|1/21/14 Platinum Carbon ink, watercolor, Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook|
This was my mother’s teapot, which I inherited when we cleared out my parents’ home after she passed away. It’s not the kind of thing she would have chosen for herself, so I’m guessing it was a gift. She was not the type of woman to cherish material objects; she was often burdened by gifts that she didn’t really like, but she didn’t want to “reject” the giver by getting rid of the gift (you can imagine how much stuff we had to clear out of her house). I think this was one of those. She never used it – it simply sat for decades in the glass cabinet where stuff like this accumulated.
It almost went into the “Goodwill” box. But then, even though I have no sentimental memories about it, something made me put it in the “keep” box. My sketch doesn’t really show how small the teapot is, but those are tiny Satsuma oranges next to it – not full-size oranges. (Back in the day, people seemed to be satisfied with tiny cups of tea – not venti-sized lattes.) Made of rustic ceramic, it’s very delicately painted with a monkey picking persimmons on one side, and two monkeys on the other side (I’ll show you that side in another sketch sometime.) [Edited 2/2/14: See the other side in a still life I painted in a workshop.] I think it’s an allusion to a Japanese children’s tale about a monkey and persimmons. I made the sketch life size, which made me appreciate the delicacy of the original work.
I try not to accumulate too much “stuff” of my own, but this teapot now contains a pile of old but random coins that Greg got from his father’s place after he passed away. Somehow it seemed appropriate to store his dad’s coins in my mom’s teapot.