Throughout history, different cultures believed that humankind was first created from clay. Separated by land and ocean, this common belief can be found from the peoples of the Mediterranean, Polynesia, the Americas, and many others. This common theme has always fascinated me; why do all of these cultures believe mankind originated from the same material.
Clay shares many tactile similarities with the body. It is soft and malleable, resembling skin. Functional pottery allows me to explore this relationship of clay, flesh, and life, as a way of understanding the bond cultures perceived between clay and man. I respond to this connection by focusing on the flesh-like, visceral quality of clay, producing various alterations that suggest the body, such as folds of skin, protruding joints, and bones. These vessels become an intimate object that can be held and touched. An object that, while referencing the body, communicates through the body. I find that the surface of unglazed, naked, porcelain, allows the vessel to closer resemble flesh through shadow, light, and touch. This raw, white porcelain, surface also focuses on the absence of color, causing the user’s opinions of individual works to be guided more through interaction, feel, and form, rather than a preference for one color over another, creating a more intimate appreciation of the subtleties of each piece. Through function and use, the work is able to participate in life while speaking of life, referencing the body through material, rather than representing the body through figure. Through my work, I address the question, “What is the body when the figure is removed?”