The Humble Vessel

So what makes a vessel?  Presumably a vessel is something which carries things, into which you can put ‘stuff’.  So, is it a vessel if there is nothing in it or does the absence of ‘stuff’ make it a potential vessel instead?  And what shape should a vessel be?  presumably that should depend on the nature of the ‘stuff’ for which it is intended.

Our latest project at college is to create our signature vessel.  That got the old grey matter going I can assure you.  What on earth would my signature vessel look like?

Adam Buick – Moon Jars
Ken Eastman – Folded Blue
Lucie Rei – Bowl from the Tate Collection
I started by looking at the work of ceramicists whose work I like – Ken Eastman, Adam Buickand Lucy Rei to name but a few.  But it strikes me that a lot of emphasis is placed on the appearance of the vessel from the outside in ceramics rather than on the inside.  All these works are amazing but I want to think about the inside more than the outside – after all, if the purpose of a vessel is to contain ‘stuff’ then the interior is important.

sig vessel
My signature vessel -soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside?

With this in mind I have been considering the importance of the various parts of a vessel.  The walls need to be strong enough to hold anything that needs to be contained.  To be strong enough their construction needs careful consideration, I need to consider the layers that might be needed.  The interior – if the material to be contained is precious it needs to be held in a thing of beauty therefore the inside of the piece must be beautiful, glazed as a jewel might be.  The exterior – as long as it is strong, does it matter what it looks like? And so, you end up with something like this:  . . . . .

Right – to the clay . . . . .

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