Friday, April 18, 2014

India or China?

I inherited this unusual vintage pot from my husband's family. I'm guessing from the design, it was made around 1920-30.

The divided pot was so the hostess could offer her guests either tea from or China.  Very elegant, yes?

Beside the Twinspout Tea Master make, Hall Tea company made a lot of teapots that look like this, although they were usually those were made without two chambers.

The last time I checked, this pot is worth around $200.00 because it is in perfect condition.

The spot on the foot is a kiln mark where the foot stuck to the shelf and therefore forgivable.

So once the pot is filled with tea, how do you tell which side has which tea? 

There are very subtle 'touch and sight' clues that aren't apparent at first sight.

The handle has very slight ridges over one spout.
And you can barely see an impressed arrow on the left-hand galley pointing to one chamber. It is the chamber closest to the ridged side of the handle.

Also, you would think the lid would fit no matter which way you put it on. But it only fits one way. The clue is also a subtle arrow impressed into the claybody.
Next time you see one of these in an antiques store, check it out.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

More Teapots

I haven't seen this book yet, but I'm sure it's as good as the first one.


Ann Hirondale's two pots. I never get tired of looking at these.

She offered a great class some years ago.

These pots are surprisingly light when you pick them up.

Unfortunately, I don't know who made this beauty.

Or this one, but it looks like a commercial pot. Nice shape all the same.
A Fine Mess Pottery.

A gaggle of teapots?

No, that's geese.

Maybe a Twitter of Teapots.

These last two are by Sequoia Miller.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Teapots, Teapots, Teapots

I love looking at teapots.

While cleaning out my 'dirty old computer' (that commercial just cracks me up) I ran across a file of nothing but teapots.  Enjoy!

By my friend, Gayle Bair, absolutely beautiful work.

Lisa Quals

Haven't figured out the spout, though. 

Meryl Ruth
I'd love to see one of her pots for real.

By Nils Lou

This silver pot is in the Renwick Museum in Washington, D.C.  Sometimes silver pieces can be great inspiration for potters. I love the handle.  And the handmade look of it.

Unfortunately, I don't know who make this lovely thing.  Beautiful positive and negative space and symmetry.

Tiny Tea, one of mine.
Tim Storey

Sunday, March 30, 2014


I've just been reading an interesting discussion on CLAYART* email about selling on Etsy.  Some potters evidently are doing well--especially if they are offering those "Make your Rent" kinds of things that sell for around $20.00.

Even though it rankles me to do it too, I have also make those little kiln-fillers for sale. I'm not saying anything about individual's potter's choices. I'm speaking for myself totally.

As a matter of fact, it always amazes me that a lot of show patrons will buy several little things like this when, at the end of the day, they could have spent the same amount and come away with a single treasure.

Anyway, back to the discussion.

It seems that I've heard this kind of sales song before. Those who make the "Make your Rent" stuff and work out a simple plan are doing okay. But, like shows, it's patchy. And, it seems, the fees for listing, and other special features can add up in a hurry.

Shows offer space at a price. Shows attract buyers. Artists set up booths and sell their work and if they are lucky, they make a profit. Seems like the same thing happens with sites like eBay and Etsy. The venue is offered, artists make stuff and the promoters are the ones who really make the money.

There must be a better way.

*CLAYART is an international discussion group open to potters, suppliers, etc. of all things clay. If you want more details, comment and I will send you the information. I learn something new every time I read it.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Piping and Sideboys

The following post has absolutely nothing to do with ceramics or clay or art.  It is the result of my cousin sending me an email about Navy traditions and our shared experience of spending years associated with same. And this reminded me of a bunch of experiences. So please indulge me. 

Piping and Sideboys on Navy ships

The custom of 'piping' a distinguished visitor 'over the side' dates to the time of wooden ships when senior officers would come alongside in their small launches. As the launch approached, the ship Boatswain, who was a warrant or petty officer in charge of the ship's deck crew, rigging, cables and anchors, would use his bos'n call to muster a party of men to assist the senior officer coming aboard.

 Hence, the term "piping."  

He arrived at the quarterdeck, the ship's 'front door' and assembled a working party of sailors to take their stations on either side of the senior officer who would be lifted from the launch via a 'sling'. The sling would be lowered to the launch; the officer would be strapped in and hoisted to the quarterdeck of the ship.  

