The biggest challenge I face in the studio is focus. Being exposed to a vast array of incredible work and cool techniques day in and day out, as I am here at Ceramic Arts Daily, is both a blessing and a curse. Often times, when I get to the studio I can’t figure out what… Read More »
If you are a functional potter, you've come to the right place. Here, you'll find loads of articles on making functional pottery. Whether you enjoy coil building, slab work or throwing on the potter's wheel, you'll find a wealth of information on pottery techniques; from forming to finishing. And, if you haven't already, be sure to click on over to the Free Gifts section of the site to download your free copy of Contemporary Functional Pottery: A Discussion of Handmade Pottery by 11 Working Potters. It is a great learning tool for those interested in functional pottery. The projects are presented in an easy-to-understand, step-by-step format. The photos pretty much duplicate what you'd expect to see at a pottery workshop or a demonstration -- all the key steps are included. And if you're serious about functional pottery, don't miss Robin Hopper's seminal book Functional Pottery.
As we all know, there are a lot of people who use pottery, but there is a relatively small group of those who use handmade pottery. These are the folks who really understand the value of the handmade object in their everyday lives. As it happens, the most dedicated of those people are often potters… Read More »
As the name implies, something that is functional is meant to be used. But I think we can all agree that the meaning of function in relation to handmade pottery goes well beyond mere utilitarianism. I think those of us who make handmade functional pottery do so not simply to produce objects that enable people… Read More »
I value the time it takes to throw each cup and the variation found in
each cup. The work hints more at a practice than a final object. Beyond
that, the cups need to hold liquid of some sort—preferably whiskey.
The addition of a lid or cover on a form adds additional complexity to
the making and the composition of both form and surface that I find
challenging. The covered form allows for play in scale of form and
surface treatments as well.
I am fascinated by the ideas of intended use and actual use. My
intention is to celebrate handmade utilitarian work on two different
levels, both as symbolic objects that affect our lives on a purely
visual level and as objects intended for use.
If I make a piece for function, then it needs to work. Although, I
think that if your main focus is function then a lot of times you leave
little to no room for creativity, which is my first priority in making
I have more questions to ask than to answer, particularly about the
various meanings of function. Is there a distinction between function
and utility? Do we use the word functional when we mean to say
tableware? Is function inextricably linked to food? Is containment an
essential parameter for function? There aren’t necessarily answers; I
am more interested in the conversation.
I think it is important for the pot to clearly speak of function, but I
am not concerned with what the user ultimately puts in it. I did have
in mind the ceremony of preparing, serving, and eating food while
making this piece. For me, the daily ritual of eating and the aspects
involved in getting ready to eat, such as grocery shopping or
gardening, are tied together with making pots.
I think that the challenge of making a bowl lies in achieving the curve
of the bowl and overall balance. I can spend what feels like forever
smoothing that curve at the bottom so it really has no beginning or end
and is just seamless.