Banner: Porcelain Grace, Meryl Ruth, Fine Art



Irving's Leopard Teabag is a teapot with a designer purse form and leopard skin design.

  • Hand-built using a combination of stoneware and porcelain clay bodies. 
  • Construction sequence: Fired to cone 06. Hand-painted with velvet underglazes. Clear glaze applied. Refired to cone 6. Lusters applied. Fired again to cone 018.
  • Size: 10.0" x 12.0" x 4.0".
  • Date: 2005.
  • Exhibited at Steeped in Tradition show at the Ariana Gallery in Royal Oak, MI; Reflections International 2006 Show at Highland Arts Gallery, Portland, ME; Sherwood Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA; San Angelo Museum of Art, San Angelo, TX.
  • Sold to a Texas collector.


  Creative Process     

Creative process illustrated.

  • The challenge in making Irving's Leopard Teabag was combining two clay bodies. I used both a porcelain and a stoneware body on the same piece. I wasn't sure that I could do that. It turned out fine, but it was an experiment.
  • Also, to create the many folds in the snout-like spout I actually used a pasta maker. Again, the experiment turned out successfully. Unfortunately, not all my experimentations work. But if I don't try, I don't figure out the nuances of new techniques.
  • Another new idea for Irving's was to air-brush background shades of browns before hand-painting the leopard spots. That was new, too.
  • Furthermore, in developing the form itself, this was the first time I actually created the lid as the buckle. Never having done this before, I was pleased to find the middle buckle acted as a lid for the piece. This innovation enhanced the design of the work rather well.
  • The photographs above provide an overview of the artistic process as manifest in its technical details. The first two represent the basic form I made for this piece once fired to cone 4. I was in the process of applying underglazes in the bisque state. To apply this underglaze coolr, I both hand-paint and air-brush my design. You are seeing the front and back of the piece.
  • After I finished the underglazes, I used a spray gun and compressor to apply a thin coat of clear glaze on the piece and then fired it to cone 6. The underglaze process is a long one. Each leopard spot is individually painted.
  • While working I was listening to a book on tape by the author, John Irving. I was inspired by his creativity and thus decided it was natural and fitting to entitle the piece Irving's Leopard Teabag in honor of John Irving, the author of "Until I Find You."


  Detailed Views *     

Detailed views shown.

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Hand-building creates ceramic works entirely by the artist's hand or with simple tools. Click to open Glossary. Stoneware is a type of clay that yields hard, durable, nonporous ceramic work by firing at high kiln heat. Click to open Glossary. Porcelain is white stoneware that is used to produce hard, durable, fine-grain, nonporous ceramic works by firing to high temperatures in a kiln. Click to open Glossary. Firing converts soft greenware to hard ceramic state by exposure to high kiln heat. Click to open Glossary. Cone is a pyramid of clay that bends at a specific temperature, used to ensure optimal temperature for a ceramic work being fired in a kiln. Click to open Glossary. Velvet glaze is applied over a prefired glaze to impart a velvet sheen. Click to open Glossary. Clear glaze is a transparent coating applied to the surface of a ceramic work to seal or protect. Click to open Glossary. Refiring is repetitive firing at lower and lower temperatures to prevent damage to prefired glazes. Click to open Glossary. Luster is an overglaze applied over a prefired glaze to impart a metallic sheen. Click to open Glossary. Irving's Leopard Teabag is a ceramic teapot with a leather leopard skin design.