Gail M. Brown, Curator

Dana Morales
Conception Bowl


Joan Takayama-Ogawa
Sub-Prime Sushi

Invitation Letter Excerpt

Spoon It! Fork It! Cut It Up!
A Salon Show of Domestic Ceramic Implements

You may/may not make functional forms or strongly reference utility in your own studio work.
We all use tools: at least three times a day.
I am thinking about the tabletop and the implements we use.
Your signature work enhances my challenge.
I'd like to inspire your most imaginative ideas and participation in...

An exhibition of DOMESTIC TOOLS: chop sticks, forks, knives, ladles, picks, pincers, prongs, scoops, shovels, spades, spoons, spreaders, stirrers, tongs, and/or what you will, in clay. Some will be functional pieces, others may serve as forms for personal narrative.

As individual implements for aid in eating and serving, as pairs, as sets and as place settings—the possibilities are abundant- for actual/everyday use, for celebratory feasts, for invented/esoteric tasks- alone or accompanied with an object of contextual reference.

With domestic familiarity, look in the kitchen drawer.
With historic references, look into a museum's decorative arts collections.
With social and cultural resonance, look from fast food joints to flamboyant feasts at 5***** star restaurants.

The development of eating utensils mirrors the history, complexity and sophistication of tools and social deportment. Until the Middle Ages most western peoples still ate with their hands. The evolution of knife and spoon-like forms hobbled into being with the ever-growing rites of formal refinement and manners. Forks had heretical associations into the 11th century. Catherine de Medici brought forks as part of her dowry in the 16th century. Pointed knives were banned at the court dinners of Louis XIV. Personal flatware, which accompanied well-to-do travelers at home or on a trip, was seen as a reflection of its owner's taste, wealth and position in society. The Winterthur Collection, Wilmington, DE, has an exquisite set of 12 porcelain spoons from the Royal Porcelain Manufacturer, Copenhagen, dating 1780-90 and spoons from the Swan Service of Meissen, 1737-41. In the Victorian Age, specialized utensils proliferated, perhaps as a response to fondness for collectible bric-a-brac. In the early 19th century, the use of forks became popular in the USA; they were called split spoons. In the 1920's stainless steel was invented, providing an inexpensive way to maintain a non-reactive metal for table knife blades.

The domestic table continues to be a focal point and inspiration for a potential gallery of functional and sculptural pieces which enhance daily utility and visual celebration.
Yours will surely not be taken for granted.
The challenge stands: what will you add to the inventory of possibilities?
Have I piqued your interest? And inspired your out-of-the-kitchen-drawer ideas?

You are invited to pierce the subject and ladle on the possibilities—in the forms of individual pieces, pairs, place settings, sets and even a domestic tool in a suggested context. I hope I have inspired your attention and whet your appetite for this culinary inspired, domestic, social and visual challenge. Thank you for your consideration.

Dig in!
Gail M. Brown


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