Mad Hatter Tea Set

My tea pot and tea cups look like the vines and plants that make up the Queen of Hearts’ palace and soldiers in the movie “Alice Through the Looking Glass.” My pot is mostly green and I used coils to represent the vines. The lid to my pot has a rose red handle that looks like a rose that has yet to bloom. My cups are mostly that same rose red color and are made to look like roses by using slabs. The handle to my cops are the same green as my put and are two smaller twisted coils to once again resemble the vines. In my work I try to get across the earthy tones from the scenes at the Queen of Hearts’ palace. My pot is about 8 inches tall and 11 inches wide. My cups are about 3 inches tall and 4 inches wide.

To create my tea pot I started by first creating a circular base from a slab. I then cut a coil so it would fit around the perimeter of the base. I slipped and scored to connect each coil together. Then I added a tiny bit of water and smoothed together the coils on the inside. I smoothed the interior of the pot as I built it up. To make my pot wider I aligned the coils near the outside edge of the previous coil. After widening my pot for a couple layers I then wanted it to become more narrow, so I aligned the coils on the inner edge of the previous coil until the width was how wide I wanted my lid to be. I also featured decorative coil layers of snails, braids, raindrops, rainbows and spheres. My top edge was one final coil to unify my piece. I created my handle with a coil and cutting each end at a diagonal. I created my spout by rolling out a very thick coil and forming it around my coil. I had to carefully cut the ends at an angle so the spot would pour properly (if my pot was functional). I added both my handle and spout by scoring, slipping, and smoothing. Once my piece was leather hard I did more smoothing and used a damp sponge to get rid of any rough spots.

To create my tea cups I used a similar technique to the one we used to create our slab raku cylinders. I created a template for one rose petal and cut out six petals from slabs for each cup. I formed my cup around a paper cup covered in newspaper, which allowed me to remove the cup more easily. I layered the petals over one another and added circle pieces of clay to each petal so my cup would more closely resemble my pot. I then cut a bottom and slipped and scored to join. I joined the seams completely and smoothed the inside of my cups. I added a handle by twisting two small coils together and slipping and scoring.

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After my tea set was fired for the first time, I glazed my pieces with dark green and rose underglaze. They were then fired at low fire. I decided to also add coats of shadow green and clear high fire glaze.

My goal as an artist was to improve my sculpting skills with coils and slabs, and I believe I accomplished this goal. Using coils was difficult because my piece became very fragile as I was making it and required a lot of patience and attention to detail. I also enjoyed getting creative with the way I used slabs to make my cups and apply my learning from a different piece, alter it, and create something new and unique. My final piece is very much like how I imagined it would be and I am happy with the outcome. I hope my audience is reminded of the Queen of Hearts’ palace and soldiers when they see my tea set. And if they haven’t seen the movie, I hope they are reminded of a whimsical and fun tea party.

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