Thursday, August 19, 2010


After reading Don Piltcher's guest post on Sawdust & Dirt I have been somewhat cautious about what I choose to post here. This has resulted in less frequent posts but I hope better posts. I am not trying to write magazine articles here but I respect a well written post and try my best to contribute something of worth.

I have been making teapots lately. I made a new press mold for the spouts and I like this one a lot better than the previous one. The shape and scale of the spout are much more fitting to the teapots I want to make. The mold itself is also much better, I guess the more you do something the better you get at it.

I also changed the handle a little. I made it wider than past handles as I find that a wider chunkier handle is more comfortable and also more sturdy feeling. I made the handle attachment on the front overlap the seem of the top of the spout. I have had problems with the spout cracking in this area so I figure this will solve that problem. I also like the look of the handle kind of wrapping around the spout. I also made the negative space created by the handle more of an elliptical shape as opposed to round. This reflects the shape of the pot better and also leaves less room for error as with a round handle it is very easy to detect any bumps in the form.

The body of the pot is new as well as the lid and the feet. I have not made teapots for a while so, naturally, I have found lots of new ideas I want to try. I am continuing on a process that I have described several times of working in a sort of evolving series that will eventually 'hopefully' end with my ideal teapot form.

I have been looking at a lot of medieval English/ancient Japanese inspired pottery, such as the pots of Hamada, and Bernard leach. And more recently, Phil Rodgers and Jim Malone. I am finding it hard to incorporate these ideas into my work while still keeping the pots 'simple' enough for an Anagama firing. I find that the best pots, for me, out of any wood firing but especially an Anagama are strong and confident but simple. This minimalist style sort of leaves a blank canvas for the kiln to paint on. With teapots especially, I find it very challenging to have all of the elements of the pot working in harmony in an uncluttered way.

There are countless small details that aid this minimalist style. Several that I have chosen to incorporate into my design are as follows. A press molded spout- Simple, smooth, and flowing design helps to not distract from the pot as a hole. A lid that completes the spherical shape of the pot- Simple, completes the profile, continues the texture to the last 1/16in of the pot.
The pictures are arranged in the order in which they were made. The first teapot is at the bottom and the latest teapot is at the top of the page. On the latest teapot I switched to a handle on the back of the teapot as opposed to the over the top handle. I found that this handle helps to balance out the spout. The line is continued from the tip of the spout down to the bottom of the spout through the teapot to the bottom of the handle and ending in the top of the handle.
I am reasonably happy with the latest teapot, but I have some new ideas which will drastically change the design. I think they are moving in a good direction and I am excited to see how my new ideas translate in to a three dimensional object.


  1. Love what you are doing with the teapots! Looking good!

    Couldn't find your email on here anywhere, so I am posting this request here. I apologize for that.

    I have a question for all of the artists that I follow on my blog list – and any others who may read this through other bloggers.
    As you know from my blog, I have started the new ceramics program at a local high school. One of the projects that I have assigned the students is a ceramic artist research paper. It is a chance for them to see the works of many different potters, with many different styles and types of clay works – from different parts of the world. They have to download 2 pictures of the artists’ work, and email the artist to ask several questions about their work, what influenced their style, the medium they work in, the glazes they used on a particular piece, etc. They only need to write 250 words, but I’m hoping they will end up with much more. Their final project is to create a piece in the same style and construction technique as the artist they choose for their report (in their own personal interpretation of course).
    May I have your permission to steer them to your blog and website to obtain information, and to contact you by email? I would appreciate it immensely, and you would be able to influence this new generation of students in their search for new outlets in the world of art.
    Thanks in advance for reading this post, and for your quick replies.
    Happy Mudding!

  2. I am actually still in highschool myself, but feel free to steer anyone to the blog.

  3. You make lovely pots Matty. I look forward to watching your work develop.