Fif-TEA: Craft Alliance's 14th Biennial Teapot Exhibition Filled With Wonder

By Christopher Reilly
In Culture

The Mad Hatter has nothing on Craft Alliance. Fif-TEA, Craft Alliance’s 14th biennial teapot exhibition, features enough creative teapots—from the somber to the fantastical—to fill even Alice with awe and wonder. The exhibit is part of Craft Alliance’s 50th anniversary celebration and continues at the Alliance’s Delmar Loop location until March 23.

Teapot, Black and White Leaf Artist Hayne Bayless Courtesy of Craft Alliance

Teapot, Black and White Leaf
Artist Hayne Bayless
Courtesy of Craft Alliance

Over 50 artists are represented by teapots made from just about anything, including clay, metal, wood, glass and even fiber. Not all of the teapots are functional (think teapot made of yarn), nor are all of them immediately recognizable as teapots. While some impart a classic teapot look and vibe, others could only have come from an artist’s fevered, irrational imagination, which together lend a down-the-rabbit-hole feel to the exhibit; you never know what surprise is just up ahead. It might be a teapot and cup spectacularly carved out of wood, or it might be a ceramic sculptural pot crafted and decorated to look like puke. Seriously.

Malcolm & Mary Ann Owen, Tea-mmm Work

Malcolm & Mary Ann Owen, “Tea-mmm Work”
Photo by Chris Reilly

Director of Exhibitions Stefanie Kirkland noted that this is the first time artists were asked to also create a teacup to go along with their pot, which adds a new dimension to what is already a very popular exhibit. Forty percent of the artists represented are from the region, with the remaining teapots coming from artists across the U.S. Artists like the challenge of making teapots, Kirkland says, because of its classic form and the fact that it “has everything,” like a handle, lid, and spout.

The Scroobius Pip: A Teapot of Unknown Taxonomy Ruth Ann Reese Courtesy Craft Alliance

“The Scroobius Pip: A Teapot of Unknown Taxonomy”
Ruth Ann Reese
Courtesy Craft Alliance

But there is something more ingrained about our attraction to teapots. Tea and teapots have historical significance and exude an aura of calmness and tranquility. Tea also plays a vital role in our own history. Consider the Boston Tea Party. Tea can start revolutions, and where there is tea, there are pots.

Fif-TEA: 14th Biennial Teapot Exhibition continues at Craft Alliance in the Delmar Loop through March 23. FREE. For more information, visit the Craft Alliance website.

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