Get smart curated videos delivered to your inbox every week.      
The Kid Should See This

Ceramic artist Michelle Erickson recreates an 18th-century agateware teapot

Recreating an 18th century artifact is a painstaking process that requires mastery of the medium, an understanding of esoteric artisanal methods, and lots of examination and experimentation. During her 2012 artist residency at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, ceramic artist and scholar Michelle Erickson took on that challenge.

Having spent much of her career studying 17th- and 18th-century pottery techniques, Erickson was able to deftly reproduce a Staffordshire agateware teapot, made around 1740-1760, from the V&A’s collection. It wasn’t easy, primarily because the original techniques are not well documented. She explains in The American Ceramics Society: “The replication of the processes presented here required nearly two years of trial and error research.”

Agateware isn’t made from agate but from colored clays that are layered, coiled, sliced, assembled, flattened, and press-molded to create and maintain their marbelized patterns. Erickson painstakingly demonstrates each step of the reproduction in the V&A video above.

Related reading: Swirls and Whirls: English Agateware Technology. Also: Japanese Neriage.

Related videos: Remaking an ancient glass fish at the Corning Museum of Glass, The Art of Carving, and A Continuous Shape: Stonecarver Anna Rubincam creates a portrait. Plus: More clay videos.

This award-winning video collection is reader-supported. Become a sustaining member to keep TKSST online and free for everyone, including teachers and parents who use it as a resource to spark learning and curiosity for kids.

🌈 Watch these videos next...

Supermajor: Is this oil really flowing back up into the oil can?

Rion Nakaya

Repairing a Meissen Lion + King Augustus the Strong’s Menagerie

Rion Nakaya

In Search of Forgotten Colours – Sachio Yoshioka and the Art of Natural Dyeing

Rion Nakaya

Kintsugi & kintsukuroi – The art of pottery mending with gold

Rion Nakaya

The Story of Berlin’s Museum für Naturkunde

Rion Nakaya

The Silver Swan, an 18th century automaton at the Bowes Museum

Rion Nakaya

Experimental animation meets pottery – A zoetrope bowl

Rion Nakaya

How art conservator Julian Baumgartner restores damaged paintings

Rion Nakaya

Inside the Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben’s Restoration

Rion Nakaya