Bountiful

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Material Information

Title:
Bountiful
Physical Description:
Project in lieu of thesis
Creator:
Pattee, Dandee
Publisher:
College of Fine Arts, University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date:

Notes

Abstract:
Functional pottery historically plays a celebrated role in the idea of abundance and benevolence. When the user engages with the work in Bountiful, the voluptuous forms and humorous, exaggerated proportions speak to certainty and comfort, while also good-naturedly poking fun at traditional pottery forms. The work in Bountiful uses bold and uncomplicated rounded forms that are made to evoke the sensations of comfort through sensuality and certainty through mass, while also referencing the vastness of an open western landscape. While in use, the curvaceous masses of the vessels fill the hand, and evoke buried subconscious memories of plenty. The un-obstructed western landscape of Wyoming commonly reminds those who witness it of abundance and possibility, much like the sense of hope that comes from the anticipation of eating a delicious meal. These sensations in the work are supported by the luscious matte glaze surfaces that are on the vessels, specifically chosen for their smooth, tactile, cool surfaces. Various hues of greens, tans, and reds make up the color palette of the exterior glazes used in Bountiful. They are derived directly from geologic formations, and also various species of shrubbery that grow on low rainfall grasslands. Intentionally bright and visually contrasting glazes line the interiors of the pots. These glazes are meant to surprise and delight the user as they interact with the vessel. While the forms are made to capture the awe of a sweeping landscape, and generate security through mass, there is subtle humor at play in the proportional relationships within individual vessels. As an element of design, proportion plays a key role in the overall impact the vessel has on an audience. When the proportion is dramatically altered by either over or under-exaggeration, the end product creates an intentional imbalance. This imbalance can be read as fun, and it teases the expectations of what forms functional pots traditionally take. A large bulbous handle on a mug is one example of the imbalance. Another example is a handle on a pouring vessel that is nearly as large as the containment space of the vessel, where the handle looks to be nearly consuming the pot. These specific exaggerations subvert the commonly held “rules” of function that are constantly at play in the user’s experience. When the user picks up the piece, and is delighted by the scale and silly proportions, I am one step closer to accomplishing the serious work of engaging the audience.
General Note:
Ceramics terminal project

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID:
AA00011352:00001


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1 Bountiful By DANDEE PATTEE SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE: LINDA ARBUCKLE, CHAIR ANNA CALLUORI HOLCOMBE, MEMBER LAUREN GARBER LAKE, MEMBER NAN SMITH, MEMBER A PROJECT IN LIEU OF THESIS PRESENTED TO THE COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF FINE ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2012

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2 2012 Dandee Pattee

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3 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my professors, Linda Arbuckle, Anna Calluori Holc ombe, and Nan Smit h for their wisdom and support Each professor has served on my advisory committee along with Lauren Garber Lake, and I want to thank each member for their guidance. I would also like to thank UFs Ceramics studio technician, Raymond Gonz alez for his generosity and skills A special thanks to Rachel Armistead, Lindsay Rogers Donna Flanery and Rhonda Chan My deepest gratitude to Maggie Goldman for her patience and continued support. Lastly, I have continued to pursue an artistic life because of the support of my family thank you to my sist er Tanny Vlcan, my father John Pat tee and my mother Sandra Pattee.

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4 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................. 3 LIST OF FIGURES .......................................................................................................... 5 ABSTRACT ..................................................................................................................... 6 PROJECT REPORT ........................................................................................................ 8 Introduction ......................................................................................................... 8 Tactile Symbolism ............................................................................................ 12 Display .............................................................................................................. 16 In Conclusion .................................................................................................... 17 APPENDIX LIST OF REFERENCES .................................................................................. 18 Biographical Sketch .......................................................................................... 19

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5 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 Dandee Pattee, Pouring Vessel ................................................................................ 1 0 2 Dandee Pattee, Pitcher ............................................................................................. 12 3 Chris Pickett, Basket ................................................................................................. 14 4 Birdie Boone, Tea Pot ............................................................................................... 1 4 5 Bountiful, Installation View* ....................................................................................... 16 6 Bountiful, Installation View ....................................................................................... 16 7 Bountiful, Installation View ....................................................................................... 17 8 Red Canyon, Fremont County Wyoming ................................................................... 19 Photo by Charlie Cummings

