Statement of Action

Writing on Pots

Through layering, obscuring, juxtaposing, and repeating script, I create patterns of words in ceramic glaze that offer, as all language offers, the chance for connection. The distortion and disorientation of the text mimics the real but imagined nature of expression. There is an integrity to the handwritten word, the connection to human presence being so clearly expressed in the evidence of the hand. The intimacy of the act of reading allows us to feel an internal connection. Though that integrity and intimacy can be exploited, I am more interested in the tantalizing promise of these (missed?) connections, in the projections, the empathy. However imaginary, however fleeting, empathy is most vital to our existence.

As usual, I can communicate this better in writing, when I don’t feel the awkward weight of human presence, of the other. Maybe that’s what I get from writing. I feel that humans are sometimes more honest and meaningful when they write because they don’t have to deal with societal pressures. There are pressures to written communication and, often, these are felt but the sense of intimacy and privacy in writing and reading remains. This is actually the very aspect that can be exploited by propaganda, both personal and commercial. Written language is somewhat insidious in that it seemingly speaks only to you.

asemic script/automatic writing

asemic script/automatic writing

I want the text to have layers, both literally and figuratively, to be discovered over time, imagined in some places, where the meaning has been lost or distorted beyond recognition. Functional objects, in this case, pots, offer ideal circumstances for the discovery of these layers and secrets. Through use and play, through the simple act of tactile exploration, users know an object over time, comprehending, imagining, uncovering. All art can be known and discovered over time, but functional objects, however fantastically decorative, are mundane; they are just as insidious as the written word in that they are both highly charged and commonplace.

a pattern made out of "me" and "you"

a pattern made out of “me” and “you”

a narrative form

a narrative form

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15 thoughts on “Statement of Action

  1. I have always enjoyed text but found it hard to incorporate in my own work in a tasteful way. The images above are crisp and clean, and offer the viewer the option to appreciate the pattern, or to take a closer look at what the meaning is behind the mark-making. I like that this is a link to what you were doing last semester, and think it is something you should continue to take further. The patterns are lovely!

  2. I love the patterns that are beginning to form, especially “me” and “you”. The variety between the more “organized” and the more “chaotic” patterns is nice, and leads me to see a relationship between the words and the type of pattern they portray. Great idea for language use in pottery… it can be really hard to incorporate words well and I think you nailed it!

  3. I really enjoyed reading your posts. I like the idea of overlapping texts to create patterns so texts are meant to be discovered by the users. Also as you mentioned in your presentation today, these texts are not legible but recognizable as human presence. It reminds me of Doug Keyes’ photographs of the books. He condenses the content of an entire book into one photograph through multiple exposure of the book’s pates onto a single sheet of film. http://dougkeyes.net/section/78432_Collective_Memory.html

  4. After your presentation today, I was thinking about how leaving marks even without the actual writings on the surface, is so present and recognizable in your work. Making a rim in different layers on your bowls, or the way how you are glazing are also beautiful aspects of your works. Have you been thinking about using the technique of laser cut since you are enrolled in the Crafting in Virtual Space class now? That could be an interesting connection between modern technology and old documentation that you’ve found in a museum as part of your research?

    • It’s so funny that you’d mention this Sabina. I have always struggled with the appropriate surface decoration for my work because it is so full of hand marks. And lately, I’ve been thinking that I should try to overlap the two layers of marks.
      I have also been thinking about laser cutting because of CVS. Being in that class, I have to try and apply it to my work or else I’m just not engaging with the subject. I’m not sure if applying it directly is the right approach but I think that I will probably try anyway.

  5. I’m intrigued by the words you use on your vessels-how do you choose what is used? Do you use just English? Have you considered other languages? Also, I was wondering about the layout of the words and what the inspiration was behind that. Your presentation was great and I enjoyed learning about your sources!

    • You mentioned that criss cross letter writing was used to conserve space when mailed letters were charged by the page, is this a born from the American mailing system or did it originate chronologically further back?

  6. The way you talked about writing as being double sided way especially interesting – how it serves as a form of communication but also can be sort of a divide if we can’t read it. The idea of it being a divide is something that I feel like has been coming up more and more lately specifically around the use of script. I feel like fairly soon we’re going to be in a place where people can’t read script anymore because it’s starting to not be taught anymore. Neither of my younger siblings were taught cursive in school. He worked at an ice cream stand with me this summer and my boss takes orders in cursive and he couldn’t read a single one. Every order she took he had to ask one of us to read – which obviously slowed things down quite a bit. The point I was trying to make in all that though was that I think the idea of how writing acts on both ends of the spectrum is a really interesting aspect of what you’re working with!

  7. I know that in a critical response, one should be eloquent and say well thought out things, but despite that I’ll say that I LOVE the idea of fusing writing and language on functional pottery. I think the concept is well beyond the typical words that would be on every day items. Vessels to me have always been something that contain more than just our daily items and materials. They can figuratively hold anything we want. Maybe you could create pieces that have the shape of an item that has the “weight” that you spoke about. A big bellied pot with a small opening could represent the worry we have about speaking our minds, but can’t do it in person… Your writing style itself could be the emotion. Careful penmanship could represent a well thought out idea, while hurried, messy writing could represent despair, worry, etc. Sorry for the ramble, but I’m really excited to see what you do!

  8. During your presentation you briefly mentioned an “automatic writing” process but you did not go into further explanation about it. I would like to know more about how you came about that. I enjoy your use of readable language but I’m intrigued by the notion of inventing a new form of written text that looks so similar to regular handwriting but in the end does not convey any meaning [along the same lines of the Islamic prayer vessels you mentioned, made for people who couldn’t read].

  9. From my notes on your presentation i can boil it down to “communication = bridge or barrier”.

    I also wanted to mention the idea of notebooks. I am not sure where i heard this from but i have a memory of someone explaining how notebooks, journals, and diaries have a tendency to degrade in information for the person who wrote them because we tend to lose the unwritten contextual information that accompanies each piece of writing.

    • I think it should be more like, “communication = bridge AND barrier.” Like any artificial means of extending ourselves, communication paradoxically confines as it connects. As soon as we create a tool or mechanism, it begins to impose its logic upon our activity.
      That’s a great comment on notebooks. That sort of loss is precisely what interests me in handwritten notes. The fact that a loss of meaning is actually experienced by the writer themselves is a poignant example of the limitations of communication while the meaning that remains, however degraded, like crumbled artifacts, archeologically recovered, represents the connective power of such writing.

  10. I think how your work will be displayed will be the definitive factor in how your work is translated. At home, we naturally have an intimate and internal relationship with our own pottery, but how can you retain this feeling in the gallery? I think it must be displayed in the smaller corridor of the Dorsky but have a hard time thinking of unique method to display it. Installations of homes often feel more out of place and become distracting instead of informative. Color has a major influence on our relationship to things so I think this might be a possible area of exploration. Maybe going as far as creating an entirely different environment for a viewer to enter will give your work the intimacy you desire.

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