April 20, 2015 § 5 Comments
Fine art is all about the head, an intellectual engagement – it’s a non-contact sport. Craft, on the other hand, is all body, where touch is central. Art is an experience; craft a relationship, and it means nothing without the utility. Tailoring, carpentry, jewellery, pottery – it’s all the same. The relationship is borne out in the ritual of use within the domestic setting.
This domesticity is important to me as a maker of functional ware. The moments when I am at my most glad are when we, as a family, surround the kitchen table on a Saturday or a Sunday lunch or tea-time. There is much noise and laughter, and, when the girls are on form, plentiful singing. Or quiet days when it is just my partner and I, and our youngest, pottering about the kitchen, doing separate things together – making chutney, drawing, tidying. These are glad times, too; some of our favourite. Since I started making pottery, my pots have increasingly been a part of these occasions.
The catalyst for using my pottery in our kitchen was my partner – I would have been/was much more reluctant – but from very early on she encouraged them to be used in the house. As you can imagine, I had just started to throw, so the pots were crude to say the least. It was a bold move on her part. It was, though, one of the most supportive things she could have done. It gave me first-hand experience of the objects in use. This is a simple and obvious thing but in the daily use you get a feel for how the aesthetics actually work. It is not, cannot be, a beautiful object if it doesn’t function well. The beauty or elegance is only there when these elements dovetail into one another. So, there are pots in the house that I stay well clear of and others that I gravitate towards. And it gives me enormous encouragement when the table is laid, primarily with Dove Street Pottery ware, the piano is being played, food is brought over and the family dives in…