Gary's Third Pottery Blog

When the going gets tough, dragons gonna get going....

Gary's third pottery blog

WRITE TO ME! Come see me! Open studio HERE! November 25-26 (11-4 each day); Aurora Art and Design, daily until 12/24; Cooperstown Art Assoc. daily until 12/24; Ellis Hollow Community Fair, 12/10; December 10, Little Red Wagon at the Space at Greenstar. All material on this blog unless stated otherwise is copyright Gary Edward Rith 2016

Thursday, January 29, 2015

"man are you DUMB"

This teaset came outta the kiln yesterday and I was wicked pleased.  I like ridgy pots, I like round pots, they go together very well, I think.

First:  I got heavily into teapots when I was in college and my girlfriend at that time said "nobody should be able to graduate from this program if they can't make a dripless teapot", this after a demonstration of a senior whose teapot looked like a malformed rock and left more tea on the table than into the cup. Since then, I have made MANY teapots.  They pour pretty well.....

Dumb?  OK, I am gonna talk about my NOT BEST self.  The other day at an online Q and A forum someone new to pottery asked "Why do any of us make teapots?  They are so difficult, nobody probably ever buys them, and are you s'posed to put them on the stovetop to heat water or just pour hot water in?"

I WAS LIKE (to myself only) "Argggggggh, you are SO dumb! The schools are worse than I thought and there is something in America's tapwater or gene pool that is making us all STUPID!"

Now, that is not very nice of me.  I like to try to be compassionate, I am a Quaker, which by the very definition we are FRIENDLY AND LOVING.  So please excuse my first nasty response, which I never published (...except here and now...).

I LOVE teapots and make them all the time, and sell them all the time too.  YES, teapots sell.  They give you a chance to do something special.  Why make a stack of brown bowls, boring as hell, when I can sit there fiddling with a special teapot?  And people pay for them, admire them, use them, love them. Some men like to show off the HUGE pots they can make...well, I like to make a pretty teapot.
So, if you practice and learn, there is no reason they are any harder to make than anything else. And yes, people buy them.  AND if you are a potter and know clay, how could you ask if you set a clay teapot on the stovetop to heat water?  Of course you don't.  That is a metal tea kettle.  You put a little hot water into the ceramic teapot, swirl it to warm it, then your tea leaves or bags, then fill with almost boiling water and steep.  The necessity and function of teapots go back to a time when a)  there were no teabags, so you brewed leaves in a pot and b) you were making multiple cups, for the family and guests, just like today's glass coffee pot:  it is a way to make a bunch of cups at once, for many people.
Other cultures have slightly different ways of making tea, but there you go.

Teapots also have become a chance for potters to make something special or whimsical, maybe not even used but a showpiece.

SO, these days, teapots are not always needed by the average American family with a coffee machine or teabags, but they are good for serving a nice afternoon gathering, or the whole family, or just being pretty and ornamental.


Caroline said...

Lucky no one heard me while I was reading this because I literally snorted while laughing when I read the "which I never published" bit. That aside, the word whimsical certainly is an excellent description for teapots. Whether or not they get used, people love looking at them. I don't think you could have a negative thought while looking at one. (Unless it was that malformed one that leaks.)

smartcat said...

Great response, Gary! I kept my mouth shut on that particular post because I didn't want to get snarky!
Love the tea set. The cool color is so right for our snowy weather

Hilary said...

That's a very nice set. I do like the idea of a teapot... even if it's for a single cup.

bartster said...

Lotsa tea drinkers where we live. Having tea is a social event akin to having a coffee together. So your comments seem spot on. I have to admit I've only attempted a couple of tea pots; one of which is rather cute but pours very badly!

Michèle Hastings said...

I get a lot of chuckles from that particular forum ;-)
The teapot on the stove comment reminded me of this story; I was visiting a friend and she showed me a couple of pots that she purchased from Salmon Falls, the place that Jeff and Jz worked. She was very disappointed that the teapot she bought cracked the first time she heated it on the stove! I guess there are more people than we realize that don't know the difference between a teapot and a tea kettle.

soubriquet said...

Interesting post, Gary. I too love making teapots. I hope I can persuade Texans that teapots are necessary!
And I must confess I mostly make tea directly in a mug. Despite having lots of teapots.

Barbara Rogers said...

Making tea a ceremony, or social ritual, these cultural traditions need to be taught along with the "how to" of making tea pots. I had a ceramics teacher trained in the Japanese art of Tea Ceremony, and she gave us a long demonstration of it. Since then I am eager to participate in any tea ceremonies...such a beautiful sharing of the participants. And of course the Downton Abby gang are showing us all how much fun the Brits tradition is.
Tea Rooms are back in popularity around here! YAY teapots.

Lori Buff said...

I have a customer who has become a friend. He loves my teapots and buys one every year. I love this because it means I HAVE to make each one a little different. They are fun to make and help keep us thinking creatively.
You’re teapots are great, you love making them, people love having them. That’s why you make them.

Momma Fargo said...

Oh you made me giggle with your snarky humor. Love the teapots. I have two of yours and I never grow bored of them. They are great when the mother in law comes because she has her tea and I have mine. Plus...they are beautiful art.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

I repeat: I do not come across very nicely here, sorry, but DANG, what person becomes a potter without knowing a little about teapots....?

sddonlon said...

LOL!! I started a collection of teapots years before I started throwing pots. I just like the variety and beauty. I must admit, after hearing so many potters complain how difficult they are, how time consuming, and not cost efficient, I've not tried a teapot. Except a hand built dragon. He doesn't count. ;D

Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen said...

AND if you are a potter who makes lovely teapots with lids that fit and that do not drip, you will quickly have friends who buy your teapots! Teapots plural. I am proof of that. Of course, I also have a huge drawer full of tea in my kitchen...

Anonymous said...

Here here! Cheers for the teapot!

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I am a full-time studio potter, sculptor, and dog walker, married to superhawt Missus Tastycake.