Handle with Care, Teapot - Holding Place

Materials: Sterling silver, copper, porcelain, and glass
Dimensions: 17x23x19

Teapot, Handle with Care

Teapot, Handle with Care explores the meaning of tea in its history and use as it relates to social and economic status, tradition, and ceremony. The current nomadic lifestyle I embrace as an artist/metalsmith is how I’ve chosen to interpret what tea service means to me. It is a traditional subject that has been researched by several artists all over the world and it is essential in my expression that I define tea in the lifestyle I’m starting to understand first hand. With this in mind, I interpret the idea of tea as an afternoon indulgence and a “quick fix”. If the time to relax and have tea is spent as it was originally intended, it can also be seen as a luxury.

Moving around from place to place, with the packaging materials I am forever shoveling into a box, digging into, and chasing around while they stick to my clothes, prompted the design of this tea set. The status of the bubble pillows used to package delicate items has been elevated by its transformation to glass, becoming delicate itself. The packing peanuts, now made of porcelain, had a function to assure safety of the contents inside a box but now it is to act as a finial on top of a silver teapot.

The idea of functionality is a playful one to me. The interdependence on objects that make them function is important and although the teapot I created is not practical, it is to a degree functional. It is intriguing that teapots can have an entirely different purpose that is a departure from it’s original use. Teapots don’t need to be used to have presence. The reluctance to use a specific teapot could be that it’s a collector’s piece, it’s historically significant, its purpose is for specific occasions or rituals, etc…
The meaning, aesthetic or sentimental value can make them functional in a different way that will contribute to a person’s experience and enjoyment.

Photo credit: Lisa M. Johnson

Lisa M Johnson
West Palm Beach, FL. USA

I started my career in fine arts at Miami University earning a B.F.A. in 2004 and received an M.F.A. from Indiana University in 2009. I have been awarded the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts Kiln God Residency, The Ronald Hayes Pearson Scholarship at Haystack Mountain School of Craft as a TA for Kiff Slemmons, and an Artist-In-Residence at Arrowmont School of Arts and Craft where I had the pleasure of lecturing and exhibiting at MTSU, ECU, Guilford College, and UNC Asheville with the Arrowmont residents. Most recently, I have been honored to accept the position of Artist-in-Residence at the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach. In addition to writing my first technical article for SNAG News in January 2012, I was very excited to contribute to the Educational Dialogue at the SNAG Conference in Arizona. I exhibit my work nationally and participated in my first international exhibit at the Riga Porcelain Museum in Latvia during the International Exhibition of Small Forms Porcelain this past year. I plan to live as an active artist and educator that will continue to push the boundaries of my studio practice.

The work I create exhibits vast methods of construction from traditional metalsmithing and jewelry design techniques, to ceramic disciplines, and experimental glass working. In my studio practice, the materials and techniques I use are determined by conceptual elements and needs of the piece.

Often the content of my work arises from an interest in the juxtaposition of puns, translations, irony, and duality that are a direct expression of observations or experiences in life. The content of my work is then expressed through the use of identifiable objects. Redefining the recognizable communicates as appealing, stimulating, and sometimes humorous work.

My obsession with transforming found objects through various processes to use as a component in my work has expanded my creative capacity and my ability to communicate ideas in a visual language. By incorporating the use of transformed ordinary objects, I am also highlighting the decision making process of selecting the particular object and placing it into context. Through diverse modes of alteration in the realm of sculpture, functional objects, and jewelry I assign new meaning to everyday things.

These containers and vessels definitely hold their place in the world of stunning art objects as well as in the world of metalsmithing.

Since the dawn of time humans have created containers to hold things that were important to them, from large vessels to hold food and harvests to intimate containers for small precious things. They might hold memories, ashes, medicine, beverage, fruit or food - but all spring from the imagination and skill of the maker. Some have specific religious functions, some are meant for everyday use. When one thinks of a vessel or container the inclination is to think of something with solid walls - yet many of these works involve the exploration of positive and negative space, and the use of negative space to help create the illusion of the wall of the vessel.

As the world’s largest jewelry related internet site, Ganoksin strives to develop exhibitions showcasing work from around the world. This exhibition was open to all metalsmiths, professional and amateur, advanced and beginner. Participants are from The Netherlands, the USA, Canada, Australia, Costa Rica, the United Kingdom, Israel, Hong Kong, Colombia, Romania, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia and Denmark. While most of the pieces are by an individual metalsmith, some are collaborations, one of three artists spanning 50 years.

In total 319 artists contributed 729 show pieces for the permanent online exhibition.

Objects in the exhibition include boxes, lockets, urns, ash containers, bowls, wine cups, reliquaries, match holders, vases, teapots, pitchers, sugar bowls, baskets, nests, pillboxes, clutches and a range of sculptural forms. A variety of techniques are showcased covering a wide range of metalsmithing techniques. Materials used include everything from gold and silver to less expensive metals. Ornamentation includes the addition of enamel, chasing and repousse’, gemstones and found objects.

The exhibition was curated by Beth Wicker, President of the North Carolina Society of Goldsmiths in the United States, and Adjunct Instructor at Northeastern Technical College in South Carolina. Director of the exhibition is Hanuman Aspler, founder of The Ganoksin Project, the world’s largest internet jewelry site.