Banner: Porcelain Grace, Meryl Ruth, Fine Art



Teapot formed of deck of playing cards featuring Queen of Hearts with flamboyant hat and fruit tarts.
  • This teapot is my imaginative interpretation of the nursery rhyme, Queen of Hearts (see lyrics below). The work has some absurdist elements added, such as Princess Beatrice's infamous hat worn at Kate and WIlliams' recent elaborate royal wedding. Its design has been modified to make it serve as the teapot's lid.
  • The queen is represented by a deck of playing cards, silk-screened with images of the Queen of Hearts playing card, both front and back, and hollowed to become the teapot's body.
  • A spout and a handle are attached. The former is wheel thrown and altered; latter is formed of pulled clay.
  • The work's name is a wordplay on the playing card, tea, teapot, art (ceramic, of course) and heart and tart ( in all its meanings: the pastry, agreeably sharp and the lady of loose morals).
  • Specfically made by invitation for display at Nursery Rhyme art exhibit at Imagine Gallery in Suffolk, UK.
  • Finalist at Niche Awards, Philadelphia, PA, 2012.
  • Construction sequence:
       Initially fired to cone 04.
       Refired to cone 5. 
       Third firing to cone 018.
       Gold and silver lusters added.
       Fourth and final firing to cone 018.
       Gold leaf, decoupage and acrylic paints complete the work.
  • Date: 2011.
  • Size: 15.0 x 14.5" x 6.0".
  • Sold to a Maryland collector.






Enlarged view.


Enlarged view.








Deck of cards with fruit tarts attached.

  • Large cards are created from slabs of clay, each covered with a layer of white underglaze.
  • Photo silk-screening is then carefully done with layers of underglaze depicting the design and variegated colors of a typical queen of hearts playing card, duplicating both the front and back images.
  • The card slabs are built into a vertical box-shape and hollowed to become the body of the teapot. 
  • Press mold faux tarts with blueberry and strawberry filling, all formed from rubber molds, are made and attached to form the teapot base.

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Princess Beatrice's hat

Princess Beatrice's hat added as teapot's lid

  • The teapot's lid is a whimsical replica in clay of the outrageous hat worn by Princess Beatrice at the recent royal wedding of Kate and William. The Christian Science Monitor described the hat as a "massive ring and bow-shaped hat" and cited that it had been compared to a toilet seat or a pretzel. Nonetheless, it sold on eBay for a hefty sum, donated to charity.
  • My version modifies the hat to substitute a small "tart" for its central component. The ribbons are "pulled" and shaped to conform to the original design. They are used to build the teapot's lid by slab construction technique.

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Spout added.

  • The teapot's spout is formed by wheel throwing and then altered and curved.
  • It is then added to the lateral aspect of the playing card deck body by score and slip technique.

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Handle added.

  • A number of attempts to model the handle to satisfy artistic demands failed, such as fashioning it of laminated silk-screened slabs of the Queen of Hearts playing card, using extruded clay and wheel throwing it.
  • Finally, I tried pulling the clay; the resulting handle is more delicate than the others I tried and fits the design well in terms of dimension, balance and fluidity.
  • After the construction aspects are thus completed, additional embellishments are done for coloration.

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Fired for the first time to cone 04.

  • Successfully fired to cone 04 after having been allowed to dry thoroughly.
  • This use of higher kiln temperature than usual anticipates the application of glazes that impact more strongly on surfaces that have been exposed at their first firing to greater heat than cone 06.

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Completed work with clear and colred glazes and gold and silver lusters.

  • After successfully firing the piece to cone 04, colored underglazes are applied to the fruit tart areas and clear glaze to seal the remaining surfaces.
  • The piece is refired to cone 5.
  • China paints are used to enhance the coloring of the fruit tarts and mother of pearl luster for all the other surfaces.
  • Another finiring done to cone 018.
  • Silver and gold lusters are added to selected areas, such as the outline of the whimsical hat and tthe sides of the stack of cards; silver luster  is applied to the fruit tart containers.
  • Following the final firing to cone 018, gold leaf is added.
  • A small amount of decoupage is undertaken using a matching playing card fabric which I found on eBay.. Acrylic paints are also added to those areas for details, to complete the work.



The Queen of Hearts*

The Queen of Hearts
She made some tarts,
All on a summer's day;
The Knave of Hearts
He stole those tarts,
And took them clean away.
The King of Hearts
Called for the tarts,
And beat the knave full sore;
The Knave of Hearts
Brought back the tarts,
And vowed he'd steal no more.

*First published in 1782 and popularized
by its appearance in Lewis Carroll's
"Alice in Wonderland," 1865.



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