Photos and reporting by Robert Kokenyesi, Ceramic Artist, Beachfront Pottery, Godfrey, IL, 62035, USA. If you enjoyed this post, then like the post, and also like my Facebook page. There is additional information about Beachfront Pottery on my web site.
The “Tea and Cookies: 17th Biennial Teapot Exhibition took place from January 10 through February 23, 2020 in the gallery of the Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design in University City, Missouri.
The Call for Entry
This was an invitational exhibit. Craft Alliance had this exhibit statement: ”
Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design is proud to present Tea and Cookies: 17th Biennial Teapot Exhibition. Having tea and cookies is a comfort and a custom many of us share in our daily lives. In this exhibition, artists were challenged to think about this pairing and communicate how they could create a conversation between the two objects. This pairing becomes an investigation around the idea of the container, both in construction and what it means to us culturally. In Britain they have tea and biscuits, but here in America, we talk about the union of a warm beverage with a delicious cookie. We could say that this is essentially the same idea, but with different socially economic status attached to it. Actually the cookie jar is an iteration of the biscuit barrel, a British container of biscuits. As this jar form was introduced to the States and Canada, it took on the name, “Cookie Jar”.
Each artist exhibits a teapot and a container displaying the act of engagement with the interaction of the objects themselves. All the teapots and cookie jar selected are ceramic and are either functional or simply decorative. For over two decades Craft Alliance has brought the biennial teapot show to the community and with Tea and Cookies hopes to bring the viewer a sense of wonderment and delight, maybe even bringing up fond memories of their favorite tea and cookies moments. ”
The Ceramic Art Pieces
The “modified” teapots in part 2 represent teapots with a body that is still recognizable, but decorated carving carving, fusing, or have an unusual shape, and/or a modified placement of the spout and the handle.
Dryden’s artist statement reads: “In one-off items, sculpture and production work, I am captivated by the union of craft, problem solving, ingenuity and creation when working with clay. While ideas associated with oppositions and dichotomies has and continues to be a driving force in my work, I find that the subtleties and surprises of the creative process have the most influence. Both in my thrown forms and sculpture, I am interested in the act of construction, deconstruction, reconstruction. I believe that it is this process of making that creates an understanding of the object and resulting evolution of the artwork.” For more of his works visit his web site.
I couldn’t find a dedicated online presence for Jim. He is represented on sevral gallery sites, and some of them has statements from him: “I enjoy interplay and tension in my pieces and continually strive to excite my forms through the use of carving. If pressed into service, my ceramics could hold and pour liquid properly; however, their function is purely decorative.” And this: “I strive for beauty and elegance in my pieces. On my very best days in the studio I get glimpses of it and it keeps me going. It is all about that eternal elusive quest for beauty.”
Ben’s statement reads:” My work explores the complex social geography of modern society and the intricate relationship between mankind and the environment. My ceramic sculpture serves as a metaphor for a wider global panorama of political power and industrial production. I am currently exploring the lineage of manifest destiny, from its beginnings in Europe to westward expansion in America, to forms it has taken in modern America. These ceramic forms serve as the conceptual grounds upon which to explore industry and culture. In these works I simultaneously celebrate the history of the pastoral life while questioning the ideologies of modern society. Through hand-labor, contemplative making, and a reverence for tradition, I aim to explore both interrelated and divergent human perceptions using clay as my primary medium.” For more of his work visit his web site.
Stephen’s statement reads: “My work takes influence from things that are industrial, mechanical and manmade. I often reference architectural structures that have surrounded me throughout my life. These consist of barns, silos, factories and water towers as well as many other structures. Many of these buildings are used for containment and are in essence vessels of function. These buildings, which are often run down and abandoned show with their weathered exterior textures of flaking paint and rusted steel, a course of production and history. In my work I look to their weathered exterior textures for inspiration and ideas on surface treatment. The simple geometric shapes of these structures are often echoed in the main body and various parts of my pieces. Chimneys, windows, vents, smokestacks and piping are integrated in my work as decoratively charged elements of visual interest. Sometimes these elements are incorporated into my work as handles, lids, and spouts. I also incorporate numbers and symbols on my work through the use slip stencils and laser print transfers. These markings give variety and reference the architectural structures that I look to for inspiration. I often leave marks on the form as evidence of the working process. These subtle marks are then accentuated by the atmospheric firing processes of soda and wood and help to give my work the same sense of history and aged qualities that I look to for inspiration.” For more of his work visit his web site.
I couldn’t find a dedicated online presence for David. On Red Clay Lodge Center site David had this statement:” Regarding Landscape Silos, Jars and Platters:
Born and raised in Kansas, much of my time was spent hunting in the fields and working on my family’s farm. The diverse weather transformed the landscape into vivid colors and textures. Slowly, the fall colors faded against the gray of winter. Light snow covered the repetitive rows of milo. Spring storms brought rain, flooding the fields, filling ditches, bringing nourishment to the wheat, moving the soil, eroding it to its own liking. The dry hot summer wind would crack the earth open, and the landscape would be transformed into a surface resembling an Old Dutch master’s painting. I am interested in rural landscapes, silos, rolling hills, and furrowed fields. The patterns, textures, and colors translated into the vessel are memories, moments, and thoughts frozen by fire. These vessels are created to celebrate the land that inspires and sustains me.”
