Folk Art

Make-Do Creamware Teapot from Thayer Collection
  • I've always loved the early make-do repaired pieces because show us how precious things were to our ancestors. Although a make-do is a utilitarian object that has had repairs to make it serviceable or turn it into something else they fall into both the categories of Folk Art and Decorative Arts. I find that so many of them are great folk art because they really show the creative ability of non-artists who make the most of an accidental break.

    We are always accused of being a throw-away society (and I agree with that accusation) but the ultimate in green living is to waste not, want not. When something broke, our ancestors fixed it or repurposed it into something usable. “Waste Not Want Not” is the philosophy behind make-do objects and also the name of the only book I’ve found about Make-Do. The book is by Donald P. Naetzker. It is out of print but sometimes found on used book sites. When I can find a decent copy at a good price, I offer it for sale.

    This is another make-do from the collection of the late Robert Thayer. Obviously, the top and handle broke on this creamware teapot. Someone saved the teapot by replacing the lid with a black painted tin top with wood finial screwed in. Likewise, that fixer-upper replaced the handle with a strap tin handle. The teapot has a cream ground with brown striping, orange, yellow, blue flowers on vining stems with green leaves on its fat belly. There is a hairline crack starting midway on one side of body and into base. About 7 1/4" tall, including finial x 10" from handle to spout tip. Belly is about 5 1/4" at widest. The base has a 4" diameter. Underglaze signature "18" on base. The inside rim of tin top has breaks and bends and inside top has rust. The teapot was obviously used after repair.

    #6687    $375

    Reference: Naetzker, Donald P., Waste Not, Want Not: The Art of the Make-Do, 1986.