Monday, June 10, 2013

What Makes These So Beautiful?

I think these are gorgeous pots. They were made a few years ago by Irina Davidovich, from San Diego. What is so wonderful about them?

A couple of weeks ago, I was at the Contemporary Ceramics Gallery in London, where there are always fine pots. This year, I saw a lot of heavy, chunky forms and bright painted decoration. Not my taste; I am struck again by the range in taste among potters  --  applies too to any other field --  who make things considered good in quality. It's easier to identify technical quality, though sometimes people prefer effects that look less skilled than they can produce. OK, these two pots are clearly skilfully made; beyond that they are wonderful.

For me it is their delicacy and subtlety that stand out. They are about 3 inches high, made of translucent porcelain, feather light. They are mold made, which produces the side seams. For most people, molds are for reproducing a shape many times, quickly. These pots are slightly different from each other.

Both glazes used are almost the color of the clay, which shows unglazed around the outside edge of the bottom.

Inside is a clear gloss. Outside is something marvelous, with a pearly satin finish, and slight amount of color.

So the color range is very subtle. The forms are similar and simple. Within that narrow range, there is a great deal going on. Different amounts of shine and color. Different shapes. It would be possible, even usual, to sand the seams flat and smooth the top and bottom edges to make a finished-looking piece. Here those rough parts are left, contrasting with the smooth sides and elegant form. Without them, these would be much less interesting pots.

Would you use them for something beyond themselves? No, too fragile, and even too rough. They are art,  a delight to look at and handle.