Eric Serritella, ‘Birch Bough Teapot’, 2016, Jason Jacques Gallery

At first glance, it might seem difficult to guess the actual function and medium of this object. Painted with exceptional skill and detail, it appears that Serritella’s Birch Bough Teapot is a sculpture of a dead tree with a burnt trunk. Against all odds, Birch Bough Teapot is a teapot made of stoneware. It possesses none of the traditional attributes of a teapot, however. The arched composition of the tree, its twisted shape, and the four culminating branches suggest that Serritella insisted on creating an essentially decorative piece, rather than a functional one. He explains: "Each work suggests multiple stories on multiple levels. Underneath the art, it's the tree's story that is emotionally fundamental." The shape and style of the piece also evokes the inventiveness and floral quality of some of Art Nouveau’s best ceramic teapots.

About Eric Serritella

Inspired by the purity of nature and the aesthetic of Asian art, ceramic artist Eric Serritella specializes in hand-carved trompe l’oeil sculptures in the Chinese tradition of Yixing. In birch tree tea pots and sculptures that mimic weathered logs, Serritella exposes the fragility of nature, in order to foster awareness of the environment. Serritella first discovered ceramics in 1996, which began as a hobby to balance his corporate career and would later become his full-time passion, rivaled only by nature. In his daily ceramics practice, Serritella is able to connect with the earth through personal contact with sculptures that are either wheel-thrown or hand built but regardless, carved with his own hands. Serritella lives and works in North Carolina, and begins each day sipping tea from a Yixing teapot, surrounded by the sounds of nature he expresses in his practice.

American, based in Newfield, New York