I am making teapots to go to an exhibition in Shanghai. The Year of the Dragon will start in 2012, so I am making dragon teapots. My concept is to draw angular dragons twisting around smooth, rounded teapot contours. So, first I have to make the teapots. I'm using a porcelain clay.
Whether you make a teapot on the wheel or by handbuilding, it's essentially handbuilt - because there is so much fitting and attaching of the various parts. I like to handbuild anyway, so I've minimized the wheel part - I just used the wheel to get a nice, round form.
I find it takes time and concentration to make these pieces. I don't find the process easy.
I threw basic, round forms on the potter's wheel. These are about 3 to 4 inches tall, which will be a full size teapot in Shanghai. On the right, I've hand trimmed the bottoms; on the left, it's still to be done.
The next step is making spouts and handles. The handles are rolled coils. The spouts are made by piercing a short coil with a pointed dowel, then rolling it on the table.
The spouts and handles are on now. There's a lot of attaching and smoothing involved.
And the lids are on. Each lid is pinched and then fitted with an inner flange that will keep the lid from falling off when the teapot is tilted. The decoration on the lids refers to some of the Chinese dragon traditions. Chinese dragons are sometimes shown with a flaming pearl (which is perhaps a source of heavenly strength). Chinese dragons also have strong associations with the number 9.