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  TWISTED TEA, A CERAMIC TEAPOT


Twisted Tea, A Ceramic Teapot
  • This is the second iteration of the accordion teapot theme. Like the first, Sip Tea Accordionly, I envisioned a teapot that was hand built almost entirely from earthenware clay, a low-firing clay body instead of stoneware, to minimize warping. At first, this second work was heavy and large in appearance and weight. I was unhappy with how it turned out and was contemplating starting over again from scratch. However, it occurred to me to try to salvage it after all the work I had already put into its early construction phase. To achieve a more delicate and interesting work of art, I proceeded to hollow it out much more than previously. I added a spout, handles and a lid.
  • I conceived of making the teapot/accordion into a more delicate vertical object. This was done by slicing the work using a double-handled wire knife into mulitple thin parallel layers. When the smaller, vertical work was completed, all segments were piled one atop the other and affixed in place by score and slip method.
  • The spout was wheel thrown and then altered after it had been cut into cross sections and reattached to form the same repeated pattern as in the bellows section. This was a new previously-untried approach, and it proved successful.
  • The handles were slab constructed.
  • As the layers were stacked in position, each was given a slight turn to impart a twisting pattern to the entire object. This gave it the drunken aspect implied by the work's title, Twisted Tea, which referred to an alcoholic tea-based beverage. Whereas the work looks imbalanced, that appearance is deliberate, again to emphasize a drunken state. Contrary to expectations based on the illusion, it is a well-balanced work, due to the counterbalance imparted by the handles. As a result, it sits solidly on its base.
  • When basic construction was completed, the work was allowed to dry thoroughly to its bisque state.
  • It was then fired for the first time to a kiln temperature of cone 04.
  • Glossy black glaze was poured into the teapot's inner chamber, swirled about, and the excess poured out to make it waterproof. The bellows section was painted with black and white underglazes. The handle, sharp keys of the keyboard and feet were colored in glossy black glaze and remaining external surfaces in glossy whilte glaze.
  • The work was then successfully refired to cone 05.
  • Original ceramic decals were then applied. This tedious process, usually taking many hours, was foreshortened by overlapping the decals. Ordinarily, decals should not be overlapped in a single firing, but limited to one layer per firing. In my desire to achieve a more interesting effect, to save time, and to experiment, I broke the rules in this regard, taking the risk in the interest of my artistic conception for this teapot. Overlapping the decals worked out beautifully.
  • I intended for the decals to look like those in the prior work in this series, Sip Tea Accordionly, that is, with a flat matte finish. But they turned out gorgeously shiny after a delicate, carefully calibrated kiln firing at cone 015, a special firing that I was able to program into my computer kiln.
  • China paints and platinum lusters were airbrushed onto the bellows and the lid.
  • Firing was done multiple times to cone 018 after each application of color. The bellows, which had originally been glazed in black and white, were modified to replicate and accentuate the colors of the decals and complete the work.
  • Construction details:
    • The first kiln firing was to cone 04.
    • Coloration included underglazes and glossy glazes in black and white on both interior and exterior surfaces.
    • The work was refired at a low-fire temperature to cone 05.
    • Original decorated ceramic decals were applied in ovrelapping patterns.
    • Specially programmed delicate kiln firing was done to cone 015.
    • China paints and platinum lusters were applied to the bellows and the lid.
    • Multiple firings to cone 018 followed each layer of coloration.
    • The black and white glazes on the bellows were modified to replicate the colors of the decals.
  • Date: 2019.
  • Size: 13.5 ” x 13.0” x 9.5”.
  • Available for sale: $1,200.

 

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ENLARGED VIEWS

 

Enlarged view.

 

Enlarged view.

 

Enlarged view.

 

 

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CREATIVE PROCESS

 

 

   

Tagboard mockup of Twist Tea

 

  • Tagboard templates were cut and assembled to provide a working model for this teapot/accordion.
  • When deconstructed, the templates were used to cut low-fire earthenware clay slabs into the pattern indicated by the templates.
  • The slabs were assembled to form the clay teapot in the form of an accordion.

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Early construction phase of Twist Tea

 

  • When construction of this hand-built earthenware clay work was completed, I was dissatisfied because it was so large, heavy and bulky.
  • My first inclination was to begin again to make a more delicate and interesting ceramic work. It occurred to me that perhaps this piece could be deconstructed and modified to accomplish the same objective. Accordingly, I split the work vertically with a double-handled wire knife, and proceeded to hollow out the work to make the chamber walls much thinner.
  • When the two halves were reassembled and affixed by score and slip method, I then sliced the work into thin clay slabs.
  • The work was made vertical by piling slabs one atop the other, imparting a slight twist to each to give the work a slight corkscrew appearance, akin to an inebriated individual. This was intended to reflect the title, Twisted Tea, an alcoholic beverage with a tea base.

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Deconstructed teapot converted to a vertical model

    

  • When the basic construction work was completed, the result was a more delicate and interesting teapot/accordion, much as I had envisioned it.
  • The lid, placed temporarily as shown here, was to be replaced by one that comported more closely with the newly designed work.
  • The work was allowed to air dry to its bisque state.
  • When thoroughly dried, the teapot was subjected to its first kiln firing to a temperature of cone 04.

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Coloration with black and white glazes begins

 

  • After a successful firing, coloration was begun. Glossy black glaze was poured into the inner chamber, swirled about, and the excess decanted, to make the teapot waterproof.
  • Underglaze was applied to the bellows, white for the interstices and black for the edges.
  • Glossy black glaze was painted onto the handle, sharp keyboard keys and feet. The remaining surface areas were coated in glossy white glaze.
  • The work was then refired to a low-fire temperature of cone 05.

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Twisted Tea completed.

 

  • After successful refiring, original decorated ceramic decals were applied in overlapping patterns.
  • Specially programmed delicate kiln firing was done to cone 015.
  • China paints and platinum lusters were applied to the bellows and the lid.
  • Multiple firings to cone 018 followed each layer of coloration.
  • The black and white glazes on the bellows were modified to replicate the colors of the decals, thus completing the teapot.

 


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