Banner: Porcelain Grace, Meryl Ruth, Fine Art



A teapot in the form of a designer handbag made of felt-like material hardened on exposure to steam or hot-air gun.
  • This is the first iteration resulting from experimentation in which I attempted to construct a teapot, here in the form of a designer handbag, out of fiber rather than ceramic clay.
  • I found an optimal medium for this purpose, namely, a white felt-like synthetic material (called Fosshape and used in a process called buckram replacement) with special properties: It was easy to work by cutting, sewing and shaping. Furthermore, it was capable of being hardened to permanently maintain its shape by exposure to steam or a hot-air gun.
  • Given that the material from which this work is made is not waterproof, however, the teapot is of necessity not functional.
  • The design of this work is based on an earlier ceramic prototype, Vice Versa-chi Tea, but with major modifications in the pattern and embellishments.
  • Pattern pieces of felt are cut to match the original design of ceramic teapot, handle and spout, as well as the cording. These are joined by sewing them together.
  • Coloration of the white felt is done by air-brushing black and colored fabric paints onto its outer surfaces. I anticipate using silk-screening techniques for decorating future works in this series.
  • The hardware components, including lid and feet, are made of Fimo clay baked in an oven. The initial attempts in this regard failed by virtue of poor fit from distortion in the baking process.
  • Use of hot air gun and fabric steamer also proved inadequate to harden the felt material sufficiently to ensure it would hold itsshape permanently..
  • I experimented using a regular oven, baking the entire felt and Fimo hardware as an integrated unit at 230℉. for 30 minutes, while carefully monitoring the work to prevent destructive burning of the flammable felt. This yielded an appropriately hardened felt form with well-fitted durable, but otherwise unaltered, Fimo hardware appurtenances. The baking process was a real technical breakthrough. See Glossary entry under buckram replacement for details.
  • Special glazes are used for coloration of the hardware elements to complete the work.
  • Displayed at Teapots! Ninth Invitational Exhibition, Annual National Show, Morgan Glass Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, 2015.
  • Niche Awards 2016 Finalist, Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC.
  • Date: 2015.
  • Size: 12.5" x 14.5" x  9.0"
  • Sold.




Enlarged view






Front and side views of work in progress.

side view and close up of spout detail.   


  • White felt segments are cut from templates made to match the ceramic prototype. Cording is made of the same material.
  • All are sewn together to construct the teapot in the form of a designer handbag.
  • The structure is hardened by exposure to a hot-air gun to maintain its shape.
  • Decorative design is added by means of air-brushing fiber paint onto all exterior surfaces.
  • A close-up view is shown to illustrate the spout projecting from the front panel.

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Completed Designer Teabag after oven baking process..    


  • Hardware elements are fomed of Fimo clay, including lid and feet. These are separately baked in a regular oven. The baking process failed because the components were distorted by the baking process.
  • i  used both a hot air gun and a fabric steamer to harden the felt material, but this too was inadequate to ensure the form would be maintained over time.
  • Experimenting with a regular oven, I baked the entire integrated felt and Fimo hardware at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, while I carefully monitored the work to prevent the flammable felt from burning. This yielded an appropriately hardened felt form with well-fitted Fimo and undistorted hardware components attached in place.
  • The hardware elements are colored with special glazes to complete the work.



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