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6 Summary of Project in Lieu of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Fine Arts BOUNTIFUL By Dandee Pattee May 2012 Chair: Linda Arbuckle Major: Art Functional pottery historically plays a celebrated role in the idea of abundance and benevolence. When the user engages with the work in Bountiful the voluptuous forms and humorous, exaggerated proportions speak to certainty and comfort, while also goodnaturedly poking fun at traditional pottery forms. The work in Bountiful uses bold and uncomplicated rounded form s that are made to evoke the sensations of comfort through sensuality and certainty through mass, while also referencing the vastness of an open western landscape. While in use, the curvaceous masses of the vessels fill the hand, and evoke buried subconsci ous memories of plenty. The unobstructed western landscape of Wyoming commonly reminds those who witness it of abundance and possibility, much like the sense of hope that comes from the anticipation of eating a delicious meal. These sensations in the work are supported by the luscious matte glaze surfaces that are on the vessels, specifically chosen for their smooth, tactile, cool surfaces. Various hues of greens, tans, and reds make up the color palette of the exterior glazes used in Bountiful They are d erived directly from geologic formations, and also various species of shrubbery that grow on low rainfall grasslands. Intentionally bright and visually contrasting glazes line

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7 the interiors of the pots. These glazes are meant to surprise and delight the us er as they interact with the vessel. While the forms are made to capture the awe of a sweeping landscape, and generate security through mass, there is subtle humor at play in the proportional relationships within individual vessels. As an element of design, proportion plays a key role in the overall impact the vessel has on an audience. When the proportion is dramatically altered by either over or under exaggeration, the end product creates an intentional imbalance. This imbalance can be read as fun, and it teases the expectations of what form s functional pots traditionally take. A large bulbous handle on a mug is one example of the imbalance. Another example is a handle on a pouring vessel that is nearly as large as the containment space of the vessel, where the handle looks to be nearly consuming the pot. These specific exaggerations subvert the commonly held rules of function that are constantly at play in the users experience. When the user picks up the piece, and is delighted by the scale and silly proportions, I am one step closer to ac complishing the serious work of engaging the audience.

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8 PROJECT REPORT Introduction Functional pots have been used as objects for the delivery of nourishment since the first mud filled basket was set aflame by our cave dwelling ancestors. The relationship of pottery and sustenance allows for a wideopen arena in which artists can make meaningful objects for a broad audience. The basic biological needs that are met through the use of pottery make functional vessels both mundane and profound. Centuries of vessels testify to the human need to create beautiful objects with which we engage with on a daily basis. My own relationship with making pots began when I realized the dignity and generosity that lay within carefully considered craftsmanship. My peers and I were inspired by the Japanese Mingei movement which elevated the beautiful and subtle objects made by the unknown maker The Mingei philosophy focused on the humble anonymity of the maker, and the availability of well considered objects for the masses. British potter Bernard Leach, the Japanese philosopher Soetsu Yanagi, and the Japanese Living National Treasure Shoji Hamada popularized the movement through writing, tours and most specifically apprentices at the Leach Pottery. Many makers based their studio practices on contributing to a community through the act of making unique wares and selling them at an affordable price. The former Leach apprentices had a lasting impact on contemporary American ceramics for many reasons. Their tenacious work ethic became the standard expectation for the development of a sound haptic sensibility. Another impact was the sheer volume of works they produced and the

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9 dissemination of their images on the field. This work planted the seeds of forms in the imaginations of other makers. Many former Leach apprentices were writers and teachers as well, and these contributions have had lasting effects on my studio practice and the field as a whole. The height of this trend of Mingei pottery was well over thirty years ago. These philosophies are dignified and have built a foundation for the current state of ceramics today It is important to note that there are many differing factors today that make a simple, humble potters lifestyle inacc essible to a younger generation of potters One is the cost of education as compared to forty years ago, and the increased pressure to attend graduate school Another is the cost of land and housing Thirty years ago a potter was able to buy a building for a few thousand dollars and set up shop, today potters must rent while paying student loans Economically, the contemporary maker s with a Masters of Fine Art have to be very clever about marketing so that they can make a living w ithout teaching Slick marketing skills are necessary, and do not fit the traditional mold of the humble unknown maker Just as pottery forms can be expanded on in unique and fun ways, so can marketing Current technologies give makers today tremendous opportunities to market themselves in smart and successful ways. As my work has continued to develop, I have become more interested in questioning the decisions I make during production, and exploring the material in ways that will provide new elements t o the vocabulary of vessel making. Having grown bored with my interpretation of traditional Leach forms, I began to feel that in order to continue the generosity that the Mingei philosophy engendered in me, I had to excite the intellect of the user by expanding the form options in my work. Forms that meet the table on a

