By Andy Titcomb
My name is Andy Titcomb, and for the past 26 years I’ve been a teapot maker. I live in the beautiful and rugged North Cornwall area of England. My workshop is at the end of our garden.
My interest in teapots was first aroused as a child. Whilst visiting my grandmother I was always keen to play with her bright yellow Sadler racing car teapot number plate “OKT42”. Remarkably, it managed to survive my driving it enthusiastically around the carpet and she gave it to me later when I was married. This teapot could have been the start of a collection, but I was determined to be a maker not a collector.
I studied Fine Art Ceramics in College. Having left college, I hadn’t the means to buy a kiln or workshop space, and so was rather relieved when Paul Cardew offered me a position with his newly formed company “Sunshine Ceramics” in 1978. I worked with Paul for a number of years on his wonderful early designs – punk mugs, piano ashtrays, saxophone vases – and I gradually managed to put aside enough money to set up my own business. By 1983 I had my first workshop – a converted pigsty. But what to make?
Teapots of course!
My first teapot was made in the shape of a Harlequin and was inspired by a local shop of that name. The shop closed down but interest in the teapots grew. I was soon supplying shops all over the world with an eclectic range of teapots that included polar bears in swimming costumes, cows jumping over the moon, unicorns, boiled eggs, elephants and, working in a pigsty, I naturally made pig teapots!
The challenge with sculptural teapots is to make the pot an aesthetically pleasing shape whilst enabling it to function as a teapot. Inevitably, some of the spouts dribble, but with my sculptural background I never let function get too much in the way of a good idea!! I am pleased when the pot allows for a play on word – tea for ewe, tea for toad, securi-tea and the tea-historic tea – rex!
My early designs are now much sought after by collectors and are often to be found on eBay for sums far in excess of what I made them for. If only I had kept a few, I would be a rich man! But I’m a maker not a collector, my enjoyment comes from designing and making pots that others will hopefully enjoy collecting.
I will be writing regularly about making and collecting teapots.
Andy’s blog, Teapots Teapots Teapots, is a great place to learn more about, well, teapots!