Steeped in Teapots

Num­ber­ing more than 400, there’s a teapot to sat­isfy ev­ery taste in this col­lec­tion!

Our Canada - - Collectors - By Rose Sanchez, Medicine Hat, Alta.

What started out as a lark in 1980 has turned into a col­lec­tion num­ber­ing more than 400 items and count­ing. It was then that my friend Clare Smith de­cided to fol­low the trend of her friends who were col­lec­tors.

“Ev­ery­body was col­lect­ing spoons. I had two teapots, so I thought, why not col­lect teapots?” she says.

It didn’t take long be­fore fam­ily took her se­ri­ously and then her friends jumped on the band­wagon, too. Now any time some­one sees a teapot that looks unique or may not al­ready be owned by Clare, they pur­chase it for her as a gift to add to the grow­ing col­lec­tion.

Clare’s col­lec­tion in­cludes teapots con­structed of many types of ma­te­ri­als, in­clud­ing metal, wood, cloth, ce­ramic, pa­per and glass, just to name a few. Some come from dis­tant lands such as Rus­sia and Poland, or are of Ori­en­tal ori­gins. There are won­der­ful Royal Doul­ton pieces, and fun nov­elty teapots for Christ­mas and Easter. She also has a teapot vil­lage as well as a few pre­cious sil­ver teapots that have been in her fam­ily for gen­er­a­tions. Then there are those in the shape of an­i­mals, or fea­tur­ing an­i­mals, in­clud­ing sev­eral funny ones that you just have to see to be­lieve.

Then there are all the other items Clare owns that fea­ture teapots, in­clud­ing ear­rings, neck­laces, pa­per­weights, doorstops, key hooks, light switch cov­ers, can­dles, photo hold­ers, cookie cut­ters, night lights and a per­fume bot­tle! Clare even has a mu­si­cal teapot that func­tions much like a mu­sic box. Tea con­coc­tions are al­ways a part of the recipe books Clare has on hand and she has a set of minia­ture teapots that show­case var­i­ous in­ven­tions over the years; for ex­am­ple, one is in the shape of a re­frig­er­a­tor and in­di­cates the year in which the re­frig­er­a­tor was in­vented. The set has be­come some­what of a his­tory les­son, sit­ting on shelves in the kitchen.

Ex­cept for a few of the minia­tures, she has re­ceived very few duplicates over the years. Her hus­band Bruce tried for a num­ber of years to limit the teapot gift­ing to just her birth­day and Christ­mas, but the lure of the pots has be­come too great. Few can re­sist a new teapot for Clare when they come upon one while shop­ping—es­pe­cially if it’s one that is def­i­nitely not yet in her mas­sive col­lec­tion.

All are dis­played on shelves in var­i­ous rooms of the house, with only the laun­dry room and lower bath­room not fea­tur­ing any items from the col­lec­tion. Bruce and Clare look at each other, some­what per­plexed as to why those two spa­ces have es­caped adorn­ment…for now.

When asked if Clare ever en­vi­sioned the col­lec­tion grow­ing as large as it has to­day, she laughs.

”No. Never did I think it would get as big as it is has.” And it con­tin­ues to grow, even if a few pieces do get put to good use when com­pany comes over.

Above and be­low: a small sam­pling of Clare’s var­ied and ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion.

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