After 28 years, The Sydney Teapot Show is visiting Newtown.
It's inspired, ridiculous, hilarious and intriguing all at once; a showcase of Australian and international ceramicists. Teapot obsessives welcome.
Here, teapot artist Stephen Baxter tells us more about the free event.
What is the Sydney Teapot Show all about?
It's a celebration of the ceramic arts, an opportunity to explore creativity, a challenge to the imagination and a competition where prizes are awarded for excellence. In its 30th year the sponsors are Gleebooks, Comber Consultants, Walkers Ceramics, Keane Pottery Supplies and The Australian Ceramics Association. The People's Choice is sponsored by TTotaler; Tea Rooms in Newtown and The Galeries, Sydney.
Why should an event like this exist?
For the challenge to the artist of exercising their skills to create an amazing teapot that is both delightful and functional (extra points if it pours) and to bring joy to teapot obsessives everywhere. They are known to queue at the door before the opening.
You've created some interesting teapot designs for this event… Could you tell us a bit about your work?
I have been making teapots on and off since the mid '80s. The first one I made was a koala teapot similar to the one in the exhibition. The koala is based on Blinky Bill, he has Mickey Mouse hands and feet, my grandfather read 'Blinky Bill' to me as a child. Astro Boy is represented as well and a cheeky mouse (Jerry from 'Tom And Jerry') poking out his tongue. The characters all hark back to my childhood. Every teapot is unique and tells its own story. I make sure each teapot pours correctly, they are a little slice of bright and shiny, functional fun to brighten up a day.
How did you discover your passion for art?
At school when I was a child. I used to draw crazy cars, hotrods on all my books. Art was really the only thing I imagined could sustain my attention and enthusiasm for the long haul. I made the decision to be an artist one day listening to 'Hunky Dory', a vinyl record by David Bowie when I was 14. I remember the moment clearly.
What else do you do with your creativity?
I paint paintings, make sculptures, grow tomatoes and other fruit and veggies.
Have you had any particularly interesting experiences doing what you do that stand out?
My art has travelled all around the globe, way more travelled than me. I recently had an email from someone in Great Britain who bought one of my ceramic pieces in an antique shop over there. She loved it so much she had to find out who made it and a little history to the piece, she tracked me down.
What is it like to be a part of Sydney Fringe Festival?
Both the Fringe Festival and Kerrie Lowe Gallery are members of the Newtown Precinct Association which supports this annual celebration. The Fringe embraces alternative culture through music, theatre, art, comedy, performance, masquerade, circus and kid's events. We are pleased to bring the ancient art of ceramics to the mix to show a contemporary reinterpretation of an object found in most homes.
What would you like people to know about what you do?
My work is a reflection of what is happening around me, us. I comment on things, lighthearted comments on social aspects of what it is to be Australian and my thoughts on society. If I get a smile or a response of any kind I am happy.