Thursday, February 7, 2013

Thoughts on teapots

            I've been in the Teapot Zone this week. I have been making lids and spouts and pots, and trying to stick them all together before the smallest parts dry. I've concluded that it's best to make teapots one at a time, since there are so many pieces to chase around.
            In fact, I've been thinking about teapots a lot lately, since I'm working on the orders from the Kickstarter project. I was reluctant to start work on the teapots, but why? I like teapots. They're an interesting kind of pot to play with. Yet, I kept not wanting to get to work on them.
            It goes back to all those little pieces. I counted how many steps it takes for me to make a teapot: eight. It takes eight separate steps to make a teapot with carved decoration before I can dry and fire it. I have to: throw the body of the pot; trim it; throw lid(s); trim lid(s) (sometimes it takes more than one lid to make one that fits); throw spout(s); attach spout; make/attach a handle; then carve the decoration on after all previous steps. Wow! No wonder I can't work on more than one of those at a time without stressing out.
            This is also one of the reasons teapots are expensive for their size. It does take more time to make them than other pots. The maker also needs skill in a variety of areas: throwing and trimming a variety of shapes, hand building for making the handle and attaching the parts together. Only once I've accomplished all these smaller tasks do I get to the fun part - the decorating. (Others have enough fun just making the pot... I make the pot in anticipation of the carvings and colors I add.)
            With bowls, for example, I often spend more time carving an elaborate design into them than I spend throwing and trimming them. Carved bowls only take three steps: throw, trim, carve.With vases, I don't usually need to trim, so I can get right to the surface decoration. Two steps: throw, carve. But teapots take about as long to make as I spend decorating them, or possibly longer!
            Oh, but I do look forward to decorating these teapots. They will be beautiful. I get to carve unicorns and dragons on them! And I'm even going to be working on something new - insects. Yes, that's right - I'm going to put creepy-crawlies on a teapot. It's going to be great. Not any cute little butterflies and ladybugs, either. I'm going to find some awesome insect that doesn't get featured in art as much as it deserves. I'm excited for this custom order! I've gotta get back to work to make the teapot first, though.

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