An unexpected burst of inspiration occurred a couple of days ago and I decided to make a little teapot. The unusual thing about it (from my point of view) is that it’s hand-built rather than thrown. I don’t usually hand-build unless the items are too tiny or complicated to throw on a wheel. So this little teapot came as a bit of a surprise.
I started off with a small lump of stoneware and began making a shallow pinch pot in the palm of my hand. Once I had my base, I started adding height using thin, even coils. Then my natural impatience kicked in and I decided to roll out a couple of chunky slabs about an inch or two ‘high’ and build up the wall. These were completely random shapes (like you get if you roll out a ball of clay with a rolling pin) but I jig-sawed these together quickly and discovered that the unevenness gave me all kinds of ideas for the form – which was just as well, since I started with no idea about what the teapot was going to look like. So the little pot seemed to grow all by itself.
Once I had the body roughly made, I rolled out a small slab and cut a rough circle for a lid. I made a flattened coil and curled this into a smaller circle and attached it to the lid to act as a small flange, which should help keep the lid in place once fitted on the teapot. A random triangular slab curled into a cone-like tube was all I used for the spout, and I cut just one hole into the body of the pot for pouring. (I’ve yet to see how successful one hole is compared to the usual ‘strainer’ design.)
And at first that was supposed to be the finish. I had an idea that because the teapot was so tiny it could be a ‘tip’ teapot which you gripped just with your hand to pour. But after thinking about it I decided it wouldn’t look balanced - so I tried two different handle designs. The first was a ‘pulled’ handle with a nice, smooth shape - but the style of it seemed to conflict with the ‘hand-built’ feeling. So in the end I made a flattened coil and attached this which seemed to match the mood of the thing much better.
Anyway, after a bit of cleaning up, this little teapot was finished. Totally unexpected – but I’m pleased with the result. And it’s given me lots of new ideas too which I’m looking forward to playing about with. Obviously it pays to try something you don’t normally do now and then!