The 29th Sydney Teapot Show at The Inner City Clayworkers Gallery is a hidden gem on Glebe’s St John Road. Each of the teapots in this year’s show possess an interesting fusion between creativity and functionality, with some very out-there and quirky designs. Sheila Myers, a local Sydney potter and member of the co-op that runs The Inner City Clayworkers Gallery, noted that this was an especially good year for the show.
Despite the name, The Sydney Teapot Show takes entries from all over the world, with submissions from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and in previous years, the USA.
“Potters just like making teapots, I think,” Sheila chuckles, noting that there are quite a few potters who submit teapots year after year.
As a potter herself, Sheila explained the very time-consuming and delicate process of making a teapot, with each part made separately, before being carefully blended together and submitted to the kiln to dry.
There are four categories in this year’s Sydney Teapot Show, with excellent entries in each.
In the Tea Drinker's Teapot, the teapots have to actually work. They’re not only judged on aesthetics, but how well they pour. Sharon Brown took out the prize here.
The Sherlock Holmes category, sponsored by Gleebooks, are teapots inspired by the works of Arthur Conan Doyle. Sunnee Scharrer won this category with his clever The Case of the Missing Spout.
The Trojan Teapots double as sculptures. Sunnee Sharrer took out this category too with his clever teapot disguised as a helmet.
‘Frivolitiea’ is not only a brilliant pun, it celebrates all manner of teapot designs; from the quirky, to the fancy and sculpture-like, to the downright how-does-that-even-stand-up. It's eay to see why Amanda Harrison's The Big Cuppa won.
Here are some of the other stand-outs from the exhibition
Louie McCallum's three earthy teapots which have fascinating colours, that hint at Australiana minus the kitsch;
Kieth Yeo's amazing asemblage Dumpers & Hoarders has so much personality and humour injected into it, with it's hidden eleven children scattered throughout the sculpture;
and Christopher Plumridge's sleek, marble-esque designs really contrast against all the curves and odd shapes of the other teapots in the collection.
The Inner City Clayworkers Gallery has been in Glebe for 35 years, showcasing some fantastic work from a realm of art that we don’t normally see much of. You can feel the love for ceramics and pottery in this place. It doesn’t matter if it looks rough and handmade, or fine and smooth, in this space artists are free to explore their passion through clay.
The Sydney Teapot Show is on until September 4. If you’re looking for a unique exhibition to tantalise your quirky side, take a stroll down St John’s Road to The Inner City Clayworkers Gallery and take in the absurdities of ‘Frivolitea’, the visual puns of the Sherlock Holmes category, the fascinating works of Trojan Teapot, and of course, the simple beauty of a well-designed teapot in The Tea Drinker's Teapot.
Words and images by Angus Whalan