2015 Essay | The Mindful Making of Tea

2015 Essay | The Mindful Making of Tea

The Mindful Making of Tea

  Jim Connell
Red Sandblasted Carved Teapot
12 x 10 x 8
Anderson Ranch Arts Center provides transformative experiences that celebrate artists, art making, creative dialogue and community. The artists that feature work in our special exhibit, “The Mindful Making of Tea,” are professional artists and university professors, all with a deep connection to Anderson Ranch Arts Center. They embody the belief that to create, you need to be in a creative, transformative and safe environment. Many artists make functional wares teapots, teacups and cream and sugar containers—to provide the user with a special object for their own ritual. Tea for most is the simple act of slowing down and appreciating. 

Matt Long states, “In a world that is fast paced and oriented around convenience in life rather than quality of life, hand made functional pots can slow things down, allowing the user to enjoy the important aspects of human interaction and self-introspection. Hand made pottery is a complete human expression, not an interpretation of usable objects that only address a standard.”

Ben Carter shares this idea and creates community by providing functional pottery for small gatherings. He uses ceramics in communal eating events to create a relaxed environment. He believes that ceramic objects create a form of intimacy that is lacking in our business-oriented society.

Ben Carter
Tobacco Field Teapot
earthenware, slip, underglaze and glaze
6 x 9 x 6

Margaret Bohls often asks these questions when creating a form, "How much can a volume hold? How does a handle feel in your hand? How does liquid emerge from a spout?" She thinks of her pieces as sculptural objects that play with the senses, making you stop and immerse yourself into the environment.

Ceramic artwork, including teapots and teacups, can be used to convey emotions and stories. K Cesark uses symbols—a house, a bird, buttons from her grandmother’s collection—to convey her story. These themes bring the viewer or user of the object to their own conclusion and can introduce their own story into the objects. 

When Chris Gustin looks at a ceramic form, he sees the connection to the human figure. Throughout history, pots were meant to be touched and celebrated for their handmade quality. “It becomes a necessary tool for the user in understanding the relationship of the object to its function, and subsequently, to how that object informs ones life.”

Lorna Meaden believes that, “Handmade pots are potent in their power to reveal the extraordinary, within the ordinary.” Teapots and teacups are seen as objects of enjoyment and calmness. They have the power to slow down time.
Seth Green looks towards cathedrals, palaces and mosques from the Islamic world and the Czech Republic as inspiration for his ceramic wares. He examines vessels for religious and royal leaders that have been used for sacred ceremonies. Seth is intrigued by the sense of sacredness that the pouring, drinking and lidded vessels he produces, convey.

For Mark Pharis, “The bowl, teapot or vase is not merely a canvas for decoration, but possesses a strong formal identity and presence—one that stimulates and provokes the viewer to engage with the work of art from all sides.” Most users and viewers choose their functional wares based on aesthetics and physical touch.

Doug Casebeer suggests that, “Teapots and particularly cups warm the body and nourish the soul. Our favorite cup brings reward to the daily routine of eating and drinking. As humans we look for objects that bring comfort to our lives.”

“Be well, drink more tea!”

Matt Long
Teapot, 2015
Soda fired porcelain
6.5 x 8 x 6



Margaret Bohls
Bronze Modern Tea and Coffee Service
porcelain, stoneware
12 x 22 x 14


Appears in conjunction with the SOFA CHICAGO 2015 special exhibit, The Mindful Making of Tea, presented by Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass Village, CO; curated by Doug Casebeer, Artistic Director for Ceramics and Sculpture at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center.

Matt Long is the Assistant Professor of Art, Ceramics for the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi.

Ben Carter is a studio artist and workshop instructor based in Santa Cruz, California;  Margaret Bohls is an Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska; K Cesark is the Colorado Mountain College Ceramics Studio Coordinator and Gallery Coordinator in Aspen, Colorado; Chris Gustin is the Associate Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth; Lorna Meaden is a studio artist and workshop instructor bases in Durango, Colorado; Seth Green is the Assistant Professor of Art at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky; Mark Pharis is a Professor of Ceramics at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Doug Casebeer is the Associate Director and Artistic Director at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, Colorado.

Copyright © Sculpture Objects Functional Art and Design 2018. All Rights Reserved.
Produced by Urban Expositions, a Clarion Events Company | Privacy