe component after one of his shoe styles.
  • A giraffe was specifically chosen to emerge from the shoe and the Argyle sock because the buyer, who is tall and slender, was said to remind her husband of a giraffe.
  • These considerations were basic to the evolution of the design for this piece.
  • The shoe box was integrated as the base of the teapot and given a fun-filled free-form appearance. Its crushed look was intended to reflect the weight of the shoe and the giraffe on it.
  • An unfortunate kiln incident destroyed the first version. While this was a regrettable occurrence, I was able to turn it to considerable advantage by using the opportunity to modify the piece in several important ways. The buyer, when asked if she would like changes made in the design, suggested that the sock be made looser and more wrinkled. This was a definite improvement and readily achieved. In addition, in the interest of stylistic enhancement, I elongated the giraffe's neck and made the shoe box into a base rather than part of the teapot itself. Moreover, the handle that formed the giraffe's tail was made more fluid. For purposes of comparison, images of both the original and the modified versions are shown here in an advanced stage of construction.

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Detailed Views *  

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