Pride Rock Royal-Tea

“Pride Rock Royal-Tea” is a commissioned, carved work that is as interactive as it is whimsical. The hat functions as the teapot, the feet each teacups, and the figure in the chest the creamer – all of which can be removed from the main sculpture. What’s more is the surprise bird whistle and the mask which can be moved to cover the boy’s face.


American, b. 1958 Owensboro, Kentucky

Red Weldon Sandlin is a primarily self-taught clay artist who started her career as a graphic designer and illustrator. Inspired by children’s literature, she creates elaborately painted hand-built teapots and always incorporates the image of a book as a painted plinth in each piece. Each book’s title reflects the sculpture above, subtly changed to make a tongue-in-cheek play on the original – oftentimes aligning the story’s themes with her own coming-of-age, highlighting the universal experience of growing up.

Weldon Sandlin’s earlier career as a graphic designer and illustrator is evident in her process, which begins with sketches and detail motifs drawn on tissue in order to transfer the sketches onto ceramic surfaces. She spends ​“endless time” in libraries researching imagery and patterns for her sculptures, from ancient Chinese textile design to books on exotic animal care.



“[The teapot] lends itself to a host of possibilities and is the perfect narrative form, since it can be read by rotating it. I handle teacups the same way: Tell a story start to finish by merely turning it. Spouts and handles can be arms, twigs, hair braids, tails, or even a suggestion of male anatomy. Teapot bodies can be anything from bodies, heads, or even whole caterpillars. Lids can often be a surprise reveal when removed. The narratives come from the stories I read as a child, mixed with life’s experiences. My hope is that I am presenting work that the viewer will be drawn into. Initially it appears fun and familiar, but on further inspection there is more to discover – like a good story.”
– Red Weldon Sandlin