I love teapots. All sorts of them. Old, new, fat, skinny, tall, short - it doesn't matter. I love the graceful lines of their spouts and the feelings they invoke inside me. Growing up, I used to drink tea with my Grandma. Actually, you couldn't really call it tea - mostly milk and sugar with a little Earl Grey mixed in. We would get our tea ready and Grandma would let me sit and drink it in her living room watching TV, and I would feel very grown up and special.

Grandma died this past January, after nearly 10 years of progressive dementia at the age of 96. It was a strange emotional experience for me. I haven't lived in my hometown since I left for college nearly 22 years ago, and didn't get to see her very often. Yes, I got home to see my family at least once a year, but I didn't see Grandma on a regular basis like they did, and when I did get to see her, most of the time, she didn't recognize me. I guess in my mind, the woman I knew had passed on years ago, and her actual death didn't seem as much as a loss to me as it might have otherwise.

Last week as I was getting ready for a show, I finally grouted a teapot I'd glued the pieces to months ago. I love how it turned out. I used old English china, along with a lot of other "stuff", and it turned out great. The black grout really showed off the bright colors of the beads and glass in the piece, and highlighted the broken china patterns beautifully.

Usually I get a chance to "live with" my pieces for a while before I sell them, but this time I needed to make sure I had enough mosaics to take with me, so I brought the teapot along. In reality, most of my sales from this type of show are for commissioned pieces, and I usually don't sell a whole lot of my higher-priced already-made pieces, so I was not expecting it to sell anyway.

Wouldn't you know it - the teapot sold right away. As I was packing it up to give to my client, I was struck by a sadness that came out of nowhere. I had no idea what had caused it, and that bothered me a little. Later in the day, I called my mom just to check in. As I was telling her about the show, it hit me - not only did I not get to spend time with this piece before selling it, but I realized that, when I created it, it had been a love letter to Grandma. Finally I felt it - the loss of a wonderful, amazing woman who had given me a safe and loving place to just be who I was, without apology or affectation, for my entire childhood. My heart filled with love and loss, and I finally grieved.

I miss Grandma, and I have finally let myself feel that loss. I think I'll do another teapot - just for me this time - and have a cup of Earl Grey with milk and sugar now and again to remind me of her and the love she gave to me.
Deborah Truesdell said...


Even though you posted this entry awhile ago, I just read it today and it really touched me. I loved the teapot you created and the story about your grandma. I hope you have made the other teapot you said you wanted to make and that it is making your Grandma smile.

Hugs to you.