Once upon a time, way back in the 90’s, I was asked to be part of a teapot show, THE TEA PARTY at a Cleveland gallery, now defunct. This allowed me to try out some new forms I was working on, so I made a large black & white slipware tray, cream and sugar, teapot and teacups. In fact, I made 3 full tea sets, one in slipware, one in carved slip and the other in my abstract resist, all three sets finding new homes. Opening night for the Tea Party, what was immediately obvious was how different the participants approach to the same basic idea was. Besides myself, the potters included; Tom Turner, Gail Russell, Bonnie Gordon, Moira Beale and Bob Yost. The range was great from low fire to high fire, porcelain, stoneware and terra cotta, thrown, hand-built and cast. Each person brought their unique skill sets, their personal originality to the “tea table” and the show was all the richer for it.
Before the show, I was familiar with the work of Akron artist, Bob Yost, but when he brought his uniquely hand-built and gas fired pots to the show, I was struck by his approach to clay. The pots were seamed, rolled, folded and quickly assembled reminding me of the old cardboard cut and fold projects. There is a spirited directness and purposeful insight into his pots and the forms are simple, yet animated and filled with personality. His method of glazing only enhanced his directness with clay and his choice of glazes was spot on and allowed the bare clay to be as much as the decoration as is the glazed areas. Illustrated is a teapot and matching cups, hand-built with a carbon trapping feldspar glaze over stoneware. The set is fully functional and wonderfully thought out for use and based on the form, the teapot seems to be in perpetual motion. All in all, a fully functional set that can only add to the experience of anyone’s tea time.
"Originality is nothing but judicious imitation." Voltaire (Francois-Marie d'Arouet 1694-1778)