Monday, May 18, 2009

Teapots, the Wee Kirk, and glazing

On Saturday evening I made all the parts for two more teapots.

Here I am making a teapot lid on my kick wheel.

The next day I pulled out some clay to make handles, and put them on their sides to dry a little (they look like headless snakes!).

I usually make a couple of spare lids, and pick the best one for the pot. The spout is thrown on the wheel as an open ended cylinder which I taper down towards the narrow end as I pull it up.

When I am ready to assemble the pot, I cut the spout at an angle with a length of thin wire.

I then test fit it to the teapot.

Once I am sure it looks a good match for the pot, I lightly score a line around the spout where it will join onto the pot.

Then I remove the spout,

and make the strainer holes in the teapot body. I am using an umbrella spoke here to make the hole and to remove the little plug of waste clay.

Once all the holes are made, I replace the spout after first scoring the pot and spout in the area where the join will be made, and smearing the area with a thin slurry of clay water.
After that I add the handle, sponge off any blobs, scratches and bumps, and stand back to admire my handiwork!

I actually managed to make a rare appearance at church this weekend. A most enjoyable and thought provoking service.

The church is Presbyterian, but I think that, if you surveyed the congregation, you would find that many come from other backgrounds entirely, such as Anglican, Methodist, Apostolic, and so on.

The church is the Presbyterian church at Karitane, which is a village by the sea about 5 minutes down the road from us. Waikouaiti and Karitane are in the same parish.

I have been speeding up the drying of my teapots by putting them on wire racks on top of a bookcase, in the room that has our wood stove.

Today I have been sorting through some bisqued pots and getting them ready to glaze for a firing in my wood fired kiln. This is about a quarter of the work, there are also large bowls of 15 to 17 inches diameter, some cups and other small things, and a dozen teapots. Not sure quite how much I will be able to fit in the kiln, but it is best too much than too little.


Arkansas Patti said...

Peter, I just love these teaching segments. A lot of the "wonder how they do that" questions are being answered and your explanations are very clear. You are a natural teacher. Thanks

tsbroome said...

I really like the shape of your teapots. Thanks for the construction post, it has me thinking I need to make more teapots. I usually make about one a month, if that. I really like making them but never have enough days in a row to get to the parts before they all dry out. I'm going to have to do something about that I think!

Linda Starr said...

What a great demonstration; your lids fit so perfectly. How do you figure out what angle to cut the spout? Mine always seem to be off. Cant wait to see all your work when it comes out of your wood kiln. You definitely have your work cut out for your glazing all you have made.

Peter said...

Thanks for the encouragement Patti, Tracey, and Linda. It is quite fun putting a little sequence of photos together to try and show how things are made (and a challenge for a person like myself to actually remember to take photos at appropriate times, you may notice that there were no photos of pulling and attaching the handle... um, I forgot!).

I usually make a little series of teapots when I do them, never more than 6 at a time though as I am rather slow at the assembly stage and end up with a horribly long session trying to put them all together the day after I have thrown them. I find that a little series is very helpful, as I am always trying to learn from every one that I do, and it is useful for thinking through problems of proportion, form, balance, and the like.

The angle to cut the spout is largely imagination and guesswork. I try to visualize what the spout will look like, and then boldly slice and hope. I usually make a few spare spouts that vary a bit in size and shape so that I can select the most appropriate one and , if and when I get one wrong, I can have another try.

doug Fitch said...

Wow, you've been busy, it'll be exciting to see all that bisc come through the kiln. Great sequence shots, I need to make some teapots and I've been avoiding doing them - maybe this will give me the necessary kick up the backside. Cheers D

Pat - Arkansas said...

Fascinating! The anatomy of a teapot; I loved it! The older I get, the more interest I have in how things are made. Thank you for sharing photos of the process.

I love the word "kirk," and the combination "wee kirk" is even better.

Happy week to you!

Peter said...

Thanks for your comments, Doug and Pat, lovely to hear from you both. Goodness Doug, I doubt if a chap as productive as you in the potting department needs a "kick up the backside", but it would be really nice to see what you come up with with teapots. I wonder how a puzzle teapot would go, something like your lovely puzzle jugs?

Regarding "wee kirk" Pat, Dunedin (half an hour's drive to the south of us) was very much a Scottish city, in fact the street names are the same as those that are in Edinburgh, Scotland (thus I delighted in using "wee kirk" for little church). Further South of Dunedin, there is a noticeable change in accent. The letter R is rolled, and some words are pronounced in a Scottish way. Rather nice I think.