This month at the Potters Place is… well… if you must know, it is a bit of a surprise.
Every month as you may well know by now, we have a special feature. Either one of our local artist puts on a special display of pottery in the front window, or we have a guest artist from some wonderful out of town potter. Well this month we are inviting you to come by and see some new work by many of our resident potters.
There are new designs and pottery bursting out of our kilns, inspired by spring. Here in the Comox Valley, the daffodils are standing tall and the trees are even starting to show signs of leaves beginning.
We are all in our studios making wonderful new works and we’d just love you to come by, bring a friend and enjoy what we are up to.
See you in March – And come back and visit here for updates about next months feature artist Anne Marie Veale.
A TEA POT FILLED WITH LOVE at The Potters Place during February 2015
What is really in your Tea Pot?
The latest survey results have just been published and the findings are absolutely, undeniably the most unexpected results from the research team comprised of Canadian, European, Asian, South Asian and American researchers, just to name a few. The survey was an analysis of Teapots in almost every country in the world, and it is very clear, though never documented or disclosed until now… The main ingredient contained in a Teapot is … Are you sitting down?
Okay, maybe the Potters at The Potters Place in Courtenay are telling only a half-truth here. You are right, there was no recent study conducted, nor article or findings published with regards to Teapots, but… nonetheless… We all know that LOVE IS exactly what you find in every handmade Teapot.
During the month of February at the Potters Place, Teapots will be exhibited in our FEATURES window. We are having our annual Teapot Show.
Close your eyes for a moment, imagine your grandmother and you sitting down and sharing a cup of tea together, telling her some important news, or asking her some important question and watching her sip her tea. She takes a quiet breath in, then looks at you with loving, knowing eyes and says… it’ll all be okay my dear. When did you last do that together? Was it last month, or last year, or perhaps it was over 60 years ago. Remember her looking at you with all that love, and just sharing that perfect moment with her and a pot of tea.
Keep your eyes closed for another moment and see yourself with your best friend, or your neighbour, your partner, husband or wife. See yourself taking time from the busyness around you to boil the water, steep the tea, pour it and prepare it just the way you like. Sharing a pot of tea often includes an act of “connection”; of taking a moment for yourself and for each other. How many smiles have you shared over a cup of tea. If you skype or facetime with friends and family far away, do you make a pot of tea first so you can settle in for a ‘long one’?
Now… all that love has to be held in something that functions well too.
There is a lot that goes into the making of a handmade Teapot. It is quite a lengthy process and there are many components that have to work together in order for your teapot to feel good and pour well. Below are just a few:
1. Wedge several pounds of clay together the way you kneed dough. Separate the clay into 3 sections – the body, the lid and the spout. Wedge more clay for the handle… more on that later.
2. Throw on a potters wheel or hand-build the body with an appropriate seat for the lid to rest in or on. This body must not be too thick or weighty, because once filled with hot liquid, it will be even heavier and uncomfortable to handle hot.
3. Make a lid that will not fall off the pot when you tilt/pour your tea. There may be a deeper inset on the lid, or a tab to secure the lid under the seat of the pot to catch the lid from falling off, or there may be point of contact like a knob or touchstone for the user to hold onto to keep the lid in place. Cut a hole in the teapot lid for aiding the ease of pouring.
4. A handle may be attached on the side of the pot opposite the spout or may be attached overhead. The handle may be made from clay, or from bamboo, or other woods. The placement and size of the handle must be very carefully considered. An ill designed handle can make a teapot very uncomfortable to hold and pour. A potter needs to consider the fulcrum – or find the balancing point so that the teapot is comfortable to hold and pour. Wedge the appropriate amount of clay, “pull’ a handle until it is the desired thickness and length – (PULLING is a technical pottery term and it can resemble letting a dog or cats tail pass through your hand in an almost fist position many many times)
5. The attachment of the handle is a whole other piece. If it is an overhead handle, there must be consideration, making certain there is enough space for the lid to fit without touching the handle, enough space to get both a hand in to remove the lid, and free access to fill the teapot with water and enough space for your hand to clean the interior of the teapot. A clay handle may be a coil, a slab, extruded, or “pulled”.
6. There may be a choice by the potter to add a ‘balancing lug’ or mini handle near the spout so that both hands may be used to help balance and pour hot tea.
7. The spout – This can be thrown or hand-built. If thrown on a potter’s wheel, the placement on the teapot must take into consideration the torque or spin that occurred during the throwing process. During the firing process in the kiln, the spout will continue to twist slightly as if it were still going round and round on the potter’s wheel. This will show up after the firing with the end of the spout being in a slightly different position than it was in when it was originally attached to the pot. This can be confusing, and something that a potter needs to take into consideration when attaching a spout to a teapot. The potter needs to make allowances for the continuation of the spin. The spouts opening or end, also must be positioned high enough above the “fill water mark” so that the tea pot doesn’t start pouring, before you do. Several holes or one large hole needs to be cut through the body at the spout connection to allow for an easy flow of water, but also needs to take into consideration tea bags, tea leaves, and the turbulence of the water stream. You want the tea to pour out nicely, not glug glug glug out. You also don’t want the tea bags or tea leaves to stop the flow of water out. The inside of the spout must be crafted in such a way as to encourage free flow.
8. The attachment of the spout to the body may be obvious with something that may look like a seam where the spout and the body meet, or it may be blended together making it look like one piece.
9. The lid and the seat of the body where the lid sits need to be waxed in order to repel any glaze or the two parts will fuse together during the firing.
This is only a brief summary of what goes into making a handmade teapot.
As always, we thank you, our community for your ongoing support. We at the Potters Place are committed to bring you and your visitors, beautiful handmade local pottery at affordable prices.
If you heard Stuart McLean of the Vinyl Café recently here at the Sid Williams theatre, you know that he absolutely loves The Potters Place and knows what an amazing treasure we have right here in the Comox Valley!
Come see “A Tea Pot Filled With Love”. A beautiful assortment of teapots made by local potters right here in the Comox Valley, as our FEATURE throughout February 2015
The Potters Place is located at the Potters Courtyard, in the cultural heart of Downtown Courtenay. 10 – 5 pm Monday-Saturday.
Parking located at rear of the building along the fence.