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Ceramic Tours De Force At Exhibit

Drop by the Oyster Bay Historical Society’s Koenig Center, 20 Summit St., to see their newest exhibit, It’s Time for Tea. The juried art show features ceramic works of art related to tea and its accouterments, on display now through June 8. The work was created by the members of the Ceramic Media Group of the Long Island Craft Guild, and features a selection of both functional and sculptural pieces.

A special bonus at the show is “The Juror’s Corner,” a display of several on the miniature teapots made by renowned ceramist Fong Choo, who judged the show online by viewing jpegs. They demonstrate the breadth of possibility in his approach to the utilitarian shape.

Juror Choo has taught many workshops nationally and internationally and most recently at the Gaya Ceramic Center in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. Next summer, he will become Artist-in-Residence at the University of Tasmania in Launceston, Australia. His work has received awards at the Smithsonian Craft Show, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the American Craft Exposition.

Choo challenges ceramicists to think of working with clay as “poking a sleeping tiger” to see what will happen when you poke the clay.

Tour de Force

Crafting a teapot is a daunting task: you have to add a spout, handle and lid to the belly of the pot (the sections have names borrowed from the human body: belly, neck, shoulder, foot). That means you have to make a joining strong enough for the pot to be picked up, and to be able to pour out a liquid out without having a leak. [Drips don’t count.]

The top to the pot is another tour de force in that you have to make a small item to fit on the top of the pot. The items dry separately and still have to end up the same size so the lid will sit on top, and stay there when poured.

Oyster Bay Historical Society Executive Director Philip Blocklyn said, “What was so amazing about the exhibit it that the body and spout of the tea pots were especially successful in that they seemed an integral part of each.”

The Winners

Judge Choo selected eight pieces for awards, going to the artists Barbara Karyo (Best in Show) of Glen Head, C.C. Bookout (Award of Excellence and Judge’s Choice), Jonathan Zamet (Award of Excellence), Beth Heit (Judge’s Choice), and Awards of Merit to Rosalie Dornstein, Ruth Sachs and Florence Vignona. Awards were presented to the winners at the opening reception by Nancy Yoshi, LICG vice president.

Oyster Bay studio potter Maria Karlberg-Levin also has her piece, “Woodland Tea Party” displayed in the show. The group of seven items set on a piece of natural wood, was not for sale. 

The It’s Time For Tea team members who organized and mounted the exhibit are: Nancy Yoshii, LICG vice president; Philip Blocklyn, host; Barbara Karyo, LICG board member; Marcey Sherman; Puneeta Mittal, chair of the LICG Clay Media Group; Theresa Finnegan; Jacqueline Blocklyn; and Nicole Basso, proprietor of the Huntington Tea Shop, who contributed three of the awards.

Next Events

Nancy Yoshii said to Blocklyn, “Thanks again for making such a lovely reception possible, the tea show looked just wonderful.”

She also invited the public to the next LICG meeting on May 15, featuring fiber artist/quilter Paula Kovarik from Memphis. Admission is free and meetings begin at 7 p.m.; doors open at 6 p.m. at the Syosset Public Library, 225 South Oyster Bay Rd., Syosset, just north of the LIE. For information, call the library at 516-921-7161.

The next event for the It’s Time For Tea exhibit is a Raku Workshop (an outdoor firing) presented by the LICG with Brett Thomas on Saturday April 26 and Sunday, April 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is a fee. For registration and further information, please contact Puneeta Mittal at 631-239-6263 or 655-7798 or by email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

“The event will take place at the Oyster Bay Historical Society, that is what is so interesting. The raku firing tradition started with the tea ceremony so it is appropriate,” said Mittal.

 The Oyster Bay Historical Society hours  are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2  p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sunday 1 to 4 p.m. For more information or directions, call OBHS at 516-922-5032.