Banner: Porcelain Grace, Meryl Ruth, Fine Art

 

  PROUD AS A TEACOCK, A MIXED MEDIA TEAPOT


A ceramic teapot in the form of a peacock.
  • This is a free-form peacock representing a functional teapot made of a combination of stoneware clay and real peacock feathers.
  • The ceramic components are all hand-made. The main body and the unattached lid are wheel-thrown. The body is altered by paddling. Sculpted peacock neck and head are added; the neck will function as the teapot's spout. Faux feathers are carved into the sides. Three sculpted feet are attached in place; holes are drilled into them for purpose of adding wire extensions to the feet later. All component parts are permanently joined by the score and slip method.
  • A series of holes are drilled along an arc at the base of the handle and body. These holes are intended to accommodate peacock feathers at the conclusion of the teapot's construction, glazing and kiln firings.
  • The teapot's handle is made by pulling clay, which is added to the body.
  • The work is hollowed to form the teapot's main chamber, spout and lid opening. Hollowing makes the wall uniform in thickness to avoid damage during kiln firings.
  • The surface is sanded to impart smoothness to the clay after it has been dried completely to its greenware state. This is a technique I had not used before at this fragile stage.
  • Construction details:   
    • After construction is completed, the work is air dried completely to the greenware state.
    • The first kiln firing is done to cone 04.
    • Coloration is begun by applying black cone 5 glaze to the Inner compartment to make the teapot waterproof and functional.
    • Green, blue and gold underglazes are airbrushed onto the entire outer surface of the body and lid.
    • Refiring to cone 5 follows.
    • Embellishment continues with many layers of China paints for color enhancement.
    • Multiple firings to cone 018 are done after each layer of China paint is applied.
    • Cold finishes of iridescent Createx airbrush permanent paint are added to the outer teapot surfaces by means of airbrushing.
    • Gold leaf is added.
    • Peacock feathers are inserted into the holes previously made for them and affixed there with permanent glues.
    • A wooden base with wires attached is used to form a flat pedestal and lengthen the peacock's legs.
  • Date: 2018.
  • Size: 13.0” x 13.5” x 11.5”, feathers included.
  • Sold.
 

ENLARGED VIEWS

 

Enlarged view.

 

Enlarged view.

Photographs by Nick Thompson of Berlian ArtsĀ 

 

 


CREATIVE PROCESS

 

 

   

Preconstruction drawing of the intended work.

 

  • Preliminary sketches are made. The tentative design, shown here, was chosen for this work and later modified.

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Early phase of construction showing the peacock form of the teapot and lid.

 

  • The teapot is hand-made entirely of stoneware clay. Its body is wheel thrown and altered by paddling. The body is hollowed to create the main teapot compartment. A  spout is opened on the neck and spout's lip is sculpted in place. The handle is made by extruding and pulling the clay and then affixing it to the body by the score and slip method.
  • Three feet are sculpted. Holes are made in the feet for inserting wire extensions later after the work has been kiln fired and glazed. My specific intent here is to elongate the feet so they look more fragile and delicately bird-like. I contemplate using an armature of wire and polymer clay for strength, and then mounting the work on a wood panel base.
  • The surface of the clay body is carved and inscribed to provide the impression of the short body feathers.
  • A  linear series of holes is drilled along an arc at the base of the handle and the rear of the peacock's body. These will be the sites where the peacock feathers will be placed after the ceramic construction and decorative processes are completed. This relocation represents a different design from that depicted in the original sketch (see, above), namely, feathers projecting from the teapot handle.
  • The lid is separately wheel thrown and altered.
  • The bird's head is sculpted. Its crown is pierced to accommodate a crest, which I anticipate will be made of wire and feathers after all construciton and embellishment is done.

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Further refinement of the work at a later stage.

 

  • After the work is allowed to air dry completely to its very fragile greenware state, its surface is gently and carefully sanded to impart smoothness to the clay. I had not sanded at this stage before because of the vulnerable state the work is in at the time, but it works quite successfully.

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After first firing, glazing is begun.

 

  • After the teapot's surface has been smoothed by sanding in its greenware state, it is successfully kiln fired for the first time to cone 04.
  • The inner chamber of the teapot is coated with cone 5 glossy black glaze to make the work waterproof and functional.
  • The process of applying green, blue and gold underglazes by airbrushing has begun, as shown here.

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Completed work.

 

  • After the underglazing is complete, the work is subjected to refiring at cone 05.
  • Coloration is then enhanced with many layers of China paints to all body surfaces and lid.
  • The teapot is fired again to cone 015 after each layer of China paint is done.
  • Real peacock feathers are inserted into the holes made for them earlier at the base of the handle and the rear of the body. They are affixed with permanent glue.
  • Cold finishes include airbrushed Createx airbrush permanent paint to all exterior surfaces.
  • Gold leaf is applied.

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Proud as a Teacock is a ceramic teapot in the form of a peacock.

  • Wires attached to a wooden base are used to lengthen the peacock's legs and thereby provide a more delicate appearance. The wires, reenforced by polymer clay, are inserted into holes previously drilled into the bottom of the three clay legs located under the body. This completes the art work.

 

 


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