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Birdie Boone, Helena, Montana

Flower vase with bowl, 9 in. (23 cm) in height, mid-range redware, fired in oxidation.

My functional pots are forms that convey the significance of what I call “domestic intimacy” a recognition of the impact that domestic actions have on our identities and the quality of our lives. This flower vase with bowl is a piece that celebrates the power of beauty in the domestic environment.


In terms of my aesthetic goals, the work must have a strong presence as an object, yet have the ability to offer its contents (in this case, flowers) as a symbol of attentiveness and care for one’s domestic environment. The specific qualities of this piece that make it successful are softness of form and a quiet, soft surface. I have been told that the qualities that give my pots their sweetness are successful, but my work is also personal: As I change, so do my thoughts on domestic intimacy, which leads to shifts in the way I consider form, touch, surface, and color.


The challenge in making this type of form is to be innovative with the structural elements in a way that creates a gestural means for an “offering” as if it actually wants to give something to its environment.


It is only important that the user be aware of my intended function if that user takes an interest in the ideas behind what I make. Beyond that, I think that when I put a piece out into the world, I cannot expect to retain control of whatever thoughts or emotions were at play when I made it. In fact, I hope that it will adapt to its new environment and gain some special meaning for its owner.

This article was excerpted from Contemporary Functional Pottery: A Discussion of Handmade Pottery by 11 Working Potters, which is free to Ceramic Arts Daily subscribers.

Daily, habitual acts of domestic activity are things I define as ritualistic in terms of observing the body-mind connection. To that extent, I always consider ritual. But once a pot is no longer mine, I may be curious as to why it isn‚Äôt used, but would not be bothered were it not used. Function is a multifaceted term and so a pot‚Äôs function may even be to be appreciated only visually. That is absolutely the owner’s choice.


If anything, I think that making a personal connection with a prospective buyer can make a big difference. When I buy a pot, it is usually because I like the person who made it.