On the Edge Teapots: BC’s latest art gallery success

Photograph by Noreen Wong

“This is all very unexpected. I never knew you could do things like that [with teapots],” commented Takhmina Dzhuraeva, ASG’s VP of Finance and Communication.
Curated by BC ceramics instructor Lars Husby, “Extreme, Extraordinary, Exquisite—Teapots on the Edge,” showcases 40 extreme teapots created by professional artists.
Like Takhmina, you may think that nothing can be done with teapots. However, this newest exhibit, shown at the BC Gallery Space that runs in conjunction with the 46th Annual Conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramics Arts (NCECA), is certainly going to prove you wrong.
If you tend to stack up dishes in the sink, you will likely resonate with “Doing the Dishes” by Lois Harbaugh. Being described as “procrastination” by BC interior design student Karen Schafer, “Doing the Dishes” is a white porcelain teapot that imitates the silhouette of a stack of cups and plates.
“I really like the humor behind it. It is very much real life and I look at the piece and think that that is what my own sink looks like,” said Schafer.
Harbaugh’s teapot is just one of the many forms of edginess presented in the exhibit. Elizabeth Minkin’s vividly colored Orange Ya Hot Teapot, Randolph Silver’s steam engine-like Texas Tea on Empty, Clin Cannon’s teapot covered in poetry, and Marie Weichman’s Squeeze Me, made with slip-dipped foam, are just a few examples of the imaginative teapots created specially for the NCECA satellite exhibit.
NCECA is a dynamic membership organization that inspires passionate interest and cultivates thoughtful practice in ceramic arts and education through its annual conference, exhibitions, publications, resources and symposia.
This is the first time NCECA is coming to Seattle, and 5,000-8,000 people will be coming from all over the country to attend NCECA.
A whirlwind of satellite ceramics exhibitions will be all over the Northwest area at regional museums, galleries, schools, and associated organizations.
The theme of this year’s conference is “On the Edge,” which explains why the conference is taking place in Seattle, a location on the edge of the Pacific Rim. According to NCECA, this year’s theme is also about visiting the edge of our imagination and appreciating the use of clay in dynamic new ways.
On March 28, there will also be a talk by Sonny and Gloria Kamm in Carlson Theater. Sonny and Gloria own the world’s largest collection (over 17,000 items) of contemporary and antique teapots. Artists and internationally recognized collectors will all come to BC for the exhibit and for Sonny and Gloria’s talk.
“When Tess [McMillan] first presented [this exhibition] to ASG for reception funding, she told us everyone thinks glass is sexy and interesting. With this exhibition, she hopes that people will find ceramics sexy, too,” Dzhuraeva recalled.
Well Tess, I may not be able to speak for everyone, but as far as I am concerned, you have succeeded!