4.5.12

The soulful teapot




























































This week I was driven indoors by pelting rain and cold weather. The burden at work also increased and my poor old soul was missing the daily walks and photographic meditations. I love leaving my fuzzy head at home as I set out to relax, open my heart and let nature lead me.

Too long indoors I began to wonder, can so called "inanimate" objects have soul after all?  Is the soul quality of an image coming from the subject or coming from the observer? Would I still find joy in the ordinary and the everyday if I couldn't get out?

This handmade teapot given to me as a birthday gift many years ago by my husband is much loved. (Well yes, both he and the teapot, are much loved!) This teapot is a big one and tends to be in use only when there are crowds around and it gets handled and admired by family and friends. The children amongst us are intrigued and delighted by the tiny teapot handle for the lid. The pot's weight is perfectly balanced in two hands between two essential handles. Little chips have broken off over the years, it has numerous little tea stains on it, but nothing ever daunts the character of this teapot, it is one proud mama!!

It was made by Helena Brennan a mother of 6 children, grandmother and full time potter and teacher who blazed a trail for functional ceramics in Ireland. I wonder does she know how a handmade teapot like this can become a prized and memory filled vessel for a whole generation? I wonder does she know how much pleasure her hands and her labour have given to so many down through the years?

I don't put much store by owning "stuff" but I always treasure the connection between the hand, the heart and the soul.




29 comments:

  1. it's very pretty, and i tend to think that handmade things exude a certain energy for me. i try not to put an emphasis on 'stuff' either but i think it's all the skill and creativity that is put into something that makes me appreciate it that much more.

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    1. The more I really spent time with the teapot thinking about it, the more I agree with you there is so much skill and creativity and heart and soul gone into it, it has a certain magic alright at least for me, thanks Ana:~)

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  2. Wow - what a stunning piece - only made more stunning by your artistic way of photographing it.
    The light is just gorgeous. COme to Galway and teach me how to use the buttons on my camera - please xx

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    1. Hehe, Mona, only grasping the buttons myself!! You do just fine without the buttons as far as I can see.....but a lovely invitation......love Galway...X

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  3. Great photos I love things that are handmade they have so much more beauty and character.
    Sarah x

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  4. I'm sure that inanimate objects can give a great deal of pleasure just by being there. I have various things that belonged to my parents and gran that I enjoy looking at just for the memories that they hold. There are various other things that I just love to look at because something about them speaks to me. I still wouldn't want to be confined indoors permanently though!

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  5. I wonder too whether the soul quality of the image comes from the subject or the observer. I think maybe it's something to do with the circle of energy between them.

    And I'm not absolutely sure that I believe in the concept of inanimate objects.

    The pot's made of clay by hands that return to clay, from which the flowers you placed by the pot also spring.

    Interesting that the images you chose to make emphasise the pot's own circularity.

    Thank you for them :)

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    1. Interesting word "inanimate" .....without soul....... I agree with you is there really any such thing? Especially with handmade objects, but maybe with all objects there is always soul present....whatever soul is...but that's a whole other discussion! thank you Felicity.

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  6. Well done, Helena!Beautiful teapot!
    Foxglove Lane.....brilliant captures of the lovely teapot, memories are great!

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  7. A Theological discussion! Though I have been educated on the subject, I do not trust myself to give a concise definition. It would take at least a page. However, I will put forth my thoughts on the teapot and the like. I think my beliefs will be infused into my answer.
    Inanimate objects do not literally have souls. We refer to an object "having soul" or it is marked with the personality of the artist or maker . A piece of art work or handiwork will have marks that can identify the artist either by fingerprints or as an art teacher told me ,by their style or even brush stroke. An object can also be said to have "soul" simply because of the memories and thus the feelings connected to them. There must always be one common denominator, people. Without people you just have stuff. In order for stuff to have "soul" it must have people.
    It always comes back to our Creator God. We were created in His image. For that reason we have the ability to be "creative" . The Creator put His Mark on us. All of creation reveals something about Him but people are the only creatures that can respond to Him personally.
    Your teapot is beautiful, it has the mark of the artist's hand but when it left her hands it went to you through your beloved husband's hands. Hands of other loved ones have handled it and admired it with you. Friends enjoying a cup of tea poured from it's spout have talked, laughed and maybe cried in it's presence. Yet, the teapot could be broken to smithereens, you would be sad but in the end ,you still have the memories. Those memories belong to your soul .

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    1. Lots of thoughts to digest there, thank you for taking the time:~)

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  8. As a displaced (or misplaced), tea-drinking Brit who is unashamedly sentimental - I understand the love of the teapot on many levels. Wish we were closer to share a cup or two.

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    1. I agree the old teapot is a central feature of irish life too. Mrs Doyle (in Fr. Ted) is based firmly in the reality of our tea loving mothers and grandmothers. Thank you so much I am having a virtual cuppa with you now Karen:~)

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  9. That is magnificent teapot...I think artists create art for our and their pleasure...they indeed put a bit of their soul into it...our memories then add our souls to it...machine made items just don't have this quality and while functional cannot bring us the joy that hand made items can...fab post and incredible pictures that really capture the teapot's essence!

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    1. Thank you so much Donna! Glad I stayed indoors and remembered how important hand made can be, I think you are right there:~)

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  10. Lovely post of a lovely piece of art. I hope you and your husband enjoy tea from that pot for many years to come.

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  11. I love your teapot!!

    I have a bit of a thing about teapots myself, lol. see my blog here..

    http://talesofsimpledays.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/tale-of-ten-teapots.html
    and here
    http://talesofsimpledays.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/teapot-extra.html

    Leanne x

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  12. Stay in the house - break out of the box. Seems an enigma, but it really works. A great little photo-tale of a teapot!

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  13. I am used to coming here and seeing sunsets and hedgerows and outdoor shadows. This ensemble of still-life photos was such a surprise but so lovely! My very most favorite is the fourth one. That tiny petal by the pot is just delightful and the photo made me smile inside and out when I saw it. Such a blue, and such a pink, and what a lot of great feeling.

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    1. Funny isn't it I nearly left that one out? But it wouldn't stand for it so it had to be included. Thank you for making a connection with it, it is fascinating to me:~)

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  14. Enjoy your "proud mama of a teapot" especially with Mother's Day around the corner! As usual, your photos are outstanding. Thx!
    Astrid

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  15. Amazing photography! :-)) And I love the blogpost, especially the very end... 'I don't put much store by owning "stuff" but I always treasure the connection between the hand, the heart and the soul'. That's a lovely line!!

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    1. Thank you Jan, that's about the size of it alright:~)

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  16. Love your perspective on whether an inanimate object has inherent value or whether it has value because we give it. Interesting thoughts and beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing.

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  17. You have a keen eye for an image, and one of your commenters above hits the mark well: handmade objects do hold the energy of the maker's hands. Apart from anything else, if I had some teapots to sell, I'd get you to photograph them for me!

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    1. Thanks John for taking the time, much appreciated.......wouldn't I just love to be photographing teapots for them!

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  18. Hand made tea pots being unique are so much more interesting and tactile than the mass prodices variety. The lid got broken on one of mine and is now used to water plants in the house. i can't quite bear to throw it out....

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A big thank you for all of your comments, each and every one is much appreciated and SO encouraging. Recently I have been struggling to respond to each one but I will catch up with you somewhere on the blogosphere in time! Please feel free to use the contact page if you have questions that require a response.