I capitalize the first three letters of the word functional in my ClayByLaura tag line because I think it perfectly describes the underlying goal of my clay creations. I like them to convey the playful spirit I feel in the studio and simultaneously provide a useful purpose. As a beginning potter, my designated creative shapes were mostly utilitarian – mugs, bowls, vessels and plates. As I’ve grown in my clay art, I’ve stretched and expanded my repertoire beyond utilitarian shapes as well.
I watched a video discussion by a fellow potter, Pete Pinnell, this week entitled “Thoughts on Cups.” It pointed out and reminded me that the clay artform provides an added communication layer through the sense of touch. Two-dimensional art that hangs on the wall is mainly visual. This additional intimate sense of feel is an added bonus that three dimensional artists (like me) take into account in our creations. Rather than impeding creativity, the potential functionality of a clay creation adds an expressive opportunity and ultimately provides a continuous communication path between the maker and user.
It's one more reason I enjoy clay. I get to create and then pass along that happy feeling to the people that use my art on a regular basis. I’m a fortunate person!