Demystifying Form: Clay Play, the Teapot, and Glazes | June 23rd – 27th, 2014
The study of form has always been a core interest in Fong Choo’s career as a studio potter. For nearly 20 years he has focused – consciously and meticulously – on a single form: the teapot.
Why? Because the teapot arguably is one of the most challenging and intriguing forms in clay. Learning it is a life-long endeavor and passion for Fong. Aspects of the form abound: appendages, lids, spouts, lugs, body and handles must all merge as one in order for the piece to be visually pleasing.
So, at this workshop, Choo will explore and demonstrate the hand building and wheel thrown work required to begin delving into your own fascination with the teapot form. Participants will develop a perspective on proportions from the large to the small, while the nature of “play” within this whimsical form will always be in the foreground.
Throughout the workshop there will be demos on how each part of the piece is formed along with discussions on the how the many facets of the teapot can be aggregated into an aesthetically pleasing whole.
A fair amount of time will be devoted to glazing, glaze testing, and the use of the air brush. Discussions on the unorthodox method of spraying/layering by combining mid-range glazes (cone 5-6 ) as a base and then layering low fire (cone 03-06 ) commercial glazes and then refiring them all back up to Cone 6 oxidation. While some of these glaze combinations might run like a “mad cow”, it is this over-melting, multi-step process technique that achieve Choo’s signature jewel tones and other effects seen in his works.
Play surrounds and infuses his work: figuratively and literally. Choo is also highly-regarded for his use of alternative materials in his handles. Attendees will be shown creative ways to use cane and reed in handle assemblages for teapots.
There will also be brief demos on simple homemade tools to be used on the teapots along with unique gadgets and ‘doo dads’ designed for use in your studio. Both Fong’s ceramic works and his unique line of homemade tools will be available for sale.
Through the study of the teapot, Fong helps his fellow clay artists to develop and fine tune a heightened sense of craftsmanship, instruction in the skills required to clay play with this classic form, and develop enhanced visual acuity and skills.
Fong Choo has taught many workshops both nationally and internationally. His most recent workshop was hosted by the Gaya Ceramic Center in Ubud , Bali, Indonesia. This past spring he was also a presenter in London, Ontario, Canada at the annual Fusion Clay Conference. Next summer Mr. Choo will be an Artist in Residence at the University of Tasmania in Launceston, Australia. He is currently working on a number of patron-commissioned pieces.
His works has received numerous awards at The Smithsonian Craft Show, The Philadelphia Museum of Art and The American Craft Exposition. He is an adjunct faculty member at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY, but committed to the conscious life of a practicing studio potter. www.fongchoo.com