Willow Teapot

Kimberly Sotelo (American). Willow Teapot, 1999. Willow, 22.5 x 27.5 x 20.5 inches. Kamm Collection 1999.55.2

Kimberly Sotelo (American). Willow Teapot, 1999. Willow, 22.5 x 27.5 x 20.5 inches. Kamm Collection 1999.55.2

This teapot-shaped sculpture has three parts—the teapot-body, a lid, and a base or tray that it sits upon. Kimberly Sotelo, an artist and furniture-maker, created this piece at the request of the art dealer Leslie Ferrin, along with another sculpture titled Tea Pagoda. Willow Teapot, also incorporates a tiered structure in the lid and the top of the teapot body, which resembles the eaves of a pagoda building.

During her time as a woodworker, Sotelo was known for making furniture from willow branches, which she would shape and then nailed down over a hard wood armature. By using flexible willow branches, Sotelo was able to make functional furniture pieces with unusual, curving forms and complex patterns, much like those used in this sculpture. As she described in an interview with Home & Garden Television, Sotelo would gather willow branches herself from living plants, which grow back gradually overtime, and designed each piece while building it without using sketches; she called this process “spontaneous engineering.” Additional images of Sotelo’s furniture can be seen here and here.

Since creating this sculpture, Sotelo has retired from furniture construction due to injury and illness. She is now a yoga instructor in Alabama.

-Nora H. Weston

Further Reading:

Sotelo, Kimberly. “A Letter from our Founder.” Inner Sunshine Yoga, Inner Sunshine Yoga & Wellness, n.d.

Wolfe, Barbara. “Designer offers ‘kinetic’ take on everyday furnishings.” University of Wisconsin-Madison News, University of Wisconsin, 2 Apr. 2002.

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