Wednesday, February 1, 2012


When I think about teapots, I think of all of the engineering and construction issues and opportunities. Even a simple thrown round teapot, poses issues of spout and handle placement, making sure the lid stays on when pouring, making sure the liquid doesn't pour out the lid as well as the spout, well you get the idea, there is quite a few things to think about. From my perspective, there is a fairly steep learning curve regarding teapots and even with the best of teachers and examples, some teapots are just not going to make the cut.

In making teapots, there are two distinct approaches that spring to mind, the first is the finessed form. Jeff Oestriech's thrown and constructed teapots (from the 1990's) are a very good example of this where the shapes and lines created, almost as pure geometry, are finessed to create simple and elegant form, as if the pot is in distinct motion. The second approach is the engineered form of which Bruce Cochrane is an excellent example. Many of his teapots from the 90's were made of thrown cylinders, extensively fluted with a base added and a top made by using the body as a temporary hump mold. Everything revolves around the fluted body, engineered to accentuate and mimic the various elements of the pot, right down to the handle.

Illustrated is a fluted form teapot by Canadian potter, Bruce Cochrane. The pot is a wonderfully engineered piece with a simple yellowish ash glaze over porcelain, with slight wood fired effects. At a certain level, this pot may seem baroque in inspiration, but as you study the pieces and the whole, there is nothing out of place or superfluous, it is simply narrating its story through line and curve to best fulfill its function while tempting the eye for another cup of tea.

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