For the fourth installment of my Ceramics Art and Perception reading, I found myself particularly drawn to Quietly Continuing- The Teapots of Tineke van Gils, by Anthony E Stellaccio. These teapots are made of porcelain from Dehua, China, and the main characteristics of this clay is that it has an extremely short working time. It is so un-plastic, that any wet working must happen quickly and precisely, and then be done. This is a striking disparity against what van Gils work ends up looking like. The teapots in the article are beautifully fluid, luxurious, and pristine. This, accompanied by the author’s description of van Gils as a joyful thrower, is a wonderful result. In thinking about this relative to our themes this semester: origins and identity, this is such a lovely combination- taking something fundamentally (originally) unworkable, and giving it a fluid and beautiful life (identity).
Not only could that be a metaphor for life, but these teapots are just plain gorgeous as well. Teapots are one thing I have thoroughly enjoyed making, but have never found a voice in, and these are very inspiring in that regard. Looking at the photos in the article, the swooping handles, spry spouts, and precisely altered bodies all combine to show van Gils joy in throwing, and belie the difficulty of the clay. I could look at these all day and see some new detail to find joy in every time.