tea time at two for smiley

Tea Time at Two for Smiley


March 2007


Height: 79 cm
Diameter of Base: 26 cm


Trumpet, teapot, faucet, reflector cup for wine or whiskey tasting


In order to explain how this particular functional creation came to be, I will take a moment to reflect on my perception and appreciation of functional or industrial objects. As might be obvious to anyone who has viewed other pages on this website (see the Concept Page for further explanation), I have a strong affinity for old broken down musical instruments, their inherent beauty and grace, even though they no longer have the functional ability to play music. 

It was this sentiment that initially led me to start transforming musical instruments into lamps, and to start using them in the assemblage sculptures that can be viewed in the pages of this website. In the last 10 years, the kinds of objects that have been included into these art sculptures has grown beyond musical instruments to include pots, heat reflectors, balance scale trays, faucets, metal wheels, and binoculars, to name only a few. 

Despite my vigilant search for new and interesting metal objects that might be used in these compositions, somehow the "lowly" kitchen teapot managed to escaped my gaze and imagination. Looking back, I am not quite sure how this happened. After all, although straightforward in function (basically a covered pot with a permanent spigot to pour hot water out of), the teapot is elegant both in its design and its simpleness. And so, it is interesting to reflect on why it manged to elude my focus for so long. 

Perhaps one reason is that, unlike a musical instrument whose styling and design is not much different today than it was 50 years ago (making it somehow "timeless"), the teapot has undergone rather massive redesigns over the years. The material, coloring, and shape have continuously been updated or revised. For this reason, most teapots, particular the newer models, would not be interesting within the context of the compositions that I create. And for this reason, all teapots tended to escape my notice. 


But the teapot that has been incorporated into this latest composition is not commonplace (by today's standards) by any sense of the imagination. An all chrome teapot, like the one represented in this sculpture, is of a classic design, a design with clear lines and simple styling. To me, it speaks 1940's or 1950's, although I really have no clear idea of when it was made. 

It is worth mentioning one advantage of incorporating a teapot into a light sculpture (such as the one represented in the picture above).Since a teapot is a completely "enclosed" space on the inside, this makes it very amenable to the "shaping" and "projecting" of light. 

In this specific composition, by moving the teapot cover (top) up and to the left, a kind of crescent shaped smile was created. This allowed light to be projected out with a lighthearted or humorous effect. Note that the light that the teapot gives off is not very bright, certainly not bright enough for reading, at least not easily. I imagine it living in a child's bedroom somewhere, a night light with a smiling face. For me, it evokes early memories of childhood, perhaps as an animated talking teapot in a cartoon, perhaps a Betty Boop cartoon. 

My original intention was to put the clock behind the teapot cover (in the middle). Notice that from a spatial perspective, this would have allowed the spigot of the teapot to represent the point in time when 2 o'clock was reached. This accounts for the "two" in this piece's title. But if this goal were followed as planned, the round handle in the middle of the teapot cover would have had to be partially destroyed; And this was such a nice feature, almost "nose like", that I decided to leave it intact. Instead the clock was relocated to the bottom right. This gives the overall composition additional balance, since much of the sculpture is "heavy to the left". It also satisfied the original goal of incorporating a clock into the composition, and it kept the title relevant to the composition. 

So I present to you "Tea Time at Two for Smiley".