Making Tea Wrex, Part One

by shelbyvision on June 22, 2011

Because this was such a big project, and there are so many pictures, I’ve decided to do it it three parts, so without further ado, I will begin with Part One.

This started a couple years ago when someone at a gallery asked me if I make teapots. I never had made a teapot, so I thought it might be a good idea. I started looking at pictures of teapots on the internet, and soon discovered that the teapot has been a vehicle for creativity to an extent that boggles the mind. There is almost infinite variety. One thing I couldn’t find, though, was a T. Rex teapot, so, alas, I had an original idea. Then about a year ago I saw a call for submissions of craft items for a book, “Humor in Craft“, and this gave me a goal to shoot for with my “Tea Wrex”, which existed only as a tiny doodle on a pad of paper, already named. I didn’t get started in earnest until last Fall, making the clay model.  Unfortunately, since other things kept getting in the way, Tea Wrex kept getting put aside, and I missed the deadline for the book by about three months.

It took me a while to decide what kind of metal to use for this piece. I usually use brass, but I decided brass would not be appropriate for a teapot. I had been working in bronze, and considered that, but decided bronze would be much too hard to form for something this complicated. I finally decided to use some copper I had, from a piece of 4″ copper tubing that had been given to me a couple years ago. Little did I know how difficult it would be to form and silver solder copper this thick (0.100″, 2.54mm). The rest of that copper will be used for simpler projects!

Now for the process. The clay model was dipped in molten “dip seal” (see this post for more about this process). The rubbery dip seal was cut with a sharp knife along the lines where seems would be. The leg/tail portion, which was the most difficult to visualize as a flat piece, was made fairly easy using this as a pattern.

01 02

The next few pictures show just a smattering of the many steps involved in forming the leg/tail section. First, starting the curvature of the tail, then continuing that curvature to the body (it looked like an elephant for a while, hmmm…), then forming the legs. Finally, the tail section silver-soldered.

03 04 05 06 07 08

Next, we have some tools I had to make to form the toes, and using a couple of those tools.

09 10

The tail/leg section is now finished, and so is Part One. Time to go on to Part Two, the making of the belly, jaw, and head.

Go to Part Two.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

shelbyvision January 20, 2012 at 3:34 am

Sorry, I can’t help you with that. I have no experience with enameling.

flatlander37 January 19, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Hi. I was wondering if you know if copper can be enameled after two pieces have been silver soldered together? Have you ever tried a teapot?

shelbyvision August 13, 2011 at 12:33 am


Cindy August 12, 2011 at 11:28 pm


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