Ceramic teapots in the 2018 Identi-Tea, 16th Biennial Teapot exhibit; III. Sculptural teapots.

Photos and reporting by Robert Kokenyesi, Ceramic Artist, Beachfront Pottery, Godfrey, IL, 62035, USA.  If you enjoyed this post, then give me a “like” on my Facebook page.      There is additional information about Beachfront Pottery on my web site.

The Venue


The 16th biennial teapot exhibit took place from  January 12 to March 18, 2018,  in the galleries of Craft Alliance in University City, MO.  Check out the current offerings from them on their web site.The picture on the left is the view of the entrance to the gallery and the store from Delmar Blvd.





Here is the wall surface with the exhibit title.  This is what you saw as you entered the store, and turned right to enter the gallery.





The Call for Entry

The call for entry called for works in all craft media from both emerging and established artists. Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design invites artists nationwide with an interest in demonstrating their investigation of the teapot form and any aspect of the topic of personal identity.

The Ceramic Art Pieces

There were a few non-ceramic teapots in the exhibit, so that’s why the title emphasizes that I review here only the ceramic ones.  This third part includes teapots that is a sculptural interpretation of the traditional teapot shape.  I published already part 1 on traditional teapot shapes, and part 2 on mild alterations on the traditional teapot shape in this exhibit.

“2 Rabbits Playing Chess Teapot” Jimmy Liu, St Louis, MO
“Space Monkey” by Jimmy Liu, St Louis, MO

I found lots of photos of Jimmy’s works, but very little in term of statements.  Here is a quote from Ceramics Monthly: ” I use the slab to create functional pieces specially teapots, and often use my fingers or a tool to altered the forms. I love to distort and play with the wet clay.”  I’ve seen Jimmy’s works at art fairs and exhibits, and his teapots come in a great variety of shapes.  Great design, and great execution.


“Emmigrate, Immigrate XVI” by Norleen Nosri
“Emigrate Immigrate XX” by Norleen Nosri, St. Louis, MO

I found a statement from Norleen CommuniTes project, that seems most relevant for these works: “The serving, drinking vessels and bases represent many people coming together and sharing. The compositions symbolize giving and receiving, which in turn, portrays the main theme of the work, a communal sense of gratitude.”  In other places she explains the effort in these pieces to achieve a balanced composition.  The base is stoneware with gold-leaf inlay, while the pots are porcelain.  To my eyes the color contrast is the most striking, and aesthetically attractive.


“Echo on Parade” by Connie Cramer Creek, Lake Quivira, KS
“Wind-up Horse Teapot” by Connie Cramer Creek, Lake Quivira, KS

I couldn’t find any details online about Connie.   The teapots are from stoneware, with underglaze, and the sgrafitto technique.  Increadible sculptural forming, and detailed decoration.






“I’m a Little Teapot, Blah, Blah, Blah” by William Archer Rimel, St Louis, MO


On his web site William writes that with his works “I wanted to create the experience where the viewer could be face to face with a “freak”.  No matter how different we may think we are, the freak show gives us a chance to validate ourselves as normal human beings.”






“Today” by James Ibur, St Louis, MO

On his web site James states: “I am interested in what the past can reveal about the future. I create ceramic objects that look decayed, weathered and beaten up by time.” A close inspection of these teapots show that two handguns form the handle and the spout of each teapot.  Not sure why the two pots are joined at the bottom.





“My Cat” by Marilyn Andrews, Plainfield, MA

On a gallery’s page I found some information about Marilyn: “I like working with a material that undergoes such radical changes, and working in three dimensions helps me integrate the sensuous and the intellectual. I often use functional objects as forms for images because they assert the scale of ordinary life. This is where I believe we need art to function.”.  One of the best teapots in the show!! Amazing.








“Yixing-style Teapot” by Eric Serritella, Chapel Hill, NC

On his web site Eric states: “Through my trompe l’oeil ceramic works I challenge the viewer with both the nature of the material and the messages within. Forms are completely hand-built and hand-carved with hyper-realistic textures transformed into charred and weathered wood, and birch trees—the angels of the forest.

Through aging and decay, I explore how nature maintains its splendors with tenacity and triumphs of existence, despite the disregard we humans show her.”  The birch-like handle and spout reflects that statement.






“Boston Tea Party” by Alice Abram, Lexington, MA

On her web site Alice states:”Experimentation has been my style, humor my trademark, an interest in the human condition my guide. My inspiration comes from imagination, family, daily life.   I believe the vitality of play is crucial for artistic development.  My goal is to show that spirit of expression in my work.”  This teapot is a reflection of her vitality of play, because I didn’t saee anything similar on her web site.  She makes very life-like ceramic versions of food items, and somewhat abstract buffalo sculptures.






“Teapot” by Scott Dooley, Springfield, OH

Scott is an internationally recognized clay artist.  He has several pottery making videos, and he is the organizer of the “Ceramic Artist Network”.  In a book chapter he states:” I discovered an interest in metal objects, and then I began to mimic these metal elements, and developed new forms, cutting and altering the clay to add animation.  I began to texture and layer oxides and glazes to simulate an aged, weathered surface. ”  This teapot does show signs of weathering and aging, and does have that metal feel to it.







“Somewhere” by Troy Aiken, St Louis, MO


On his departmental web site he writes: “He seeks to investigate his research interests within the history of mass production and mold making within ceramics. It is an attempt to break traditional means of constructing, which allows him the ability to satisfy his curiosities with conflating the meaning, function, and decorative nature of these individual ceramic objects born from molds. Reproducing these objects from a range of histories in a contemporary setting allows them to metaphorically live “in the now” thereby becoming current.”






“Jasper Ware II” by Eileen Braun, Dunwoody, GA


I couldn’t find a dedicated web site for Eileen.  However, I found this gallery site that included several of her works.  On that site she states: “Her ceramic work is heavily influenced by nature, in particular her love of the ocean and fascination with the mysteries that lie beneath it. The smooth organic shapes of her ceramics resemble oceanic creatures, such as sea urchins and blowfish, immediately striking and otherworldly.”






“Trellis 1” by Melody Evans, St Louis, MO


On an exhibit site she writes:”My body of work includes ceramic object and vessels, drawings, wall sculpture, tiles, and public sited large-scale installations. The forms I make in clay, both single objects and installations usually derive from my drawings, which are a series of curvy lines and biomorphic shapes, repetitive marks and patterning; usually abstract and sometimes approaching the representational. Often there is an implied narrative. My work is informed by the things I love to look at and study–mostly natural objects, like bird’s nest, flora, bodies of water and reflections there in, biology texts, and micro and macro images.”  Please visit her web site for great looking ceramic sculptures and teapots.




“Templo Del Te'” by Richard Wehrs, Peoria, IL

In a juror’s statement Richard says: “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?”  The tea shrine is about 4 feet tall; the oversized teapot is a good reference for overall size. Fine sculpting, brilliant glazes make this piece very attractive.




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