I recently read a short article in the last issue of Ceramics Quarterly from an Auckland Potter raising some interesting questions about the nature and definition of domesticware. Suzy Dünser’s discussion revolved around a much-heralded exhibition at Masterworks Gallery in Ponsonby, Auckland.
Called ‘The Last Supper’, it had the ambitious aim of establishing a new 21st century ‘ethos’ for contemporary domesticware. Masterworks considered that in most other areas of the arts a 21st century approach could be seen but in handcrafted domesticware it was not. The organiser wrote “I know I don’t drink out of the same type of cup my grandmother did. But what will my grandchildren be drinking out of?”
Masterworks exhibition carried a prize, the winner was Julie Collis’s ‘Crumpled Paper Bowls’. This gives an indication of where the gallery thinks domesticware should be headed. If that is the case, then I think they have got it all wrong, and I think they got it wrong right from the start. We do drink out of the same sort of cup that our grandparents did. Even though it may look a bit different, it still has to do exactly the same job.