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10 curve, lid galleries that sink far into the body of the pot, and small pouring vessels that have handles as big as the containment space all build on traditional f orm in a unique way. My wor k remains dedicated to the spirit of community, and Bountiful is a culmination of ma ny years of making pottery, but more specifically, it is the beginning of a body of work made with a focus on alluring curvature and swelling invitation that will engage the user both intellectually and physically. A sense of community that is present in the clay culture was, and still is, a powerful allure for me. I grew up in Lander, Wyoming which has the population of 7000 people. Lander is surrounded by a g orgeous and treacherous landscape. The towns of this region are separated by many miles, so community members have an unspoken sense of responsibility to one another. Generosity and sincerity are common attributes of the community members, attributes that reflect the inexhaustible splendor and expanse of the landscape. Generosity and sincerity can also describe a vessel that is bold and full of breath. A vessel whose wall is stretched from the inside, and whose exterior curve continues without an inconsis tency or dead spot. The breath was described by my first teacher, Lynn Munns, to seem as though the vessel had taken in a large breath and held it. Since first hearing of the breath that fills a finely thrown vessel, I have pursued the desire to make the elusive beautiful vessel. It quickly became clear to me that this art could only be mastered through dedication, and I Fig 1

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11 believed there were unspoken rules about how to make beautiful work, and who could make it. I found both dread and hope in the f orceful writings of people like Bauhaus trained Margarite Wildenhain who said : The pot is absolutely the image of the man who makes it, and if that man is nothing, to put it bluntly, that pot thrown with all the skill and all the technique in the world will also be nothing. For the secret of making a good pot lies, to a certain degree, in an honest and decent and ethically convinced mana man convinced of the validity of that he is working for, the values he is trying for. Little by little, without consc iously trying to be original, his pot will be original. It will also be his and it will be a good pot.1 Wildenhains assertion makes broad moral assumptions that are daunting, but as I have continued with the art form, I have come to understand what v alues I am trying to attain. Rather than conforming to a set of standards I imagined were right, I have begun exploring what is right for me. The recognition of my desire to emulate the stark and dramatic landscape of my youth, and to infuse the work with playful absurdity is right for me. I am still dedicated to the well thrown vessel, but am not limited to believe that is the purest mode of expression. 1 Halper, Vicki, and Diane Douglas. Choosing Craft: The Artist's Viewpoint (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009) 11

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12 Tactile Symbolism Large jars with continuously curved, full bodies may remind the viewer of several things at once: a gourd, a piece of fruit, pregnancy. In his book, Ceramics Philip Rawson describes in great detail the phenomenon of memory traces. He states: As we live our lives we accumulate a fund of memory traces based on our sensory experience. These remain in our minds charged, it seems, with vestiges of the emotions which accompanied the original experiences.2He goes on to say that memory traces provide the continuum from which evolves everyones sense of the world, and that the artist is responsible for recalling the experiences and bringing them to physical form and the viewer is responsible for their interpretation. Memory traces are intentionally evoked in two ways in Bountiful ; through the physical engagement a user has with the work, and by the way the work sits atop a table. The physical act of holding the vessels will recall smooth, weighty stones, or ripe voluptuous fruit. When forming the vessels, I push out 2 Rawson, Philip S. Ceramics ( Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1984) 16 Fig 2

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13 full forms whose curves will fill the hands. I also rib out any throw lines or rough spots to further accentuate softness. I sand bare spots of porcelain to a smooth texture. When the hands are overflowing with an object, the sensation simultaneously recalls abundance and consumption. When engaged with the pi eces, many people will continuously turn them around in their hands in order to enjoy the relationship of the exaggerated parts to the whole piece, and the fullness of the objects themselves. When turned in the hand, the cool, soft surfaces invite intimacy while also evoking a sense of calm. This experience is unique to each p erson, but as the maker, I am imbuing the work with my own memory traces of abundance, and the swelling sense of joy and potential found in the experience of an untouched wideopen l andscape. My choice to rest the pots upon a curve and to omit the traditional foot is made to both evoke memory traces of fullness, and also to explore the edges of traditional formal decisions. When the work sits on the table top, the curves of the vessel complete above the table, rather than completing below the surface with the help of the viewers imagination. The curve meets the table at a nonspecific point, much like a large ripe watermelon, or squash. The nonspecific point creates a unique balance point f or each piece. It also provides another arena for humor by adding nubs on the bottom as a solution for stabilizing vertical wares. On a formal level, a sensation of nesting or self containment is achieved by having the sides of the vessels curve completely around and finish inside the forms. On lidded forms I throw a swelling continuous curve as the base, and carefully pull the rim down inside the base. I then create a generous seat for the lid to rest upon. The lids are made in exaggerated proportion to the base to again reference abundance. When making tea pots, I consider and analyze all

