Monday, February 21, 2011


I was commisioned by a couple from Melbourne, Australia to create a teapot and pair of his and her cups as a house warming gift to themselves. They are moving into their new home in mid-April. After several conversations about size, shape, color... and a sketch, we had a plan.  I did warn her that the kiln has the final say and I would do all I could to make it work. She understood and off I went.
I started with throwing the body, spout (not shown), lid and a pair of cups... plus an extra. I'll make/pull the handles later. I let these parts stiffen up a bit to what we call leather hard. What follows is a rough tutorial on teapot making, adding a few techniques and tricks I use to create one. I hope you like it.

Now I'm cutting and test fitting the spout to fit the profile/curve of the body. You can see my chamois on the edge of the bucket is attached to a cork so I don't lose it in the water and that's the top of a fish aquarium heater in my water bucket so my water isn't cold during the winter. I also use a mirror to see the profile of what I'm throwing so I don't have to bend to the side all the time. I had a bad auto accident many years ago and my lower back needs a little help.

Once the spout fits well, I traced around the spout so I would know where to put the strainer holes.

I started to drill the holes and I'll smooth and bevel the holes later with this tapered "plug".

Now I'll "score and slip" the two pieces together using a piece of comb and slip/wet clay.

I add this tapered coil of clay under the lip of the spout and smoothed it in place. This creates a lip that will stops drips from ... well... dripping. The drips won't go "uphill".

I put a vent hole in the lid and added a pulled handle, adding a coil to each side as a decorative feature. It also gives the handle the needed thickness to look balanced visually.  I have bent the handle to compliment the swirl I added to the body of the teapot. I also filled in the juncture of the handle and and spout so there would be a nice "flow" from one into the other. I like how the undulated foot compliments the swirl and handle angle. I could have made the opening of the spout a bit higher, adding a couple of ounces of capacity to the teapot, but I like the looks of it where it is. Also the angle of the spout opening compliments the angle of the back of the handle on the right side. These are some of the considerations I think of when designing the piece. It's like a sculpture to me.

I'll keep you posted on the progress of this teapot in future posts as I go through the glazing, firing and finishing of it.  Cheers...


  1. Thank you! I really love the way it came out. I spent quite a few hours making it, but it was worth it. I am going to make a couple/few more too. Each different and unique but offshoots of this one. I like to work in a series, making the new piece a "take off" of the previous one.

  2. It's even better in person! Love the tutorial..... and with that, I will also mention that you have been chosen to receive the awesome blog award...

  3. Bill, this is beautiful! I bet the couple really loves their custom made tea pot! I still love my mug... it's the favorite one in my cabinet! So whether you know it or not, we have coffee together nearly every morning! :)

    Have a great week!

  4. Thank you for your comment Dawn Marie! I have a feeling they will love it. So glad you are enjoying your mug, they all have their own personality. Mary Ann and I enjoy our collection of handmade mugs to have coffee with every morning.