Research Entry: Maybe pottery has nothing to do with food?

I made the statement “pottery has nothing to do with food these days” then reallllly had to think about it.

Maybe pottery has nothing to do with food?

Small scale studio pottery today has very little to do with food. That is little to do with it other than the convention of form, that is a plate is a plate, a mug is a mug. Humans, ingenious and expressive since the beginning of archeological shard findings some (xxxxx) years ago have been taking that form (that that follow function) and decorating it in endless ways, by endless means for endless reasons. Today any food a action a vessel will see is domestic, small scale and  private, disseminated by the owner of the vessel.

A pot does not get experienced (I mean in its full serving state) by many people in it’s life- by dinner guests alone or perhaps by subsequent owners should it outlive its original one. In a passive state the pot may be observed by a few more in a home. A pot therefore is personal, is secret. This, all of this is great. All of this is also problematic.

For mass visual consumption we have photos, catalogs, galleries and museums. All that widen the void between pot and food. It is for perhaps in this context that I state hand crafted pottery these days has very little to do with food.

For food we have large scale homogenized production.

I don’t intend to singularly re-vamp our industrial food system with a mug.

Does quality making translate to quality experience? No.

Where does that leave me the potter? I want to examine the way we currently interact with pottery and the venues where that pottery then gets to interact with food. Maybe it is about changing the venues and way we interact with pots, not changing the pots themselves. This has been a problem for me. What a pot must do-be-look like- to address our food systems and culture. I have no solution and it may be that the solution is not in form and function. The solution may be in our culture in how handcrafted pottery is used and thought about. This it seems is what I should investigate.

Maybe pottery has nothing to do with food, but I still need to make pots!

Thus, a new clay body and colors are on the table to be tested and I have to begin to think what a pot should be, continue to be. What physical form should I make. What of eating?- That is what this is about. I ironically do not own any dishes here in Florida, having showed up with just a suitcase, and between me and my roommate we only have one spoon! And we own no chairs- but we do gave a 12person dinning room table. This table to someday be filled with food. Sharing food is key. Sharing food culture, good times and good tasting food is what sparks interest in food- for the more nitty gritty topics: health, industry, sustainability.

I wonder about specificity of form and function there is a beauty in specificity- specific knowledge or use, we value that. Such a characteristic may cause extinction too- the wash basin or silver sardine opener for example. Can we consciously make objects that only serve on purpose today- in a world reaching charging capacity with over flowing landfills? At the same time, is all things are multipurpose, if everything is streamlined (ex. the to-go coffee cup)how are things special how can they be valued?  This is what I consider when contemplating form.

Food Culture: The Farmers Market

I managed to scout out the farmers market and see what food Florida offers and people watched. It is a small venue but bustling. Florida avocados $0.50 each!

I also have begun to compile a list of food/garden organizations and call them up to chat:

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One thought on “Research Entry: Maybe pottery has nothing to do with food?

  1. Carter Gillies says:

    I think its true that many studio potter’s pots are not about food, even if they are cups and bowls and plates we are talking about. Sometimes the price alone means something will never be eaten from. Or, some pots are pointed straight at collectors who rather than buying pots to use buy pots to look at and beautify their home. I have over 200 mugs in my collection. There is no way I will do justice to all of them equally in my kitchen.

    But if you are talking about how we value things, then its like asking writers how they value books. Most writers read voraciously. They devour the authors that move them, and they read more to research their own projects. Reading is part of their way of life.

    Similarly for potters, you’d think. Potters show how they value pots by the place pottery has in their own lives. It seems every week or so one of my potter friends shares an image of the pots in their kitchen. Pots do have value because they are used. But as I said about my own collection, I probably don’t use most of my pots as much as they deserve. Not for food, at least. The other use potters sometimes put pots to is like the research of writers. We surround ourselves with the pottery we admire as a sourcebook for ideas and the different options we have in addressing the material ourselves. We look at pots as research too. That’s the only way I can make sense of my obsession, at least!

    Just some of the thoughts off the top of my head. 🙂

    Hadn’t realized you were now in Fla. What are you up to there? Whatever it is, Good Luck!


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