To say that anything is typically American, even teapot styles, is to discount about 99% of the country. (I should clarify that I am using “American” here in the widespread meaning of referring to us “Yanks,” that is, citizens of the United States. Sorry, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America!) We come from such a broad spectrum of cultures, and each has brought pieces of that culture here, blending those pieces with what was already here, that to say anything is typical brings a chuckle to my lips.
Case in point was when a friend from Germany visited years ago. He and some other economy students at his university were on a trip to visit a business park here in the U.S. He asked me to recommend a typically American restaurant. My brain screeched to a halt, and then it began cranking so fast, trying to think of something that could be described as typically American, that you could hear my brain gears creaking. I finally opted for one of those high-class pizza places. Truth be told, however, it was not what I would consider typical. The same applies to teapots. We each have in mind an idea of what we consider typical.
The teapots chosen to show below are but a miniscule sampling of the variety that teapot makers here have available.
Some Teapots I Consider Typically American
They are all quite different yet all useful (just like a good teapot should be). And they all evoke the spirit of this country: “be free to be yourself.”
- Pewter Teapot — Sure, Paul Revere is a better known metalsmith, making useful items from silver and pewter, due to that Longfellow poem, but other metalsmiths were busy, too, crafting teapots and other wares out of silver and pewter both before and after our colonial days. One such craftsman was George Richardson who created this gorgeous pewter teapot. This is an inverted “double ender” teapot (the body was molded in a top and bottom half that was welded together seamlessly).
- Stoneware Teapot — Think rustic log cabin or sod house. Think of a lifestyle that squeezed every bit of use possible out of an item, not just throwing it away when it got chipped, ripped, dented, or out of style. Think of patching something until there is nothing left to patch just because there is no store nearby or online shopping to purchase a replacement. But think also of taking raw materials out of the ground and building items of use and beauty. Here is a fine example from an American pottery firm called Louisville Stoneware that I wrote about previously.
Here is our version being greeted by another American teapot (the infamous Little Yellow Teapot who considers all teapots to be his cousins):
- Athena Teapot — Often when people think of modern, they think of sleek and sophisticated. This porcelain teapot has both visual elements conveyed by the simple lines, a more squat shape, a high gloss finish, and an unusual handle design. Best of all, it holds a generous 44 ounces of tasty tea — plenty for sharing with a friend or two. And it’s safe to put in the dishwasher and microwave. Very modern!
- Industrial Teapot 2 by Rebecca Sabo — The U.S. spans the continent of North America from ocean to ocean. In-between there are big cities, towns ranging in size from ones that are comfortable yet has amenities to ones that if you sneeze while driving through them, you miss seeing them entirely. Teapots are in them all. Here, potter Rebecca Sabo captures the industrial character of some parts of this country. This teapot was part of an exhibition in American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, California, in 2012.
You will, no doubt, have teapots that you consider typically American. We’d love to see them!
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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