There’s more to the Gardiner than our collections. Take a clay class, learn about the art of ceramics with world-renowned guest speakers, or join us for one of our many special events.
The Gardiner Museum celebrates the art of ceramics and engages local and international audiences by promoting understanding of the long history of people crafting in clay.
Through the display of its permanent collections and special exhibitions, as well as through studio education, programs that engage diverse communities, and major contributions to scholarship, the Gardiner champions ceramics.
Support from the community is vital to the Gardiner’s ability to continue to provide
Reserve your table at CLAY Restaurant for January 31 - February 13 and enjoy a delicious $33 prix fixe menu featuring fresh, local fare. Choose from mushroom toast with burnt honey, Fogo Island cod fish and chips, our famous lamb burger, and more delectable dishes created by Chef Bianca Azupardo and her team.
The Gardiner Museum is always adding to our collection of both historical and contemporary ceramics. Our current lobby exhibition brings together a selection of modern and contemporary works acquired since the arrival of Chief Curator Sequoia Miller in April 2018 and on display for the first time.
Our popular March Break Camps give kids the opportunity to explore their creativity through clay, meet new friends, and learn hands-on skills under the guidance of a professional artist. Spots are filling up quickly. Register now!
The Gardiner Museum is among the few museums in the world focused on ceramics, and is one of the most important specialty museums internationally. It houses approximately 4,000 objects, including European porcelain, ceramics from the Ancient Americas, Chinese porcelain, Japanese porcelain, and contemporary ceramics. Search the collection online!
Support the Gardiner's mission to champion clay, build community, and promote arts education. All of our memberships include a full year of free admission to the Museum, as well as discounts at CLAY Restaurant and the Gardiner Shop, and start and at just $30!
Teapots and robotics collide in Splendid Teapot Racing, a beloved sport of many who embrace Steampunk, an artist-led subculture based on Victorian science-fiction.
Like the name suggests, teapots mounted onto remote-controlled chassis compete in this delightful event, and other than a size restriction of 30 centimeters in height and width and 40 centimeters in length, creativity is highly encouraged—taxidermy rat jockeys, octopus legs, and teapots bursting with steam are among the many unique features found on racers, adding a beauty pageant-like element to the competition.
Countess Simona du Montgomerie hosting the Splendid Teapot Race at the 2017 Steampunk NZ Festival. Photo courtesy the Steampunk NZ Festival
A Splendid Teapot racer by Steampunker Adam Smith, also known as Phineas Phlensing, esq. Image courtesy Adam Smith
Conceived by Steampunk enthusiast Simone Montgomery (or Countess Simona du Montgomerie as she’s known in Steampunk circles), the first Splendid Teapot Race kicked off at the Oamaru Steampunk Festival in New Zealand in 2014. Since then, it has inspired events internationally, with races happening all over the world in countries including the United States, Spain, Japan, and even here in Canada.
“I encountered Splendid Teapot Racing on Facebook and immediately thought, ‘this should be a thing here in Canada—we should be doing this and having some fun with this,’” recalls Canadian Steampunker John Sproule, also known as Professor Thaddeus Giltzmore.
A contestant at a Splendid Teapot Race at the 2016 Phoenix Comicon. Photo courtesy Phoenix Comicon
Sproule, who is credited with building the country’s first Splendid Teapot racer, introduced the sport to the Canadian Steampunk community in the summer of 2015. Later that year, he helped organize the nation’s first ever race at the Grand Canadian Steampunk Exposition (GCSE), and it’s been a beloved fixture at the annual event ever since.
The rules of the competition seem simple: one by one, participants navigate their racer through an obstacle course that consists of a number of hazards—some suggestions outlined in the Official Rules of Splendid Teapot Racing include a ramp, tunnel, jump, and obstacles of a breakable nature.
Plans for the “Ramp of Doom” at the 2015 Grand Canadian Steampunk Exposition. Photo courtesy John Sproule
However, beyond the race itself, things get tricky, with points being awarded for the look of your vehicle, showmanship, and bribery of the judges. Andy Moses, known by fellow Steampunkers as Sir Thomas Nigel Tinkerton, is the founder of the Hamilton Splendid Teapot Racing Association and helped officiate the race at the GCSE last year. He encourages bribes that are inexpensive and relevant to Splendid Teapot Racing or Steampunk in general—ones that are handmade or edible in nature are a plus.
“The lady that won was second in time but was the only racer to bribe the judges. I will leave it at that,” Moses said when asked about the importance of bribery.
Madame Askewa, one of the judges at the 2016 Splendid Teapot Race in Phoenix. Photo courtesy Phoenix Comicon
Despite the unexpected upsets that bribes can cause, Sproule emphasizes the lightheartedness of the sport: “The real fun of Splendid Teapot Racing, aside from the whimsy and craziness of the entirety of the thing, is getting people involved in having fun…it should be generally an evening or two of fun craftwork. And thereafter, you are a teapot racer—a Splendid Teapot Racer.”
And as for the future of Splendid Teapot Racing in Canada? Moses is optimistic: “[It] seems to be received well in the Canadian Steampunk Community. Only time will tell if it truly catches on. I know I am hooked.”
Canada’s second annual Splendid Teapot Race takes place at the Grand Canadian Steampunk Exposition on September 23 and 24 in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. Check out the teapots in the Gardiner’s Collection for some inspiration, and learn more and register for the event here.
Lead image: ‘Get Kraken,’ Steampunker Asp Zelazny’s Splendid Teapot racer from the 2016 Phoenix Comicon. Image courtesy Phoenix Comicon
111 Queen's Park
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