Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Up close and personal with some of Peter Sauerbiers work…

Over the next few weeks I will be having a closer look at some of Peter’s work from our current exhibition, Re-Made: the Assembled World of Peter Sauerbier.
First up is the many spouted oversized teapot aptly named Almost Functional. I love this work and the story behind it (see below in Peter’s own words). Personally, it puts me in mind of the Mad Hatters Tea Party or some sort of magical pot used to concoct potions and spells.

If we jump back to real life though, part of the charm of Peter’s work is figuring out what all the pieces are from and where he may have got them.

The brass jardinière’s original use would have been as a plant pot, probably placed outdoors on a porch or in a landscaped garden setting. The legs and top were from two different Edwardian lamps – electric lighting was only just being introduced into homes during the Edwardian period (1901 – 1910) and would also have been limited to those who could afford it so the lamps would have been originally very expensive items. The stylised plant/leaf motifs decorating the brass lid of the pot are Art Nouveau and are likely to have come from a Tiffany style lamp, popular during the Edwardian time period.

My stepfather pointed out to me that the small dangling bell like objects on the bottom are probably curtain weights – he remembers having something similar on the bottom of the curtains in his parents ‘front room’ when he was a child – they were used to keep the curtains from blowing about when the windows were open.

The fabulous clawed feet, from a different, possibly silver plated lamp, are particularly anthropomorphic, making me wonder if Almost Functional has a life of its own… I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes to life at night and has a wander around the gallery, chatting to Peter’s bird sculptures on its way!

Lisa Rogers

Almost Functional
Materials: Brass Jardinière (approx 100 year old), Top: Cast iron door knobs, Legs and Top: Part of Edwardian lamp, Hanging: Lid from lamp fittings, Victorian kerosene lamp, pewter coffee pot spouts, gas pipe tubing.

“My favourite place for fossicking among the junk and second hand items is at flea markets. On one occasion I was browsing as usual when I asked an old man what was in a cardboard box he had on his stall. He said “How do I know, have a look for yourself,” so I opened it to discover 14 tea or coffee pot spouts. A find like that absolutely made my day. A few weeks later I saw an old lady setting out her bits and pieces, amongst which I noticed an old brass flower pot. It was really on its way out, so I didn’t take much notice at the time, but a bit later I realised I could use it to make the 14 spouted coffee pot! I went straight back but it seemed to have been sold. Then I saw it in her van and she said that when I had asked the price she had changed her mind about selling such an old family heirloom. It had been in the family for about a century and she couldn’t bear to part with it. However when I told her what I had in mind to do with it I could see the twinkle in her eyes and she said, “It’s all yours.”

Peter Sauerbier

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