Red Clipper Reassembled Ring Teapot
16" tall by 17" wide by 7" deep
Cone 5 oxidation-fired stoneware
In the various disciplines of science, a "meta-study" is a research project extracting pertinent information from a selection of many, often hundreds or even thousands, of previously completed scientific studies which touch on the same subject matter the researcher is exploring in his or her meta-study project.
In the same vein, I often revisit earlier reassembled ring teapots for inspiration while working on a current teapot. There are so many references to my earlier teapots in Red Clipper Reassembled Ring Teapot, that I am tempted to call it a meta-teapot!
The title "Red Clipper" was suggested to me by my ceramic art colleague Chris Warren, who said the reassembled ring composition reminded him of the wind-filled sails of one of those old clipper ships which plied the high seas before the advent of internal combustion engines.
I started by throwing on the potter's wheel an outward-curving triangular cross-section ring similar to but a little narrower and taller than the ring I made for my Lemon Yellow Triangular Cross-Section Reassembled Ring Teapot. I cut the leather-hard ring into three roughly equal arc sections with upward-sweeping x-acto knife cuts, and joined the 3 sections together like a fan at their rounded ends to the ovoid base, with each arc section curving leftward. This assembly was inspired by Blue Billowing Spinnaker Reassembled Ring Teapot, which also has a boat sail reference in its title, although to a much smaller lake or bay sailing vessel. Additionally, I was drawing inspiration for this assembly and fan-like upright orientation from another aquatic-inspired teapot, Purple Foamy Whitecaps Reassembled Ring Teapot, and finally from Pink-Green Oval Cross-Section Reassembled Ring Teapot.
I built the Red Clipper Teapot spout from slabs, referring back to the spout of Bird Of Paradise Reassembled Ring Teapot. In fact, while I was working on making and attaching the Red Clipper spout, I got out Steve Woodhead's 2005 hardback Teapots book, which features a full-page photo of my Bird Of Paradise Teapot on page 120. I studied the Bird Of Paradise Teapot spout profile for inspiration. I have also used this slab-built spout technique in Sparks Fly Up Reassembled Ring Teapot, Elephant Clouds Reassembled Ring Teapot, and Coral Reef Reassembled Ring Teapot.
I placed the handle to the lower left inside the curved arc, as I had done with the Elephant Clouds Teapot, as well as with the Blue Billowing Spinnaker Teapot.
The final decision I make to complete a reassembled ring teapot is to design and attach the lid finial. I try and add a new sculptural statement, while simultaneously echoing and supporting the sculptural unity of the reassembled ring-handle-spout assembly. First I decide on the lid placement, and cut out a "trapdoor" opening for the lid. Then I sketch possible sculptural solutions for the finial by making trial finial pieces out of clay, often three or more "candidates". Sometimes the finial is a new and different statement, which enhances the completed teapot's presence, but in this case I re-stated the three leftward-curving arc sections of the ring reassembly. This choice echoes the sculptural finial on Purple Foamy Whitecaps Reassembled Ring Teapot. While attaching the lid finial to the trapdoor lid, I added two forward-pointing "prongs," which seemed to echo the sculpted figurehead projecting from the bow of a clipper ship of old--often a mermaid or classically sculpted woman.
I first glazed the completed Red Clipper Reassembled Ring Teapot with our coral glaze, but without first putting on our opaque glossy white glaze, as I had done with Coral Reef Reassembled Ring Teapot. The coral glaze on the brown-tinged clay without the opaque glossy white under it yields a darker red than coral over glossy white, a variation I was aiming for with this teapot. However, I wanted to call attention to all the prominent crisp edges of this sculptural composition, so I used a sharp knife to scrape off the coral glaze from all the edges. I then paint-brushed the opaque glossy white glaze onto all the scraped-off edges. I had used this same edge-enhancing technique with my Midnight Blue Intersecting Arcs Reassembled Ring Teapot. The Red Clipper Reassembled Ring Teapot came through its first glaze firing very much as I had hoped, and I am very proud of this completed sculptural statement!
This teapot is held in a private collection in Aspen, Colorado.
In addition to my unique reassembled ring teapots, my partner Susan Nykiel and I also make a wide range of functional and elegant pottery pieces. Please visit our new online store at oakbluffspottery.etsy.com to see what we have to offer! This is an excellent place to shop for beautiful handmade pottery for your own home or for your gift-giving pleasure.