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14 Fig. 3 attachments, and study the relationships the parts will have with the whole. I explore the shape and type of spouts I make to further explore form language. I work within a series so that I can alter and tweak small relationships within the work. The function of the work is sometimes limited by the shape of a particular form, as is the case in the large serving dish, Basin. In this form, the lip curves back in to the main containment area of the dish, thereby limiting the volume. This lip also makes spooning out food slightly difficult, and washing the dish inconvenient. My position on this is that the object itself is magnificent and physic al use of the object does not negate the impact of the vessel. The majority of the forms I make are deeply seated in function, and if the form overrides function, it is only to break away from the mundane. It is healthy for the audience to experience the elevation of a common piece of pottery. There are several contemporary potters whose work influences my thinking. These makers are pushing form language in ways that engages the user in ways that are surprising Fig 4

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15 and pleasing. Chris Pickett has sev eral clever designs that allow the user a unique experience, as does Birdie Boone. Picketts work is made from an inventive method of molds that transforms the common pot to a useful sculptural object. Boones work is interactive in subtle and playful ways She rounds the bottoms of cups on a broad plane so that the piece rocks gently, but with stability when in use. She also incorporates spouts that are simultaneously placed in the lid space and the attached to the side of the pot These tea pots also incorporate bud vases in the lid. Each of these artists is making work with a unique voice and adds interest to the world of functional pots. Bountiful uses swelling, expansive forms and exaggerated attachments in conjunction with soft alluring glazes to creat e a feeling of abundance for the user. The forms in this body of work are subtle and simply stated. It is work that is designed to exist within the intimate space of the user, while humorously challenging traditional form making. The work in Bountiful is conceptually bound to the user/vessel interaction; the viewer must submit to the desire to physically engage with the work. Physical contact is the only way to completely understand it. Philip Rawson writes: If we are to understand the true significa nce of the formal units making up a pot, we must try to discover in ourselves appropriate memory traces of our own, chains of vivid concrete experiences, to which, as we have seen, feelings may be the only key. And since it is primarily the counter of the vertical section, in essence a kinetic trace, which gives a form its specific character, we must taste

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16 its possible suggestions as fully as we can. We may have to follow it with mind and hand, up, down, over and under3 The viewer may come to functional pots with material biases firmly in place. When confronted with the work in Bountiful inner reflection is required to understand the decisions made to create the specific form and feel of the work, and the intention of symbolism of those decisions. Displa y The display supports for Bountiful were designed to evoke a sense of expansive space in which to view the work. With simplicity and elegance in mind, the gallery furniture was built to accentuate the undulating line created by the height variation of the work. The works were placed on the w all shelves according to form. The works are arranged so that the pieces would be seen as a whole and also appreciated individually. The heights of the various works were considered so that when placed sideby side, they would take on a linear quality much like mountains 3 Rawson 110 Fig 5 Fig 6

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17 on the distant horizon. The color choices refer to undertones of browns and plums found in the glazes, and ultimately reference landscape. The constellation wall provides a contrast to the linear quality of the rest of the space. The constellation pattern was designed to emulate the diverse holes in the tea strainers and berry bowls whose unpredictable patterning speak of motion and change found in nature. In order for the concept of the works to be complete, the user must engage with th e pieces Only in a gallery where the viewer is welcome to touch, will the work be fully successful In Conclusion Bountiful is a collection of work that continues the line of functional pots made to accommodate celebration and generosity in ev eryday life. Because of the inherent necessity to use vessels for nourishment, functional pottery is an obvious conduit between an artist and their audience. When the user engages with the work in Bountiful the forms and exaggerated proportions serve to remind the user of abundance and generosity Fig 7

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18 LIST OF REFERENCES Halper, Vicki, and Diane Douglas. Choosing Craft: The Artist's Viewpoint Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009. Print. Rawson, Philip S. Ceramics Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1984. Print.

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19 Biographical Sketch Dandee Pattee grew up in the foothills of the Wind River Mountains in Lander, Wyoming She received her Associates of Fine Art Degree from Casper College in Casper, Wyoming in 2003, and her Bachelors of Science degree from Southern Utah University in 2005. In the years between undergraduate and graduate school she was a post baccalaureate student at the University of NebraskaLincoln, a resident artist at the Lux Center for the Arts in Lincoln, Nebraska, a summer assistant to studio potter Clary Illian, in Ely, Iowa and a two year apprentice with studio potter, Silvie Granatelli in Floyd, Virginia Dandee received her MFA from the University of Florida in 2012 Fig 8