Past Work

Teapotty: Water (Ice)

  Ice teapot   Completed ice teapot, although completion of the actual project involved allowing it to melt, so that the material returned to its original state as water.

With a bit of trickery I was then able to create a video of the teapot appearing to emerge from a puddle of water:

Click here to see the video on Youtube
  Water  This was the starting point for this particular teapot.  I set up a "Challenge Peter" exercise at college, inviting everybody to propose a material for making a further teapot.

I got a total of 64 suggestions and this one was picked out at random.   In fact, water or ice was suggested by 2 or 3 other people as well.
  Mould for ice teapot   A hollow teapot seemed too challenging so I decided it would have to be solid.

I took the plastic moulds I'd used to make the chocolate teapot - cutting off the flat parts to leave just the two halves of the teapot shape, and then sellotaping them together.

Not surprisingly perhaps, it leaked like a sieve when I tried filling it with water.
  Mould for lid of ice teapot  I made the lid with the Gelflex mould I'd used previously to make the resin lid of the nail teapot.
  Lid of ice teapot   The Gelflex went hard in the freezer so I had to let it thaw out a bit before I could remove the ice lid, pictured.

  Mould for ice teapot  Back to the body of the teapot.

I "solved" the leaking issue by sealing up the joints with clay.  This enabled me to fill the mould up to the top with water and pop the lid in place, as shown.

However, the clay set rock solid and when I tried using a hammer to remove it, I ended up breaking the spout.

To cut a long story short, I ended up getting the clay off but then having to repair the ice inside the mould by pouring in small amounts of ice cold water and hoping it froze before it leaked out.

In the end it worked.
  Experimenting with photographing ice melting  I'd decided right at the outset that I would take a time-lapse video of the ice teapot melting and then play it backwards so that it appeared as though I'd used some sort of magic to create the ice teapot out of a puddle of water.

I had to do quite a lot of experiments to figure out how to do this.  In one of them, pictured, I froze a block of water weighing the same as the teapot so I could get some idea of how long it would take to melt.

It took about 14 hours so I set the remote controller on my camera to take a shot every minute. 

In another experiment, I left the camera taking 1 shot per minute and the battery lasted just over 24 hours.

I set the camera to minimise the size of photos and as a result, the memory card managed to store around 1,500 shots before the battery ran out.  Having small size photos proved useful later on because shifting around huge numbers of photos on a computer can prove a little challenging.
  camera setup for time lape photography of ice teapot  

This was the setup for taking the time-lapse.

I put the teapot on a small stand inside a tray covered with black cloth which I also used for the backdrop.

I blacked out my workshop, borrowed some professional LED photography lights from college, and then played around with camera setting, light positions etc.

I did some of this with the original ceramic teapot.  Then I shifted to the ice one, carrying it in cold towels and returning it to the freezer after each experiment.

After I thought I'd optimised all the settings and positions and so on I took a video of the ice teapot on its stand and me picking it up, examining it and then removing it.

I then started the time-lapse video.  The teapot took more than 18 hours to melt and the camera took 1,128 shots.

I edited the shots in Adobe Lightroom using its "synchonise" feature to get the settings right on a single photo and then apply it to all 1,128. 

I then used some free Mac software called Time-Lapse Enabler to convert the photos into a video.

Finally, I used Apple's iMovie to reverse the time-lapse, trim some of the frames from the beginning and end, and then stitch on the clip of me picking up the "completed" ice teapot and inspecting it.

<< Back