Staging food events using handmade pottery offers a multisensory experience that wholly engages participants. The material encounter is an intervention across the fluid boundary of subjective space, prompting awareness and questions. The visual experience of the objects is put into its place, so to speak; and in fact, the objects almost disappear from sight as people focus on the meaning and significance of their experiences.
Making pots that people use to feed each other, for example, I use material objects to explore the boundaries of subjectivity and engage our sense of self-and-other. In feeding events, my forms bridge the space between two subjectivities, each one reaching out with empathy and receiving with vulnerability. In the guise of chef and server I place myself within the event to observe interactions and collect feedback. My relationship with participants continues when they reflect upon their experience in writing to me.
Rooted in tradition and practicality, utilitarian ceramics actually can serve as radical, transformative art. Experience with handmade pottery can alter the scripts by which we interact around food. Through engagement with the work during a food event, participants are challenged to reflect upon their sense of self and other and emerge with a new awareness of the symbolic meanings of food behaviors and a renewed sense of connectedness.
Read more on this project here in the Studio Potter article that I wrote about it.
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