Whether you’re a tea aficionado looking to serve up your daily “Earl Gray” with a splash of personality or an art lover hoping to add some new flavors to your collection, you’ll find plenty to savor in the world of artist-made teapots.
Teapots have been around for hundreds of years, having originated in China and then spread throughout Asia, Europe, and beyond. The history of teapots is steeped in a fascinating potpourri of social customs, culinary tastes, and cultural aesthetics of people across the globe. This rich history gives artists plenty of inspiration to draw from as they create their own variations of this storied vessel.
Here are ten remarkably creative teapots from our collection—everything from beautiful reinterpretations of classic forms to surprising shapes that defy the imagination.
Boasting elegant curves adorned with a rich, iron red glaze, Teapot #53 by Ron Mello is a striking example of the artist’s interest in ancient forms and traditional ceramic techniques.
Suzanne Crane’s botanical inspiration is fully evident in her Basket-Handled Teapot with Red Berries, which pairs impressions from real plants with a dramatically vining handle.
Mary Obodzinski plays with proportion and texture in her out-of-the-ordinary teapots. A repeating floral pattern enlivens the dramatic, flattened silhouette of her Zoey Teapot.
Who says teapots have to be round? Vaughan Nelson’s hand-built Blackline Teapot is a celebration of playful pattern in an unexpected geometric shape.
And while we’re at it, who says teapots have to be, well, vessel-shaped? The arched form of Driving Teapot in Charcoal by Lilach Lotan is a whimsical (and functional) surprise.
Supermodel Teapot by Carol Tripp Martens is an abstracted form that may not immediately register as a teapot. Its curvaceous form suggests the organic shapes of the human figure—and yes, it can actually pour!
A water-pouring vessel is transformed into a fire-breathing dragon in this piece by Nancy Y. Adams. More sculptural than functional, Black Dragon Tea II uses the teapot as a starting point to celebrate the grandeur of this fantastical creature.
Dancing Shiva by Michael Torre pushes the the teapot into purely sculptural territory. Created from unglazed red clay, it is not intended to be functional, but its designation as a teapot makes its flowing shape even more fascinating.
Sometimes, a sense of humor adds the perfect touch of whimsy and creativity to a piece. Such is the case with Riding the Wild Teapot, a petite metal teapot by Mary Ann and Malcolm Owen.
Likewise, The Snake that Ate the Teapot 2 by Sylvie Rosenthal uses the form of a teapot for a surprising (and humorous) effect. Hand-carved in wood, this intricate piece is meant to be displayed as a sculpture rather than filled with your favorite oolong.
From sculpture to utilitarian vessels, these ten pieces illustrate some of the ways artists explore and experiment with the classic teapot, transforming it into something fully their own. And whether you’re a tea aficionado, an art collector, or both, the world of artist-made teapots is brimming with extraordinary pieces to dazzle your senses.