In a unique exhibition for Christmas, Whitewater Contemporary presents Time For Tea, an exhibition inspired by our nation’s love of tea. The exhibition leads with a collection of 25 teapots by potter Hugh West, who celebrated his 50th year in ceramics this autumn.Since the start of his career in the 1970s Hugh has made thousands of teapots, supplying designer outlets such as Harrods, Heals, Liberty of London and John Lewis.
Also on show alongside Hugh’s works are specially commissioned teapot paintings by various artists including Caroline Cleave, Sarah Seddon, Sally Spens, Suki Wapshott, who was recently selected for the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition at Mall Galleries London, and Simeon Stafford, whose work has been exhibited at the Royal Academy and is included in the private collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The process of making a handmade teapot is lengthy and requires skill, as the teapot must be beautiful, functional and pour well. Hugh’s porcelain teapots are hand-thrown on the wheel, and each handle is custom made in clay or Rattan with raffia fixings. In addition, each of the teapots in this exhibition is accompanied by its ‘yunomi’, the traditional, Japanese teacup that fits snugly and comfortingly in both hands without a handle. “Each teapot should have its very own tea, so that in time the teapot takes on the unique characteristics of its particular variety” says Hugh: accordingly, this collection is designed to celebrate the flavours and scents of tea varieties from around the world, including Jasmine, Oolong, Yunnan, Rose, hand rolled Green and White Tea, and a special Green Tea grown by Hugh’s long-time friend and respected Korean potter, Seungho Yang.