As the seniority of the officer was often an indicator of his bulk, the more senior the officer, the larger the number of men would be assigned to hoist him up  and lift him "over the side"

 The more senior the officer, the more likely the bulk. Hence more sideboys were needed to assist him onboard. The same operation in reverse was performed whenever the officer returned to his launch.

Today, distinguished visitors are not hoisted aboard ship, but the sideboys and the piping functions still remain.

The above reminded me of the odd experience of being "piped" aboard a ship.  And my resultant wonderment about whether my experience was a singular one or not. I still don't know. 

The other memory this little article spurred was the fact that before leaving Japan, I bought a nice Boatswain's pipe just as a souvenir. 

It lay in a drawer for some years until we moved to a beach community. Our children had lots of room to run, but were difficult to call home in a place where the sea roared and the wind blew nearly all the time. 

The perfect solution was for me to stand on the front deck of our house and blow the Boatswain's pipe. The sound carried perfectly.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Christa Assad

Christa Assad needs help.

This talented potter has had a disastrous house fire and has been injured in the process. Her friends have arranged this website and raffle to raise money to help her on the long road to recovery. 

The site is clearly laid out and if you choose to contribute, note which piece you would like to win by writing the artist's name in the comments section in the contribution process where you place your name and comments.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Puzzle Jugs

Check out this outstanding video that explains how to make a puzzle jug.

Definitely want to try my hand at this some day.

Friday, January 24, 2014


Angry Cat - Quick brush drawing using stain.

Sorry I haven't posted anything for a while....Life has an uncanny way of interfering with, well, Life--- A lot of 'outer' life has interrupted 'inner' life for the moment and I don't have a full studio to work with yet..........let alone a full deck.

Badda bam.

We sold our house. And the building my studio was in. And we moved it ALL into a smaller house.

Nuff said?  I've been sorting, shuffling, packing, donating, unpacking sorting, moving, repacking, selling, ever since. You'd think I would lose some weight, wouldn't you?

Come spring, it's going to be one big garage sale, I can tell you.

So, in the meantime, I am doing some research and a lot of thinking and writing; just not a lot of art.  Do I need to say it's a bit frustrating?

I am, however, working toward getting a studio reassembled and also on designing renovations for the new house.

See you soon.......

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Using Architecture as Inspiration

I once took a Lana Wilson workshop on building boxes. She is an expert and I learned a lot.

I searched for an image of one of the boxes on the web and couldn't find any. But I remember it vividly.  At first glance, the finished piece looked like a standing sculpture with applied panels and images. But those of us who watched her build it, we knew that each feature hid a secret compartment.

A flat panel with a face sculpture applied to it slid out to reveal a drawer. Rotating to the back revealed a window, as in this piece, but the window was really the backside of another drawer located on the front behind another panel.

I also recall a jewel box that had what looked like a raised column on the lid, but if you  pulled it up, you found that the column was really a long compartment that fitted into the lid. 

I've had a photo like this one in my files for years---because I want to build a complex box sculpture based on Tibetan monasteries.

I want to make little secret compartments and hidden drawers, lids that don't look like lids that open, pull-up pieces that conceal hidden chambers, sliding panels and surprises.

It's fun to just sit and diagram or plot out designs.

How many hidden rooms and passages do you suppose are in here, if at all?

Monday, October 28, 2013


Featured Tiles:  I like to think of this set of tiles as an example of relationships:

The tile on the left is the opening statement:  "This is what I am; This is the standard."

The tile on the right is a variation or response:  It takes the example of the above and elaborates as if it were saying, "I accept your statement and respond. I am an elaboration of you." Or, "I see your bid and raise you one."

Also working in this design dynamic is the shape and strong black framing of both tiles, bouncing the eye back and forth toward the center. The outer curves work in the same way, leading the eye back and forth between the tile: The left tile has a larger outer margin on the far left; the right tile sweeps toward the far right border, but a similar strong outer border on the right and the strong vertical in the center of the image stops the eye at the far right. 

The tree-like center designs are isolated as images, but relate to each other in motion toward the center, also bouncing the eye back and forth, yet slowing the flow by corresponding dark verticals.

How wide the center division between the two tiles is also important. If hung too widely apart, this dynamic would not work as well.

I don't think these things as I am working. These design elements are almost subconscious and are part of an artist's "eye". They either look right or they don't.

This same back and forth happens a lot in music:  Theme and Variation and so it can be in clay.

So, what do you think is going on here?

These guys are fun to move around to get different impressions.