A teapot design is a three dimensional structure, taking into consideration function, proportion and surface decoration. “There is a delicate balance to the teapot, to get the right balance on the handle, making sure the lid doesn’t fall off and that the spout pours,” says Amanda lili Barker, a ceramic artist.
Barker learned ceramics at Westminster College where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Art with an emphasis in painting and drawing. She credits ceramics professor Kay Kuzminski for giving her the passion for ceramics. “Kay was a fun professor and she had little creative ideas and was able to explain the physics behind the teapot,” says Barker.
Barker’s designs tea sets that look like they are made out of wood, and have been her favorite pieces. She saw a teapot at The World Tea Expo a few years back, she and her colleagues couldn’t figure out if it was made of wood or ceramic until they were able to get a closer look. “I remember thinking if I could do something like that someday, then I will feel I have achieved some form of artistic masterpiece, so that is what I have been working towards,” says Barker.
Ultimately Barker would like to use her art training to work with the elderly suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s or recovering from a stroke and children. “I have a minor in Psychology and I want to do an art therapy specific program,” says Barker.
Growing up in rural Utah, Barker was very close to her grandparents. After her grandfather suffered a series of TIAs (Transient Ischemic Attack) he lost his ability to communicate. Wishing back then that she could have done more to communicate with him has inspired her desire to help others. “I was so close to him and I still wanted to talk with him,” says Barker.
Barker would also like to work with autistic children. “I have always had an affinity with children with autism. I can pick them out. I never felt they were strange or different, they are beautiful in their hypersensitivity,” says Barker. “They see and feel things that most people miss, overlook or take for granted. To help someone verbalize, or express their inner world could be a valued asset to the rest of the world.”
“A very young child who doesn’t have the language acquisition yet or the cognition to talk about what’s bothering them can communicate through play therapy or some sort of art medium using clay, dancing or music,” says Barker.
You can see Barker’s work locally at TEAramisu and Tea Zaanti. All of her pieces are high fire stoneware, food safe, proofed and lead free. She also does tea readings and tea ceremonies upon request. Email her at email@example.com.
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