Date of Award

12-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Art

Committee Member

Valerie Zimany, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Andrea Feeser

Committee Member

Anderson Wrangle

Abstract

This installation of utilitarian ceramics developed from the value I place on function, ergonomics, tactility, and surface decoration which abstractly reference the biological structures facilitating our perception. I bring together these elements to playfully explore our relationships with objects - my pots are intended to be filled with food or drink, picked up, passed to a neighbor, and enjoyed in lively daily use. Audiences are familiar with tableware, its use and purpose in the home are common across history and culture. This intimate acquaintance places my work closer to its intended destination- people's lives and hands. Referring to this phenomenon of transference from maker to individual user as the pot's life implies my work's existence beyond a static location. In consideration of the pot's life, my ceramic wares are constructed with attention to the ergonomics of the hand. Sections where a user would grip a vessel are exaggerated, prompting attention to the physical mechanics and sensations of holding, lifting, or cradling the object. This subtle creation of awareness allows the user to become present in the interaction of that moment, the vessel, and their own body. Complementing the form is surface decoration, enhancing the experience with subtle tactile modifications integrated into the visual surface. The surface patterns are abstractions of biological structures and processes. The repetition of these motifs alludes to the continuous processing of information that stimulates our perceptions of the world around us. These ambiguous yet familiar elements give the viewer a subtle indication of the recurring relationships within our biological existence. Whether comfort in design or biomorphic suggestion through pattern, all desired conceptual outcomes of my work center around the functional vessels relationship to the person who is using it. This stems from the notion that handmade pottery is both a direct and indirect medium for contact between maker and user; in a simplified way my work is a surrogate for my interactions with you. My thesis work embodies a combination of subtle humor, saturated color, and an emphasis on functional groupings that facilitate your desire to interact with the ceramic objects, myself, and one another.

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