Carole Epp. Saskatoon, Canada.
The design created for this project was based on research into contemporary trends in industrial design. I was interested in the separation forged by industry between the production process and the viewer/user of an object. Through producing objects by hand, which were inspired by industrial ceramics, I hoped to discuss the impact of this disconnection in the creation of value allocation and the fundamental use of the object. Central to the discussion I wanted to question how a maker could add value to an object extending its life beyond the cycle of consumerism.
Looking at the ideologies of capitalism and its marketing of disposable products through an emphasis on progress, made me wonder if it was possible in our culture to produce objects that might present a heightened awareness of conceptual ideas, process and individual choices or desires. What became clear to me was that the value I was looking for in the objects was not cemented in discourses of economics, tastes, or status, but rather its value was located in communication of a different sort, that of the dialogue between maker and user, which disappeared in machine and industry based work. 1 The end goal for the work was to address how knowledge of process and maker might enrich the objects with a different sort of value, one that wasn’t subjected to the will of fashion and technological progress, and which might create this more dynamic, meaningful relationship between objects and their owners.2 Objects are active rather than passive in their distributions of taste, social status and ideology, but could they also be active in their impact upon our lives and activities? Could the objects we surround ourselves with be used to educate, to challenge and change our habits, to provoke a greater emotional response to the physical world? 3 Baudrillard theorises that “objects become signs with no meaning beyond their symbolic exchange value within the endless cycle of fashion.” and situated the handmade, “not as signs of consumption, but as the signification of time.”4 I try to challenge these notions and their implication that one creates empty meaningless objects subject to the will of fashion, or objects completely removed from discourses of contemporary practice and culture. Could the reading of the objects somehow be redirected towards the value associated with the handmade, the philosophy of how beautiful and unique objects enrich our lives through mirroring our own individuality, and how contemporary craft practicioners are responsive to socio-cultural change and view their work as part of a symbiotic relationship with their audience? Thus in the end I chose to create work in multiples, in a manner that plays with repetition, varying proportions and consideration for the uniqueness of each hand that will hold each object. This is work created by one individual in conversation through an object with another individual.
The work has an exterior surface that is clean, sterile and white, devoid of the memory of my hand, hinting at industrial design and production. The foot of the piece is the only tactile aspect of the exterior form. The tight rigid lines clearly defined by a tool, yet maintaining a consideration for the hand that would hold it. The weight of the forms differs from the expectation one has upon perceiving the forms. Unlike ultra-light slip-cast industrial wares, the thrown works possess a satisfying weight that speaks of stability of design and use. An imperfect spiral marks the interior surface, gauged by my fingers, allowing the material to push and pull in an expressive manner. This human interaction with material is highlighted by a blue crackle glaze that alludes to the properties of the materials and their intrinsic beauty. The translucency of the porcelain allows for the hand of the user to be visible through the walls and base of the form during use. This element is used to bring to mind the hand of the maker, and the relationship between the maker and user realized through the object.
- artist statement – snow series
Filed under: carole epp | Leave a Comment
Tags: Canada, ceramics