Best Dancing-Teapot Maker (2011)

Kazem Arshi

Sometimes, you don't know you need something until you see it. That's the case with most of Kazem Arshi's creations. You could sip your coffee out of any dingy ol' store-bought cup, or you could get your morning caffeine kick while gazing at the turquoise-hued glaze inside your handcrafted mug. Tough choice, right? The local pottery whiz has an artistic eye, hence his graphic-design degree from Cal State Fullerton. He got a feel for the wheel more than 15 years ago in a community-college pottery class. Arshi's menagerie of creations runs the gamut from small, practical household items—such as vases and mugs—to bigger, not-as-practical-but-really-cool treasures, such as dancing teapots. Have a friend who loves to dance and drink tea? Well, then, Arshi's intentionally lopsided, porcelain clay pot is the perfect gift. But what about your kite-loving and kimono-obsessed friends? No worries; Arshi's teapot collection has them covered, too. And his prices won't break the bank. Browse through the items on his store, and you'll find a $15 vase and a $10 ring holder. Another plus about buying from him: There's no middleman. Arshi is both the artist and the seller, so he knows his products—and he can look at them with a critical eye. The price of one of the teapots listed on his website was discounted "because the body of the teapot leans forward a little bit." Fittingly, he named it the Swept Away Teapot. If you're still not convinced Arshi is the best damn potter around, go check out the comments section on his website. All of the more than 140 comments are positive, and most of them drip with the gushy obsession of a high-school love letter.


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