The FUNCTION of NON-FUNCTION
After having been asked by so many people while looking at my work,
” how do you put water into it?, “what is it supposed to be used for?”
I decided to address that in my gallery talk at Vessels Gallery, in Boston MASS..
Sometimes I would ask them what function does a painting or sculpture have?
So, I wondered, when they look at a form that has no opening at all, or a very tiny one, what is the fixation about putting water in it?
For many, if a piece of pottery cannot be physically used in the home it has no meaning. If a work of art does not exactly match your color scheme it cannot be in the house.
I remember a person buying one of my paintings and THEN repainting the room to match!
For me, throwing these forms is such a challenge! Like Takaezu, I become “one with the clay” . It is totally bonding with the clay, centering, opening, steadily pressing against the sides, left hand inside, right outside working together, often not even breathing, concentrating on keeping the fingers in sync , and an even pressure. Achieving a tall cylinder doesn’t take too long and one is apt to call it finished; however, that is where the challenge begins! How far can i stretch the middle out before it flops? Can I pull the remaining clay back without it falling in?
I met a retired Functional Potter and she bought a Raku piece or two. Her email to me really says it all:
“Shirley, the sun is going down and the day’s remaining light is bouncing off one of your pots….the last pot I brought home, like all the others, has an aura all its own. It’s only mud yet it seems alive, changing with the light. When I’m at the coast I am hypnotized by its ever changing moods I have never thought about pottery in this way until adopting some of your babies! “ Mary B. Retired functional potter