Spotlight: The National Teapot Show

The National Teapot Show returns to Creedmoor

by Jessie Ammons
photograph by Jason Dowdle

Teapots have really resonated throughout the artist community,” says Jennifer Dolan, manager of Cedar Creek Gallery in Creedmoor. The gallery’s national show devoted to teapots began as a creative gamble in 1968, when its late founder, potter Sid Oakley, conceived an exhibition focused on fine craft teapots as a way to introduce new artists and styles, Dolan says. The show was such a hit that it’s returned every three years since, becoming one of the gallery’s longest-running and most anticipated art shows.

Teapots are both familiar but complex: Within a recognizable everyday vessel, an artist can showcase “really impressive composition and technicality,” Dolan says. More than 200 artists are invited to participate in each show, and Dolan and her team purposefully invite many who have never before thought to make a teapot: woodworkers, potters, and mixed-media makers. The end results run the gamut from traditional to whimsical, fine to folksy to zany, and they’re all functional. They’re also all for sale, as a reflection of the gallery’s mission “to help as many American craftspeople earn a living as possible,” Dolan says.

Pots in the show come from almost every state, and range in price from $70 to $5,300. This 10th National Teapot Show also marks the gallery’s 50th anniversary – making one more reason to check out the compound 25 miles north of Raleigh. In addition to the main gallery, it has four working pottery studios and two glassblowing shops, and quite a few meandering outdoor pathways lined with quirky North Carolina-made art. “We’ve become a destination for people. It’s a place to stop for a breath of fresh air.”