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Marion Mewburn Ceramic Artist

In 1986 I bought a really cool ceramic teapot in Greece and by the time it had survived a year in Germany and
a year in Australia, it got broken here in Millers Flat. So when I started potting, all I wanted to do was to
recreate that teapot. Which led to me getting obsessed with making teapots. For 25 years now I have had this
feeling that the next teapot I make is going to be the perfect one. Which of course will never happen, probably
for the reason that I don’t even really know what that would be exactly!
I love throwing on the wheel most of all. And the challenge of making all the different bits come together.
The process of throwing calms me in a meditative sort of way, and I love it. Over the years though,
my teapot bodies have become rather a canvas for my stories. If I enter exhibitions, I use this opportunity to grapple with issues which bother me, and I make a story
out of it on my pot (therapy!) I made a pot once with a top wire handle and a little person had hung themself
on it. I’ve still got it because people found it too confronting. I’m going to keep this one.
Though most stories on my pots are happy stories, and I suspect I am that girl on my pots, an ideal version of
me (one that suits polka dot dresses!! …and has geese and lambs and hares etc as pets) as it is, we have lots of
chickens and a cat. And everything I see all around me are green hills. Just green hills and open Central Otago
skies. And sheep and cows. Lambs and calves right now (as I am writing this, two little belted Galloway calves
are chasing each other thru the field next door). There are wild geese up the creek, which I get to see if I walk
up far enough. There are ducks everywhere. And hares and rabbits at night. And of course the birds! I love watching the animals “do their thing. It makes me forget the troubled world we live in. And this is what
I recreate on my pots. As I make them, I am in this world, where everything is just fine and dandy and it’s
always spring… (again - therapy!)
I like to sleep in in the mornings and dawdle. So I work in the afternoons mostly. I make my teapots in batches
of 6 (my electric kiln holds 12 pots). So on day one I work in total silence, throwing the bodies, and making
some bits to go on it. On day two I turn the pots and make more bits to stick on it the next day. On day three
there is loud music (60s and 70s, or when I need to get lots done I listen to Rammstein, a German heavy metal
band) and that’s when I put all the bits together and make all the little flowers to stick on after. And then day
one, two and three starts over. After that I spend a few days painting what needs to get painted. During
the drying and firing periods I have time to play and make other things (like jugs and sugar mummies),
presently I am playing with clay which was delivered to us as “lovely topsoil” many years ago…. I spray my pots with oxides/stains and then clear glaze. I fire to 1200°C. The process from start to finish takes about three weeks. I travelled a lot when I was young. These days I rather like being home! We have a lovely cottage (with a grass
roof and an open fire) which we built ourselves, big gardens and lots of fruit trees, the chickens (and lots of
eggs) of course, a creek at the bottom of the property where we swim in summer. This and the friends we
share it with is my turangaweiwei, this is where I belong now. And of course the odd trip to town (Dunedin) for some cultural entertainment and/or to meet with artist
girlfriends and go to savemart to buy more lovely linen dresses for my collection… always bypassing the
polkadot ones, because they just don’t look right on me.
(This is why the girl on the teapot is getting to wear them, lucky her!)