“Tea Time: An Exploration of Contemporary Teapots” exhibit at Edwardsville Art Center, Part 1

Photos and text by Robert Kokenyesi, Ceramic Artist, Beachfront Pottery, Godfrey, IL 62035, IL USA.

The Venue

The exhibit took place in the galleries of the Edwardsville Art Center, in Edwardsville, Illinois,  from May 26, 2017 to June 16, 2017.








The Call for Entries

This was an invitational exhibit that included pieces from local potters, and from the ceramic art collection of the Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (SIUE).      The curator of the exhibit, Carolyn Tidball, wrote: “the teapot has long been an ideal canvas for artists to express ideas, both conceptually and in design.  From ancient Japanese ceremonies to debuts on Star Trek, the teapot has outlasted trends and infiltrated the lives nearly every community.  My intention with this exhibit is to showcase a wide range of ways that artists utilize the teapot form to investigate ideas and explore design and composition.”

The Ceramic Pieces

Here. in Part 1, I will report on the teapots from the SIUE collection.

Chocolate Pot; Mesoamerican


While this is not a teapot, the general structure is what you would expect for a teapot.  The chocolate pot has been used historically to ferment and heat, and serve chocolate drink. since the 1400’s in the territories of the Mayan Empire.  This pot is from early-mid 20th century, so it’s uncertain if it was actually used for serving chocolate, or was made for decorative purpose.






“Slab-Built Teapot” by Mark Pharis.


Interestingly, this teapot was made in 1983, yet, it channels many of the beautiful features of the Mesoamerican chocolate pot in the previous image.  Especially, the angle of the spout, and the height/weight proportions are similar.

Mark Pharis is a well known ceramicist who currently works in Minnesota.  He uses two-dimensional paper patterns to guide the shaping of clay slabs.  He is inspired by the grace and use of materials of buildings that populate rural agricultural landscapes.




“Teapot” by Jeremy Lampe


This teapot was made in 2004. The undulating base, the angled end of the spout, the chain attached to the spout, and the variety of the glazings are the most striking features.   Jeremy lampe is working towards his MFA at Illinois State University.  From an online summary: “His ceramic pieces capture the process of their making, and show the material’s fluidity and plasticity.”



“Black Knight Teapot” by Paul Dresang

This is a large teapot (10 inches or so tall).  The tilted pot, the thin handle, and the spout that forms a continuing line with the handle are the most noticeable features.   The color comes from black underglaze.

Paul Dresang has been teaching ceramics and glass classes at SIUE since 1977.  He writes that “careful consideration of balance, profile, skin, tension, the rhythms of light and shadow” characterizes the work of a sculptor.



“Jetsons Meet the Flinstones”” by Carolyn Hasenfratz

This teapot has a shape like a rocket; the black line makes it look like the pot is put together from a left and a right half.  Both the handle and the spout are widened like nozzles of a jet. Not sure where the Flinstones are in this piece.

Carolyn currently teaches art  and craft classes at various places in Webster Groves.  You can check out her craft creations and her program at http://www.chasenfratz.com/wp/




“Useless Teapot” by Carolyn Hasenfratz


This pot was made in 1991.  The base has thick spikes, including the three spikes that act as a stand.  The body of the pot looks like it was made by coiling.  The spout points to the right on this picture.  There is no handle, so may be that’s why the title.







Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *