The wonderful challenge of the teapot

April 9, 2014
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Ceramist Fabienne Synnott has enjoyed shaping clay since childhood. She studied at McGill University, with Richard Lynn Studham, a British potter. Inspired by Asian ceramics, she is particularly impressed by traditional Japanese glazes: Shinos, celadon, tenmokus, Kakis. For her, what makes tea objects so special is their ritual function. She also tends to attribute this dimension to other tableware.

When asked about her profession, she finds the words to express her love of ceramics: "My hands are two separate entities. They know what to do when I set to work. [...] I am inspired by nature and its many faces. I'm interested in the textures and patterns of the plant kingdom. I love the light and the way it transforms everything. I can be very emotional at the sight of the light that changes the colour of a leaf. Archetypal symbols such as the goddess and warrior fascinate me too."

She appreciates the diversity and complexity of each step of her work. However, it is at the moment of taking the pieces out of the oven that she finds her greatest satisfaction. "Firing with gas or wood, I work to prepare the clay as well as possible, so that the fire leaves its mark. The oxygen reduction, characteristic of these firings, transforms the finish of the pieces leaving a palette of shades that I find beautiful. When the transmutation takes place, I'm really transported in contact with the pieces the oven offers me. "

Above all, she enjoys the teapot, whose fabrication represents a wonderful challenge for her: "I say challenge because it seriously is one! You see, a teapot is made of four pieces that must be turned at more or less the same time and which will then be trimmed, carved and assembled. I treat every teapot as a sculpture in its own right. I search for aesthetic harmony as much as for the pleasure of functionality with a good feel in the hand, a spout which pours well, a screen which retains leaves without blocking, a lid that adds a touch of originality and stays in place when you pour. All this in an object that I want to be unique and well balanced. Yes, it is a great challenge every time! And that’s not to mention when one of these teapots comes out of the oven particularly blessed by the fire! "

She likes to drink tea from fine china as well as from rustic stoneware with crackled glaze: "I have a very diverse collection of ceramics to drink from. It is as much about mood as variety. "

Fabienne Synnott lives and works in Quebec. She is preparing an artistic residency for 2015 in Japan.


Meet the Quebec artisans who are passionate about the objets and art of tea. Every two months, pieces by a different designer will be presented in this unique showcase, giving you the chance to enjoy the great quality and diversity of the work of some of our local potters.

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