Saturday, May 15, 2010

What's In An Object? Treasure

Prehistoric man made icons to worship and express his beliefs. Today we still consciously or unconsciously imbue objects with certain powers. We value and experience them as repositories for ideas and memories.

The creative maker processes his aesthetics through the objects he creates. Artworks become a visual manifestation of the artist's perspectives. Patrons complete the cycle...maker /object / patron...appreciating the inherent message in the work.

While teaching ceramics, I discovered an affinity for small forms that express an eastern (Zen) philosophy. Robert Yellin puts it concisely discussing Japanese tea bowls. We must "...understand their "spirit," in which simplicity is depth and intelligence, asymmetry is beauty, and cracks and "flaws" are attractive."

This approach relates to naturalism in western art where the purpose is to reflect the imperfection of our real existence rather than the ideal. The work of the sculptor Peter Voulkos is a good example.

These thoughts came to mind as I considered my choice of a treasured work by another artist. I have a small glass vessel created by a friend from graduate school who was one of the most unpretentious and down-to-earth people I've ever known. One day, as I watched him working in his glass studio, he invited me to choose a piece for myself. After careful deliberation over
many fascinating shapes, sizes, and colors, I settled on the modest form you see here. It's one of his earliest and smallest works.

Small Glass Vessel by R. Luttrell (2.5 inches high)

Some might say it has "soul". It has a colorful warmth that flows freely without seeming contrived. The form slouches, expressive of a naturalism I admire. It looks comfortable and relaxed, much like its creator, accepting of the imperfection in life. This small treasure had a lot to teach me. I keep it close to remember.

For more about glass-blowing you might enjoy the work of a consummate master, Dale Chihuly.
Read about artworks cherished by other Handmade Division members:

Andes Cruz, Jewelry by Natsuko, Abhaya Fibers,
kerin rose, Sand Fibers, Purified Art,
Tamra Gentry,
Tosca, Rickson, Beth Cyr,
Ceeb Wassermann, Susan Moloney,


Anonymous said...

wow! awesome post Jan. So thoughtful . I love your Tea Tumbler! And even more so for it being glass, instead of ceramic! Truly a treasure indeed! And a wonderful memory.

Jan said...

I used to be a little surprised at how relaxed and "grounded" I felt holding it in my hand. As I came to understand its message better, I realized I was experiencing it as a call to "acceptance".

You're right...its being glass is wonderful, so smooth.

Thanks, Ande!:)

susarto said...

it sort of looks ceramic at first. it's really lovely with all the different colors and textures! and isn't it cool how things (objects) take on their creator's vibe? :D
loved your post!

Jan said...

Thanks so much, Susan! There are colors I didn't capture here that reveal in different lighting. Glass has that magical quality.

I love your comment that "...(objects) take on their creator's vibe..."! That's exactly why this piece is so meaningful to me. It also makes me consider the message(s) I'm putting out there.


Bill Martin said...

Love this piece and love your description/ideas on what these things mean, and how they affect us:) Great post!

Jan said...

Thanks, Bill, I really appreciate your reading my post.

As makers of objects, I think we naturally give this subject serious thought on many levels.

I value open spaces, so I find myself wanting to justify creating another object that takes up space.