Time for teapots!

Time for teapots!

 

 

Teapots are the ultimate pottery skills challenge…. I must say, I have a love hate relationship with the processes involoved! The prospect of making another teapot is always exciting but, they take a long time and it’s a balancing act. The different componants must fit together perfectly. As the first picture below illustrates, there’s a spout, the main body and a lid, these are all hand thrown as seperate componants. A hole is cut out  and the spout attached. Lastly it needs a handle. All of these bits and pieces need to be placed correctley. It’s really important for a teapot that pours well, is comfortable to hold and look fab!

hand thrown teapots at the assembling stage wheel thrown by sarah monk ceramics
slipware teapot with fruit lid by sarah monk ceramics
scribble hand thrown teapot by sarah monk ceramic

Once all parts are assembled and I’m satisfied it will feel good my attention turns to the character of my teapot. Teapot making gives me a great oppotunity to have fun. I look at the teapot from all angles, taking into consideration it’s shape and size. My most recent designs have splashes and splatters of colour and lively sgrafitto drawing. Designing a lid is most special, just like putting a topper on a wedding cake! The finishing touch.

My first set of teapot designs were bright yellow! (see below) I have made quite a few querky teapots over the years. They’ve have ended up in lifestyle magazines, ceramics books and museum collections.

yellow earthenware teapot with red fruit design made by sarah monk 1995
yellow pottery teapot with green bugs hand thrown and decorated by sarah monk ceramics
Slipware hand thrown teapot & teacups by studio potter sarah monk made at her pottery studio eastnor pottery ledbury herefordshire

Featured in this blog are my most recent designs. Teapots just like these can be found in my online shop. I only make 2 or 3 a year and they go very quickly!

Contemporary Ceramics Centre

Contemporary Ceramics Centre

Throwback to June 2018, I was dragging a suitcase of my most recent slipware across London…

Contemporary Ceramics Centre  had invited me to exhibit and I was excited to meet the staff again. ‘Ceramics Centre’, as it’s also known, is run by the Craft potters Association (CPA) of which I have been a member for over twenty years.  It’s the only retail gallery in the whole of London that specialises in British Studio Ceramics.

 

sarah monk delivering her work to contemporary ceramics centre with a wheelie suitcase
a selection of sarah monk ceramics on a display table at contemporary ceramics centre
official logo of the craft potters association of great britain

I was taking part in the makers rotation, which changes every three months. This is such a great idea as there is an ever changing selection of work by CPA members.  It was a great opportunity for me to showcase and develope a whole new range of breakfast ware that I had been developing. I wrote all about it on the Contemporary Ceramics blogspot.

Here are a few pieces I selected to send at the time!

Photo credit: Kirsty Pye

slipware hand thrown slipware cheese dish with cheese and fruit
hand thrown slipware colander bowl with fresh peaches plus a slipware pottery spoon oin blue and white
a stack of three slipware bowls in white and terracotta slipware with some fresh radishes

I have been invited back January 2021. It’s a fab gallery with longstanding, friendly & very knowledgeable staff, it’s well worth a visit! The Gallery is opposite The British Museum on Russel Street!!

They can be found on Instagram Facebook & Twitter

 

Ceramic Rabbit in Puzzle Wood.

Ceramic Rabbit in Puzzle Wood.

Making ceramic bunnies is not my usual bag I admit, but when Helen, from Puzzle Wood put a call out to local Potters to contribute to her  Rabbit trail I couldn’t resist! Puzzle Wood is a magical ancient woodland in the Forest of Dean. It’s a great place to explore with the kids, as we have done many times with our own and is a popular TV and film location. Helen’s idea was to launch a kid’s trail over the usually busy Easter weekend.

I started making my contribution back in February, deciding to hand coil it. A technique I never ever use, but thought it would be fun to do something different. I used terracotta clay because it has a deep, earthy colour very fitting for a rich, earthy forest. Once built, I covered the whole rabbit in white slip and then scratched into it with simplified flowers and splatters of cobalt blue. I wanted it to be blue & white; a classic ceramic pallet that would stand out against a backdrop of forest green.

Unfortunately because of the pandemic, Puzzle Wood closed to the public. Helen decided to continue her plans in a different way and turned it into The Great Virtual Puzzle Wood Easter Trail!! Available to view on their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages.

There’s a colouring competition too, with lots of great prizes, including a couple from us here at Eastnor Pottery!

 

How I first got into ceramics.

How I first got into ceramics.

At the age of four my parents got a dog. I loved going on dog walks, strolling through the fields and playing in streams. I can remember finding clay, I took some home in my hand. I picked out the stones and played with the gritty clay.

Growing up, I was surrounded by ceramics as my Dad collected Antiques. We had glass fronted cabinets at home that would rattle and chink when I walked past. Piles of ‘Miller’s Guide’ books to look through. My Mum also collected a slipware, more commonly known as motto ware. Most of it was made by Watcombe. She had a collection of over 500 pieces adorning two pine dressers. I enjoyed picking them up, reading all the sgraffitto sayings and running my fingertips over the slip -railed patterns.

Doing a degree in Ceramics at Bath Spa University seemed like a natural progression for me. There I met Jon Williams, a fellow ceramics student and eventually my husband to be. We were hard working students and made the most of all the studio time provided.

Jon and I decided to set up a studio together. We settled for beautiful rural Herefordshire. An old redundant cottage on the Eastnor Castle Estate became available.

 

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