A very fitting few sentences from Richard’s Steelvillearts page: “If genuine and lasting personal significance in the face of the cosmos and eternity is but a pipe dream, like the songbird, I gleefully join in the self-delusion. I make monuments to monuments, elaborate, sometimes ridiculously detailed celebrations of our rebellion against oblivion. My “tea shrines” and sculptural teapots are also monuments to that same spirit, combined with the joy of creativity and self-expression, and the additional fascination I carry for the activity of collecting – whatever the collected object might be, from postage stamps to seashells. Is not this striving to collect yet another form of monument building, an effort to find significance and be remembered?
Whatever the case: I make, because it makes me happy to do so. I make, because I can. I make…to give my own life… meaning and significance? For more of his works visit his Instagram profile.
I couldn’t find a dedicated online presence for Mike, but this article shows a lot of his work. From that Ceramic Arts Now article, here is his statement:”I investigate the process of physical and cognitive degradation by using the construct of architecture to question our perceptions of memory and our concept of place.”
I couldn’t find a dedicated online presence for Dan.
Kurt’s statement comes from the Red Lodge Clay Center: “I am generally attracted to the raw and unrefined spectrum of the Arts and Crafts. My most significant pottery influences have been the folk traditions of China, Japan, and Persia. In my work I attempt to combine the archetypal motifs of these traditions with more contemporary imagery inspired by advertising logos, graphic novels and urban street art. By shuffling and recombining these proven formula, it is my hope that the muse of familiarity appears cross-dressed as innovation.” For more of his work visit his Instagram profile.
Doug;s statement comes from his page at Red Lodge Clay Center: “My work looks at issues that honor the spirit of human existence. Within my artwork I search for meaning in the relationships between the ideas of storage, shelter, and nourishment. My work is influenced by rural archetypal forms of the western landscape and by many years of experiencing different global cultures. I look for beauty, balance and grace in my work. Through my artwork I try to come to an understanding of myself and the world around me.” I couldn’t find a dedicated online presence for him.
Jessica had a “conventional teapot” in the exhibit (see post Part 1), but this cookie jar was definitely heavily modified, so it is in this post. Jessica says this about herself:” a native Midwesterner, works in ceramics, drawing and, painting. Set in landscapes with looming architecture, turbulent skies, and misplaced objects, Brandl’s work exposes historical and eccentric places engulfed in psychological scenarios – both sinister and sublime. Surprising spatial arrangements and disjunctive scale shifts support a voyeuristic sense of seeing things from the inside out. Her current work serve as pointed souvenirs of history and the path to Americanness.” Check out the rest of her work on her website.
Her statement reads: “One Tuesday a package was delivered to me, and when I opened it I found a male-bear cookie jar with a love letter inside it. I was instantly smitten- the size, the character, the utility- and one cookie jar quickly turned into a collection of a hundred. With all of the cookie jar characters around her, they began to show up in her work- in paintings, drawings and animated films. Then one day looking at all the cookie jars around me I decided that I wanted to make my own cookie jars, where she could keep the playful, curious, functional style that I loved about the classic cookie jars from the 20s-50s, and take a fresh approach with monochromatic color palette, fashion loving,whimsical and charming character design. Now I hand sculpt and hand paint each fun and functional cookie jar.” Check out the rest of her world at her web site.
Her statement from Claykar reads: “My work captures the feeling of ambivalence through a humorous lens. Humans
are contradictory in nature since we each have a different story and are constantly growing and developing personal intellect. We have always used humor as a coping mechanism for the struggles of daily life. The pieces I create
are manifestations of reoccurring thoughts of past trauma mixed with irreverent ideas of the mundane. I use poodles as a mask to feel comfortable sharing these moments of vulnerability. The well-known breed is often thought of as a spoiled lap dog, but was originally bred to be a hard-working hunting dog. With my work I am investigating the parallels between the misconception of the poodle and feminism, art versus craft, and the duality of my midwestern upbringing and current relationship with the art world. I aim to communicate common human emotions using man’s best friend as a tool to force empathy, all while illustrating thoughts and/or experiences that are often deemed taboo as a way of making people feel comfortable being human. The work can seem cute or funny upon first glance, but with further investigation one can discover a deeper, darker presence. The pieces serve as poignant yet hopeful symbols of the human experience. My anthropomorphic work often takes on a foreboding, monster-like quality, as if they are my inner demons, baggage, and/or current fears manifesting into an identity. Check out her web site for her other works.
Her statement reads: “Highlighting the desire for creating meaning in the mundane, my ceramic work reinforces the influence of routine and ritual as the thresholds of culture. Shared patterns of behaviors and interactions encompass mealtimes as social sites where tradition and innovation mix. Aestheticizing everyday objects used for eating activities draws attention to the human senses and experience. From tableware to food specific presentation vessels, my work promotes the power of simple rituals that elevate the ordinary to the ornate. Based on a visual language of color, structure and shape, patterns can evoke emotional responses connected to memory. I design patterns to create value and order. My energetic designs are communications with the user, revealing their unique interpretations as the subconscious mind attempts to make sense of the visual stimuli. A sense of comfort and curiosity are incited by the geometric elements in playful colors and patterns. I merge traditional ceramic processes with technology to create objects that respect the past while innovating the present. Combined construction methods of wheel throwing, hand-building, and slip casting create streamlined forms with clean lines and gentle organic curves punctuated by asymmetry. Applied using a resist method with digitally designed and die cut stencils, the surfaces alternate between gem-like areas of gloss, sugar-like satin matte glazes, and raw pigmented porcelain. This trichotomy is inviting to sight and touch. My design-focused functional tableware sets the stage for emphasizing delight in eating experiences. The objects I make function in special moments in which the action becomes the subject matter.” Check out her web site for her other works.