Friday, July 3, 2009

Our Imagery

Since we have some new mugs out of the kiln, I thought it might be fun to give a little description of where some of our imagery came from. We prefer images from our personal lives and stories, and images that have some personal significance to us. We're always looking for a balance: too personal and no one can respond to them - too disconnected from our own experience, and we can't give them any personality and life.

"How Does Your Garden Grow": we've already talked about the fertility goddess figures and their influence on our work, but this teabowl incorporates one of my longtime fixations: Stonehenge. Partly it's in debt to Blake, who incorporated what he thought of as "Salisbury Plain" imagery into his prophecies long before New Age kooks caught on, but part of my fascination is personal - ever since seeing pictures of Stonehenge in a "Mysteries of the World" book as a small child, I have had dreams about the monument. So, it has a tendency to show up in my own drawing.

"I Could Birth a Watermelon": Something Carrie's midwife actually told her. The midwife probably meant it to be encouraging, as in "Don't worry about giving birth, you'll be able to do it," but Carrie found it a little 0ff-putting - after all, it's not exactly a compliment. Eventually, it became a joke she would tell people. Now it's a slightly cryptic message on a mug. Ah, the course of art.

"The day Mom squeezed the canary": not one of our stories, but my mother-in-law's - a sad, true story from her childhood. Growing up in a big, loud Italian family in Brooklyn, one of the favorite parts of her and her sisters' lives was their little yellow canary, Pretty Boy. Someone (Nana can't remember who) trained the bird to fly from its cage and land in their hands, one of those cute things people train birds to do. One day, though, her mother called the canary over and, in a moment of "don't know my own strength," grabbed the bird too tightly. "Nancy Ann and me just screamed," Nana describes; "We called her 'murderer'." It was the end of Pretty Boy.

"this pier lights our carnival life forever": Growing up in New Jersey, unsurprisingly, one of Carrie's heroes was Bruce Springsteen. She has pretty much every Springsteen album on vinyl, and many a Sunday morning has been spent blasting "Born to Run." (Why Sunday? Why not?) Springsteen inspired a fascination with Asbury Park, carnivals, and suburban decay, and living on the Jersey shore inspired a love of piers and boardwalks. All of those come together in this teabowl, with its Springsteen quote and image of (as usual, me) driving a bumper car.

We hope our imagery gives people a sense of connection to us. We've talked so much recently about pricing and selling, and it seems that one of the best ways to create customers and fans is to make meaningful relationships.

As always, we love comments. Any similar stories for your pottery, or images you love?

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