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Art and Art History

Teapot Invitational Exhibition

The Lake Forest College Invitational Teapot Exhibition brings together eleven artists from every corner of the United States.  

The teapot was invented in China during the Yuan Dynasty, about 700 years ago. This intimate object is often seen as a symbol of unity, coming together, and a shared moment in time. Some consider the teapot a sacred vessel, as tea serving and drinking has been recognized as a ritual of medicinal, spiritual, and pleasurable practice in many cultures. By the end of the 17th century, tea was being shipped to Europe along with porcelain teapots, which were worth their weight in gold and reserved for only the most elite members of society. As the popularity of the teapot spread throughout the world, artists modified the form and surface decoration as well as the functional components.

The contemporary ceramic artists in this show have been selected to demonstrate their unique interpretations of the teapot. Cultural influences can be recognized in these pieces, through a variety of aesthetic choices. The works of Kristen Kieffer and Jessica Thompson bring a contemporary edge to classic European tableware, while Nick Schwartz employs traditional Asian aesthetics as well as wood fire techniques that are historically associated with potteries in Japan, China, and Korea. This exhibit emerges as a myriad of approaches and possibilities. It challenges the artist to articulate their voice of creative expression as they resolve the demands of creating this complex vessel, the teapot.