Monday, December 13, 2010

What to Look for in Form & Function

One of the things that excites me the most about creating functional pottery is that I see it as an opportunity to integrate beauty into an otherwise everyday object. But we all know what happens when something is very pretty but doesn't function well - it stops getting used and then what's the point. So function is important to me, and it's very closely tied to form.

Here are the thoughts that bounce around inside my head whenever I am making a particular type of pot:

•Mugs: not too heavy, handle fits hand, rim fits the lip and doesn’t dribble.

•Pitchers: breaks flow of liquid to pour cleanly, handle fits hand.

•Vases or pencil cups: bottom-heavy to prevent tipping, tall enough to work.

•Bowls: nice, thin walls and smooth continuous lines that look nice.

•Dinnerware: need to stack and have sturdy edges to prevent chips.

•Platters: big enough to function but small enough to fit in dishwasher.

To me, those are the must-haves for each of those kinds of pots. If they don't function in those ways, I won't bother. And in our house, if a pot doesn't function well, we break it with a hammer and use the pieces in the bottom of one of potted plants or trees to keep the drainage gravel from dribbling out the holes in the bottom. I suppose that's also a function - but not the intended one, so it doesn't count...

1 comment:

  1. I found this to be so compelling. So many artists overlook utility in the misguided quest for pulchritude alone. Bohemians!

    "Art for art's sake" is so Eurocentric and dated. So Gautier!

    "Art is functional!" ~ Leopold Senghor in "Black African Aesthetics"

    Amen to Senghor. An otherwise brilliant mug which dribbles disappoints; a mere hatchet job! And a pencil cup which tips can send me into a fret. Dinner plates which do not stack evenly are to me as the burger out of alignment with its bun, the cheese all askew.

    Adhere to the principal of functional art, I say, and you shall be forever my potter!