Critique: Demke Cups

Those pink decals sure do pop don’t they? It is my general distaste that decals are situated on the outer most layer of a pot and are in so seemly disconnected often breaking up the continuity of form, unless there are many layers to surface and a decal serves to create depth, are then the icing on the cake so to speak. Here my sweet tooth is satisfied.
A busy bottom and a quiet top. Makes for a certain delight when unstacking a bunch.
Stacking. Handle.
I have used a Demke mug of the same form and must confess that that handle is very comfortable and comforting, dainty but not fragile (note the mug is just 3x3inch). Upon looks alone on a single mug I think it is a bit awkward- when seen on a stack of mugs nestled compactly for storage the handle is just right in regards to both proportion and presence strengthened by repetition. I don’t think I myself as a maker could come to a better resolution having learned to love this form. From use I can be persuaded of almost anything at odds with my eye.

I have chosen this mug to critique in the most greedy manner. I like this mug. I want this mug. There are mugs of Jenn’s creation which surfaces sit poorly with me- disjointed pattern akimbo that tweaks some nerve receptor the wrong way. These new sharp geo pots are a step away from the pastel tones punctuated by orange dots and foraged flower decals that fist I found so alluring. But artists must progress and this dear fellows is going somewhere. I perhaps ought to have chosen such a edgy piece for a more intriguing crit. Perhaps it is not to late. We could do a little compare and contrast. The grey mug above is part of this new surface path for Jenn but maintains the good hearted feel of her softer past pots. Why does it do this? In color and composition I would put forth. Grey, pink, sepia, silver and yellow- new age domestic colors I could say. I being a new age domestic sort am tickled pink. And here I will say something that just dawned on me after days of gazing at this pot (I find it takes me years of gazing and use to actually get to know a vessel) that I am hesitant to share as it may curb your own conclusions… could my attraction to this pot be in part attributed to the fact that those bright indie triangles jutting up from the visual break of line are so akin to mountains in some techno color dream of a grey winter’s morn  and I being a mountain girl unknowingly moved towards a visual trigger that set me at ease? In all honestly the resemblance just hit me and I think it always funny that my unconscious points me places with such a compass unbenounced to my literal mind. Now I think there a danger with always surrounding ourselves with things that put us at ease or like-minded people or similar artists. If we all stand around shaking our heads up and down muttering yes yes yes and patting each other on the back in delight shall we ever learn or grow? You may very well answer “yes” and boy can I tell you like-minded peers on a similar path are important and reaffirming in the trudging task of being a potter. To be pummeled with diversity and counter-ideas constantly can be exhausting and detrimental (take it from me!). Perhaps this is a reason I find some delight at looking Jenn’s new pots. Some new ones I love and find akin to something in me and some new pots of hers that unsettle me a trifle. Like this one:

So there is no denying that this mug is actually pretty awesome, if you gave it to me as a birthday present I would be pleased. But it would take time for me to appreciate such stark white and blue (ironic coming from a gal who just produced a line of white and blue wares…it is not the white and blue but stark I’d like to emphasize) and floating disjointed houses and angled line base motif so at odds with the log lines of the main house. That main house takes up all the possible height while remaining whole- which does make one understand the imposing nature of a five story log home. When juxtaposed with the small wee home floating in space to the right a point is certainly being made. What that point is I’m not sure but I am begining to think that this is a successful little piece- if I am supposed to feel ill at ease with the towering neighbor of the industrial world imposing on the small rural dweller. Then we have those lines where the pot stacks just not doing it…it. They are pretty but seemingly arbitrary. What is wrong with arbitrary anyways (probably nothing)? Once again this pot is irking me on a personal level that we all have simmering inside of us. The idea of home or lack there of. For someone just wanting a chunk of land to hang her hat and build a kiln I have been faced as of late with the daunting task of an action plan to bring about such a place to call home. These homes floating in space lack ground and I would so like my ideas and aspirations of home to be grounded in reality these little structure question my plans as illusions- disillusioned?

Now you may think I am taking it to far. But, how wondrously great is it that a wee little drinking vessel could have such an effect? If indeed you did gift this little sucker to me when sipping Joe or steeped leaves I may be reminded of my aspirations and go about the day with purpose as to not let this five story log industrial monster impose upon my to be little forested haven. Could it trick me in to action? Anyways, I still don’t like the feeling. But the fact that a vessel can spark feeling and after some deliberation can prompt to subsequent thoughts, feelings and hypotheses is pretty rad.

Shall someone bring up the slightly wavering rims on Demke’s mugs? Yes. What of them? Some with robot scruples may dislike such undulating qualities. I think they pronounce human interaction and I admittedly like a little texture for thine lip.

Tell me a story folks. What of these pots? What of your personal notions? What of my personal notions?

2 thoughts on “Critique: Demke Cups

  1. Ashley says:

    I knew Jenn when she was living in Calgary and working at Ceramics Canada. I was and still am working there on Saturdays (’cause who needs spare time anyway). It is still quite a shock for me to see all this colour on her pots. I am used to her creamy slips and sgrafitto lines with wee little hints of colour. Love it

  2. bpracticalpottery says:

    It sure takes a little time to get used to changes. The ones I used to own of hers are just like describe- Creamy pale yellow with a bit or orange and light pink with some purple. I really miss those mugs!

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