Through excessively decorated utilitarian pots, my work questions the authenticity of culturally defined femininity, beauty and sexual desire. I use the intimacy of vessel forms to subtly bring questions regarding beautification into the user’s life. A utilitarian form, whether used for food, drink or on a dressing table, enters into a person’s life in a way no other art can, on a very physical sensual level. My pots allow the user to question their own notions of what is beautiful and desirable by drawing attention to the points in life where cultural standards are often blindly accepted. A special box to hold tweezers draws a focus around the moment when we stand in front of the mirror obsessing over any stray hairs. The absurdity of the specificity of the box in turn points to the absurdity of the moment, allowing the user to see the humor in the situation and perhaps to laugh at themself.
There is a sense of shame associated with these beautifying activities. We are ashamed that we have these imperfections and at the same time ashamed that we even see them as imperfections. We gaze into the mirror hoping to see what others see and hoping they don’t see everything that we do.
The interactive nature of functional pots is very important in my work. My pots, like traditional pottery forms used for food and drink grow in meaning through use. Through the placement in someone’s home and continuous use over time, a slow understanding develops that one rarely acquires with a static work of art. By requiring physical interaction my pots become an active part of someone’s daily rituals, revealing new levels of significance everyday.
I am fascinated by the excess of Rococo decorative arts and later work that draws on the ideal of extreme adornment. English porcelain and silver tableware from the 1800s are examples of over idealized beautification; they are highly decorative, referencing nature, but exaggerating it to the point of being slightly repulsive; it is “pretty” gone too far. In my work I utilize these historical motifs of excessive beautification in order to comment on contemporary beautifying practices.