Applying Studio Ceramic Practice to Constructions of Meaning in the Banal Object

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  • Title: Applying Studio Ceramic Practice to Constructions of Meaning in the Banal Object: Utilising Collections as a Creative Tool
  • Author(s): Kate Wilson
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Arts in Society
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Arts Theory and History
  • Keywords: Material Culture, Mug, Ceramic, Emotional Engagement
  • Volume: 14
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2326-9952 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-1779 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2326-9952/CGP/v14i01/1-16
  • Citation: Wilson, Kate. 2019. "Applying Studio Ceramic Practice to Constructions of Meaning in the Banal Object: Utilising Collections as a Creative Tool." The International Journal of Arts Theory and History 14 (1): 1-16. doi:10.18848/2326-9952/CGP/v14i01/1-16.
  • Extent: 16 pages

Abstract

This article examines how the culturally deeply embedded ceramic mug, reflective of individual and collective identity, can become a vehicle for emotional engagement and a material expression of the human condition. Using The Shepton Collection as a creative tool, comprised of 412 drink-related vessels and representing over 200 years of mass produced pottery in the UK, the collection evidences the banal ceramic mug as an indicator of a locally cultivated preference and, more broadly, human/object relationships. The subsequent relational and comparative creative studio practice interrogates the social function of the banal ceramic mug in terms of celebration, commemoration, and remembrance within a contemporary context. Applying a theoretical multidisciplinary approach to the practice, new meanings are explored using the mug form as a familiar construct, questioning the concept of function and value in poststructuralist terms. The meeting point between theory and practice is the handling and cataloguing of The Shepton Collection. Potentially incongruous, the vernacular of the industrially produced ceramic mug, appropriated by the studio practitioner in a “handmade” context, facilitates the examination of material objects through the application of a tripartite approach of cataloguing, theoretical analysis, and creative practice, evidencing individual and collective cultural identity, ultimately expressed via new constructions of meaning related to the ceramic mug.