Banner: Porcelain Grace, Meryl Ruth, Fine Art

 

  SWEET-TEA, A CERAMIC TEAPOT


 

Fit to a Tea is a teapot in the form of a leopard-patterned boot surmounted by a leopard.
  • This stoneware teapot is entirely hand-built, except for the spout, on the basis of a commission according to the buyer's general specifications, giving me complete artistic freedom within those minimal constraints.
  • The main teapot compartment is fashioned from a child's size cowboy boot using two-part rubber press mold.
  • The handle is of pulled clay. The sole and heel are made by plaster mold. The surface of the boot is sculpted, shaped, and carved to give it the appearance of being well used and worn. The spout is wheel thrown and altered. It is then permanently affixed at the rear of the boot.
  • The baby giraffe is created in a sleeping position from a block of stoneware clay by means of sculpting, carving and shaping. It is hollowed to prevent expansion damage during firing in the kiln.
  • Construction sequence:
    • The work is initially fired in its leather-hard state to cone 04
    • Black underglaze is applied to the textured portions and rubbed off, leaving the glaze to enhance the fissures incised in the clay.
    • Colored underglazes are hand-painted for the giraffe-skin pattern.
    • Refiring to cone 6 follows.
    • Color enhancements provide more depth to the giraffe pattern by means of adding layers of China paints.
    • Three sequential firings to cone 018 are done after each China paint layer is applied.
    • Cold finishes complete the work.
  • Exhibited at Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA, 2014-2015; National Juried Competition, First Street Gallery, New York, NY, 2015.
  • Niche Awards Finalist in Teapot Category, Washington, DC, 2015.
  • Date: 2013.
  • Size:  12.0" x 12.0" x 4.0".
  • A commissioned work.
  • Sold.

 


ENLARGED VIEWS

 

Enlarged view.

 

Enlarged view.

 

Enlarged view.

 

Enlarged view.

 

Enlarged view.

 


CREATIVE PROCESS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preliminary sketch of proposed teapot in form of a baby giraffe emerging from a Texas-style boot.

 

  • Preliminary sketch, the last of many, representing a proposed ceramic teapot formed by a baby giraffe emerging from a Western-style giraffe-skin patterned cowboy boot.

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Early construction phase showing boot forming base of teapot.

    

  • A Western-style cowboy boot for the main chamber of the teapot is made in stoneware clay by means of a two-part rubber press mold. The sole and heel are made with several plaster molds using a child's boot that I bought on eBay as the prototype.
  • The surface details of the boot are then sculpted, shaped, carved, slumped. My objective here is to give it a well worn appearance.

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Giraffe is sculpted and affixed atop the boot.

 

  • The baby giraffe is made from a block of stoneware clay that is shaped, sculpted, carved and hollowed to prevent expansion damage during later kiln firing.
  • It is worked to give it the appearance of being asleep atop the boot from which it is emerging. It is permanentlly affixed in position by the score and slip method.

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Sculpted calf giraffe added along with spout. 

  • The spout is wheel thrown and altered before being added to the upper rear of the boot.
  • I  intend to use pulled clay for the handle, if it proves feasible and artistically pleasing.

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Teapot handle of pulled clay is affixed to boot.

 

  • The teapot handle, successfully formed of pulled clay, is appended in a wide semicircle from the front top of the boot to the toe.
  • In addition, at the buyer's request, an exteriorized leg was sculpted and appended at the rear of the boot in front of the spout.
  • This completes the construction phase, preparatory to the work's first firing to cone 6, after which decorative glazing will be done.

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The exteriorized leg was removed when it was determined that it disturbed the work's integrity.

 

  • In consultation with the buyer, it was agreed that the added leg was an unnecessary complicating feature, detracting from the work's integrity.
  • Accordingly, it was removed, as shown above, before the piece was fired for the first time to cone 6.

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Beginning of coloration after successful firing.

 

  • The teapot has been successful fired to cone 6. Its surface is sanded. A black underglaze is applied to textured areas of the boot and then rubbed off.
  • This process is intended to give the boot the appearance of being old, heavily worn and dirty, mimicking a distressed cowboy boot.
  • The coarse hair on the giraffe's back and ossicles are painted with colored underglaze.
  • The faux giraffe motif will now be applied to the giraffe and the boot.

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Work progresses as the giraffe skin pattern is painted by hand using underglazes.

 

  • Hand-painted giraffe-skin pattern is produced by the use of underglazes.
  • A close-up view is shown to offer a more detailed enlargement of the delicate work in progress.

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Coloration to embellish boot and giraffe with giraffe-skin pattern

  • Coloration nears completion with underglazes in giraffe-skin pattern for both boot and giraffe calf prior to refiring.

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Work completed with additional color enhancements and firing.

 

  • The giraffe-skin pattern is enhanced by using multiple layers of China paints.  
  • After each layer of China paints, the work is firied to cone 10.
  • The teapot is completed by applying cold finishes.

 

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