Jars are one of my favorite forms to explore and make. There are so many different ways to approach them. They are mysterious in what they may or may not contain. They feel like bodies, full of breath, squeezed, or stretched. The lids a completion, like the perfect cherry on top that fits just right and ties it all together.
A sprig is a separately molded design added to the body of a pot during the greenware stage. This type of applied relief decoration is called sprigging and its results vary greatly artist to artist. An easy way to think of it is a clay button.
A few years ago I was going through my Grandmother’s costume jewelry, and was inspired by the shapes and patterns to make sprig molds. From her jewelry collection I have expanded to flea market finds and other venues, now with a better sense of what will translate to a good design element and a clean mold. When I use sprigs on my pots I often repeat the same one over and over again in different patterns and arrangements. I love multiples, and I created this bowl full of sprigs so that people could experience the sensation of all these little pieces right in their own hands and not just on the surface of a pot. Image being a kid and digging your hands into a bucket of tumbled rocks in a store and finding just the one that strikes your fancy.
I want viewers to find their own connection with these sprigs, but for me they will always hold a personal significance. As I use them to decorate my pots I know they are rooted in my connection to my Grandmother. As they adorned her body so do they adorn my pieces, capturing a moment in time, repeating it and transforming it.
For this piece I cast a padlock in plaster to make a slip mold. I then made several of these porcelain locks in two sections, top and bottom. I removed all the real locks in the studio and replaced them with the unfired clay locks, installing them on site and attaching with wet slip. The only way to remove the locks was to break them.
I am interested in the intersection between creation and destruction, and the transient nature of what we experience in life. I wanted to replace something solid and tough with unfired clay in its most fragile state, unable to protect anything. I invited my classmates to break them, and I was surprised by how reluctant they were. Sometimes we hold onto things too tightly when we should revel in letting go. I think there is a lot of beauty in destruction. Things in life are constantly changing and there is power in letting go. Some things are not meant to last forever. This fact can send us to a place of “why even bother?” Even if we put time and effort and thought into something just to watch it smashed to pieces or simply fade away doesn’t take away its power and purpose.