Sheridan College of Technology and Advanced Learning, Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Instructor: Bruce Cochrane
CM: How much does the long-term durability of these pieces matter to you?
Beauty, desirability, fragility do not translate well into durability. Ceramic objects break, durability depends on how diligent we are at protecting them. In my series Perimeters, which consists of garden fragments of aggressive species, the three-dimensional tiles/cushions evolved from a need to protect the now delicate plant materials. How protected they remain is determined by the possessor, who chooses from a variety of options: hung on an exposed wall, placed in a corner behind the distance of a table, or more deliberately protected in a display case or cabinet.
Unlikely as it may seem, these pieces sat unprotected on ware-racks at school, traveled safely from school to home at the end of term, then made it to several exhibitions and back in the trunk of a car. That said, these works are fragile. Their durability/survival requires protection, but the degree of protection is a matter of perception, perceived preciousness, and perceived vulnerability. Survival is about choices and how we manage risk.
My grandmother’s prized porcelain was valued because of its fragility and kept safe in a cabinet behind glass doors, rarely, if ever, called into service. My ceramic process gravitates towards experimentation and material failure; this vulnerability translates into survival as narrative.