After playing with drums last week, I decided to have a kettle day. Even though we don't suck down tea like the Brits, there's still a certain 'Holy Grail' aura about the humble teapot. Between the Japanese tea ceremony and Alice's unhinged cohort of hallucinogenic drinking buddies, there's a bodacious legacy burbling out of those spouts.
Before I talk design, however, let me introduce you to my little friend.
She's given me a couple uneasy, bowel churning moments... I'll come to the gate, and she won't recognize me at first. She always figures it out after a hackle-raising, tooth-bared, Grendel-stare-down sort of interlude... and then she tries to lick me to death.
I've made a habit of puckering up and whistling a bar of Le Marseille when I arrive at the yard (perhaps it should be Deutschland über Alles, given the breed... but let's not go there). She now recognizes the tune. The problem is... well... let me show you.
If I go into the shed, she'll whine at the door for hours... or just sit there giving me those Eeyore eyes.
And then there was the day earlier this week when I came to the gate with three unfired tea kettles sitting on a tray (I sometimes take work home to decorate or polish). Exuberant, bounding dog trying to lick my face (with a stick in her mouth no less), and whoop! Smaaaaaaasssh! Two kettles out of three down.
What can I say? I still love her.
Each kettle is assembled from four separate parts (body, spout, lib, handle). Each component takes as long to throw as a single bowl, mug, or vase... so tea pots are seriously committed. (That doughnut-looking thing on the left is a hollow tube I formed on the wheel- I use these to make the handles).
Needless to say, you hate to see these go crunch
The last kettle has a mountain motif... another design that I can whip out with variations. I try to vision unique designs for my larger pieces, but you can't do that for a run of fifty mugs. So... mountains, grayling, octopuses, storm clouds, moonlight on waves... those are the stock images I keep reworking.
I love the vaguely Japanese feel you get with these thrown, arcing handles. I can also say (from experience) that they give you great leverage in the pour. As a congenital, sporadic klutz who's spilled drinks on strangers at parties more than one... let me say that a mighty, high-leverage pouring grip is a good thing.
My first effort (on the left) was fired using Raku. While not exactly an epic fail, I wasn't thrilled with the surface. You have to be careful not to place your Raku wares in the reduction chamber too soon- the still-porous glaze surface will trap carbon.
More importantly, Raku wares leak. When I hooked this baby up to the water pump, our counter was soon swimming in a mini Salton Sea. Thus- I'm left with an unstable, odd-looking multi-tiered planter.
Plus- there were some functional issues (no exit hole for the hose- duh...).
I'm not a big fan of 'white' glazes in general... but what I'd like to do is put found objects (semi-precious stones, fossils, etc.) inside of these vessels to catch the water. A light interior color might mesh better with that.
Eventually, I'd also like to integrate planters for training plants in the designs for these fountains... but that comes later.