Monday, February 21, 2011

Making teapots, mixing glazes ...

Given that it's snowing here on Cape Cod, the temperatures have gotten down into the single digits, and no one seems to be coming to my gallery (big surprise), I thought that I ought to make a few teapots while I had the time. Now ... I don't much like making teapots, mostly because I do it so seldom that it's like learning each step all over again. And you have to let the pot body dry enough to be stable and able to drill the tea filter holes before putting on the spout. But it can't be too dry, otherwise the spouts and handles will not adhere properly. And you need to carefully gauge the hole for the lid, so that if you're making eight teapots you don't have eight different widths, consequently having to make eight different widths of lid ... and on and on and on and on.
And I hate making lids ... don't ask. I know, if I did this kind of thing all the time, it wouldn't be new to me each time. And maybe, like a trainable pot-making chimp, I would learn the routine and stop whining. I was on Skype with potter Angela Walford in Australia, the day I assembled the teapots, and I told her I much prefer cups - center 'em, throw 'em, trim a foot, out the door.
I still feel that way. How all you wonderful potters make these fabulous and beautiful teapots and enjoy it ... and then SELL THEM ... is completely beyond me.
OK, enough whining. I did trim footrings on all these side-handle pots, which makes them lift up and gives them some airiness. That's something I've just started to do on teapots. And after much frustration trimming the cutoff waste on lids, I decided I would make these little tiny chucks to hold the lids stable while I trimmed. Damned if it didn't work. See, I'm trainable ...
Now, back to sieving the seven glazes I mixed yesterday and hydrated today. Firing Wednesday or Thursday.


11 comments:

cookingwithgas said...

they are fussy pots but once you look at them as "fun" you can enjoy them.
I once told Mark to just make bodies first- lots of bodies with lids- play with those and then move over to making a few as teapots- add spouts and handles.
They don't all have to be teapots.
And you drill the hloes!
not me I do the one hole and let it go- I am not into making life too hard- but then again- I am a bit lazy-
Hollie- we are having 68* days..... I am going out to stand in the sun JUST FOR YOU!

Hollis Engley said...

Well ... I appreciate the effort, Meredith, but if you could get the sun UP HERE WHERE I CAN SEE IT ... maybe I'd feel better. 68, wow!
As to teapots, I was trained in that particular little thing by Dan Finnegan, who never, ever, ever, ever makes a teapot without the little filtering holes. English, you know ... loose tea.

ang said...

would you believe I make every single one individuals...one lid to it's own teapot...i did count there are 9 pieces to my assembled teapots and yes little holes to strain your tea... :)) nice chatting Hollis

Tracey Broome said...

I love this style of teapot but they are hard for this lefty to use! No one makes them for lefties! I'm with you, hate making lids...

nick friedman said...

Hollis, are you throwing your lids off the hump? I find that good use of an undercutting tool off the hump leaves very little left to trim--usually just a button the size of a quarter which will be covered with a knob.

Hollis Engley said...

Thanks, Nick. Yes, I'm throwing them off the hump. Cutting them off leaves them a bit heavy at the top, plus I'm adding a knob of some sort, so I trim them up a bit to make way for the knob. This little chuck seems to work pretty well, at least this time.
Tracey, I am lefthanded as well, and have had to adapt to using the righthanded teapot. I guess I could make myself a lefthanded one, but Dee is the one who ends up using them most and she's righthanded.

Michèle Hastings said...

well hello fellow lefties!!!!!!!!!! we are always having to remember how righties use things... really screws us up sometimes (at least me that is).
i love side handled teapots, although i have never made one, jeff makes them all the time. and i really hate making lids but i do love the fun of assembling parts. i think the frustrating thing for me is that i have been in relationships with two production potters who make all lids the same size... never any doubt about fit. i guess it is one of the benefits of throwing production. consistency... of which i am lacking :-( ... ok... i am rambling on now. good night.

jbf said...

Really like your side-handled form. I agree, there are a lot of steps in tea pots, but isn't it all about the process anyway? Can't wait to see them fired.

TropiClay Studio said...

Don't feel bad Hollis, I have had some of my mugs that right handed people won't use. I guess I just made them to fit my hand (left), and never thought about it. Guess I should try and get them more usable by both?

cookingwithgas said...

Seems we need a lid day- come on over and we will make lids!
Of course should be fun with a room full of lefties!

Hollis Engley said...

Thanks, Meredith. I'll be right over.