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Nicholas Bivins, Red Lodge, Montana

Posted By Ceramics Monthly On November 9, 2009 @ 4:51 pm In Ceramics Monthly,Functional Pottery | No Comments

Nicholas Bivins' Toasting Cups, 10 in. (25 cm) in length, porcelain with glaze, fired to cone 10 in oxidation.

Nicholas Bivins' Toasting Cups, 10 in. (25 cm) in length, porcelain with glaze, fired to cone 10 in oxidation.

I make Toasting Cups as a way to fit functional pots into peoples’ collective celebration of their lives. This piece gains significance the more times it is used. A toast cannot occur with only one, and many times, the more the merrier. My goal for Toasting Cups is the act of toasting, so by experiencing the piece with friends through celebration, it is fulfilling its purpose. Using formal language to describe necessary qualities of a functional pot is a beginning, but for a piece to become truly successful it requires a much more dynamic investment and agreement between maker and user.

A challenge I repeatedly face when making these types of sets is finding the right balance between sameness and difference when working with multiples.

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.

Toasting Cups was made with the understanding that when people gather, they like to celebrate the occasion with a toast. The type of beverage consumed can be quite arbitrary, but it’s the tradition of toasting each other that I am keyed in on. This situation is a wonderful arena to play in, because of the importance of the role of the objects. It bothers me somewhat if a buyer does not use my work, because there is a huge amount of information contained in the use experience. I put a lot of time, effort, and research into making my pots feel good, not only to eyes, but also to hands and lips.

I have not yet tried to independently market my work. All of my sales have come directly from three sources: I know the buyer personally; I applied and exhibited work at a show/gallery; or they approached me because they saw my work in one (or both) of these places.




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