Why teapots?

April 15, 2019

 

 

I'm working on teapots, taking classes from master potter, Leon Nichols to improve my craftsmanship because at the end of the day I still have a respect for doing things well. Artists today can skimp on craftsmanship. It's no longer necessary to spend forever recreating every bone and muscle to learn how to perfectly render the figure in clay. It's actually hard to find this type of class being offered in a B.F.A program. It's about ideas more than technique. I'm a middle path person in most things including this one. I need to understand enough to not be hindered. I care about craft and work being archival, structurally sound, and even safe, as in that public sculpture shouldn't have a sharp edge that some kid's going to get cut on if it's in a park. 

 

After college, I went to Apex Technical school in NYC and got a certificate in welding technology because I wanted beautiful welds on my sculptures. I didn't want some one looking closely at my work to think they looked like welds on crappy yard art. Maybe it's my German side coming through, if you're going to do something, do it well.

 

So I'm making teapots on the wheel. I'm doing it over and over until I master it. However, everything I make interlaces itself together. The same themes playing off each other. On the teapots, it's snarky takes on feminism and gender roles. I'm not pretending its original, but it makes me happy. These are utilitarian objects and I'm having fun with them. While I learn how to throw larger, make no drip spouts and perfectly fitting lids, I'm relating them to my sculpture: testing decorative techniques and glazes, experimenting with forms and different clay bodies. The teapots may even end up supplementing my income.  Enabling me to continue fulltime as an artist is how I define success.

 

Now the part I hadn't known was that teaware and politics have such a long history, used by abolitionists, american revolutionaries, and suffragettes to further their cause. Women actually gained independence through the tearoom, which was one of the first businesses women were allowed to run and visit by themselves. They were barred from restaurants and coffee shops if they were not with a man for much longer than we realize. Women used the tearooms to organize and work toward their independence. Making my teapots political is just following in the footsteps of the activists before me.

 

For more information follow these links:

 

https://www.laphamsquarterly.org/roundtable/serving-tea-cause​

 

https://colonialquills.blogspot.com/2014/03/18th-century-creamware-rhyme.html

 

https://blog.teabox.com/tea-helped-fight-womens-rights

http://www.famou5.ca/the-story

 

Famous Five Monument in Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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