Thursday, August 13, 2009

Compound Decoration







When I throw a vessels the completed object is in my mind. I think of the magnolia or the nest or the eucalyptus twigs and try to get the line of these things, the single complete line, through my arms and fingers into the clay to create the three dimensional field for the decoration. Many people would say "How can you tell the difference isn't a tea bowl a tea bowl?" The difference becomes obvious when the decoration is complete. Each element of the vessel, the form, the function, the colour, the compostion, the weight and the texture must all enhance each other, none taking over from the original idea so that what looks like a plain old tea bowl becomes a thought about sunny afternoons with nothing to do lying in the head high grass or the way things grow, or the enormous interconnected emotions arond the family and the home symbolised by a nest, when it is held in the hand.

There are about 17 steps in each pot (they take ages!) The purpose of all this mucking about with raw pots is to integrate the surface and the form. Vessels are interesting because the field for the drawing has edges in the rim and foot of the piece. The decoration can lead the fingers over the rim or contain the eyes within the bowl of the vessel. The purpose of the line is to seduce one into touching the piece then move the toucher through the pot making them aware of the weight the thinness of the rim, the texture of the line and colours. All my pots have "hidden" textural and visual elements. Some can only be seen if the vessel is held up to the light at a certain angle and the edge reveals the surprise of translucence, some will only be discovered as you wash up and feel the pots underwater or turn it upside down. I want the decoration and the conceptual idea to be totally integrated into the pot not just floating on the surface. The vessels are in continual dialogue with those who see them and handle them. Only those who look closer can really experience this back and forth between the inanimate object and their own body. At the same time the imagery suggests other things so the viewer is led to a "gate" into visual concepts and the philosophical thoughts that might arise from this.

The form is the thing that makes domestic ceramics such a powerful force. Because the vessel is such an innocuous, common form it creates a space where all these other things can slip in. Between the noise of making school lunches, the clatter of saucepans, sizzle of eggs frying and tug of the life of the house there is a small , quiet space in a tea bowl or milk jug where , for a second you can smell the dusty grass of a long sunny afternoon with the bees buzzing around your head and the cloud shadows chasing each other across the blue, blue sky.

8 comments:

Valerie A. Heck said...

In the first picture of the pot (when it was upside down) the green lines looked like a necklace to me, I guess that's the jeweler in me. Lovely work!
Valerie
http://valerieaheck.blogspot.com/

theresa yondo said...

Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for working with clay and for your ability to share the process.
Thersa Yondo
Concept to Creation

gerry wedd said...

nice....

Anna said...

Oh that sounds so good - I am still struggling with form and decoration!

Amanda said...

This is a wonderful piece of writing Shannon. A beautiful shared insight. Thank-you.

Linda Starr said...

I love the layered effects you have achieved on your beautiful bowl, reminds me of a watercolor painting. Form and decoration is something I would like pay closer attention to in my own work. thx.

mazzy said...

Hello, I love your work very much. Enjoying your blog. I live in Australia and feel that you have managed to capture that lovely bush essence in your pots. You must spend quite a bit of time out in the natural surrounds. I to do ceramics. Have spent a bit of time at Tafe a while ago. Wish I were still there. Maybe going back next year. Am presently working on a studio space and purchasing a kiln. Can hardly wait to really get into it in my own time and place. Shall hopefully upload some pics of my work on my blog soon.

judsculpt said...

Your work is always beautiful and I would like to see it one day when I visit Queensland. Good luck with your new ventures.