City for Elisabeth
We need the books [in our lives] to affect us like a disaster that grieves us deeply, like the death of someone we love more deeply than ourselves…A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.
—Franz Kafka, in a letter to his friend Oskar Pollak, 1904
Humans suffer. I know I do. Out of that suffering, however, lasting beauty can be created. Dealing with grief is part of the human condition, and as an artist and person I wrestle with grief.
In an attempt to counter this grief and find control over my emotions, I create elegant teapots of unusual size. These teapots represent two things to me: the beauty and order in life that pushes back against chaos and the façade that we all use to hide our sorrows from the world. Each of us tries to mask the darkness, to create control and thus beauty. In this series, City for Elisabeth, I refuse to allow grief to overcome me; I create giant teapots as a source of happiness and as a way of suggesting the power of domestic objects. What I want to do for my friend Elisabeth, who is struggling with the adversity of a genetic disease, is to provide a kind of joy in the exaggerated size of these vessels.
The Possibility of Solace was the first giant teapot I made. As I worked on the piece, I thought of the strange size as a way of bringing comic relief to those who see it. The teapot certainly does that for me. The color palette mixed with the vine handle brings a warm and relaxed feeling to this odd giant. I chose to make a simple dotting pattern around the spout and handle attachments. These dots surprise the viewer, for the vessel appears stark white from a distance. The vessel, in other words, is more complicated than it seems.
The size and color of each of my pieces are intended to unsettle the viewer’s vision of the objects we take for granted in our daily lives. I love the idea of joining pleasure and practicality, of merging sculpture and cooking. Suffering may be inevitable, but the artist can remind us that beauty can help us transcend it.