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NEWS

Work Table Photographs: Studio Visits

miro chun

I have a small (but growing) collection of photographs of my work table after having guests to the studio.  Invariably when someone visits, pieces get pulled and grouped and rearranged. I like to document what's on the table when the visit ends. Each visitor picks different pieces off the shelves, makes unique groupings—drawing parallels between objects that often I would not have seen. From a single photo I can trace the history of the conversation—shape, size, function, art, architecture, community, and food. I've posted many of these photos on Instagram already, but it's interesting to look at them as a group.

Snapshot of the snapshots

A visit with someone looking for tableware for cookbook photographs, so she was interested in finding clean, minimal pieces that would highlight the ingredients and recipes. She and her husband were also interested in visiting, because they were in the process of taking their first ceramics class. We had met previously once before, just as a way to initiate the conversation—a friend (and her ceramics teacher) had recommended my work to her. I brought a few pieces along so she could see the work in person (she had only seen Instagram photos).

Another photo from the same visit mentioned in the photo above.

A studio visit with someone who had seen my work previously on two occasions, and already owned a few pieces. We looked at a wide range of my work throughout the conversation, but her focus was always on the more neutral, straight-sided, multi-functional serving pieces that would play well with her and her husband's contemporary house and art collection. As we had already established the beginnings of a relationship, the conversation was more about process and other interests, and not solely focused on the pieces at hand, which made for a different rhythm of the visit.

A studio visit with someone who had seen my work previously on two occasions, and already owned a few pieces. We looked at a wide range of my work throughout the conversation, but her focus was always on the more neutral, straight-sided, multi-functional serving pieces that would play well with her and her husband's contemporary house and art collection. As we had already established the beginnings of a relationship, the conversation was more about process and other interests, and not solely focused on the pieces at hand, which made for a different rhythm of the visit.

A studio visit with someone looking for holiday gifts. He had never seen any of my work—one of his friends had told him that I was a local ceramicist and that he should take a look. I didn't know his friend, but it turned out that it was one of those six-degrees-of-separation things, and he had actually chatted with my husband before, but not about ceramics. This particular conversation ranged from the pragmatics of ounces and volumes of measure warranted by different coffee brewing styles, to a discussion of how current social situations in the life of a gift recipient change personal dining rituals, and thus the pieces selected.

A studio visit with someone looking for holiday gifts. He had never seen any of my work—one of his friends had told him that I was a local ceramicist and that he should take a look. I didn't know his friend, but it turned out that it was one of those six-degrees-of-separation things, and he had actually chatted with my husband before, but not about ceramics. This particular conversation ranged from the pragmatics of ounces and volumes of measure warranted by different coffee brewing styles, to a discussion of how current social situations in the life of a gift recipient change personal dining rituals, and thus the pieces selected.

A studio visit with a couple that I've known for years, including a 2.5 year stint working for them. They were familiar with my work, and had owned pieces for a couple of years. They were focused on selecting demitasse cups, and would have taken what I had in stock, if I had actually had any in stock beyond samples. (Another words, they had come ready to purchase and to use, rather than just browsing—a different mindset and mentality). As the cups were destined for restaurant/coffeeshop usage, part of the discussion centered around how other people would use them, instead of how I, as the maker, or they, as the owners, would use the ceramics.

You would think that if you had 10 people each looking for a teacup the conversation and the parameters around their selections would be the same, or at least very similar. But over the course of these studio visits, it's been enlightening to realize how big a role my relationship to the visitors and their relationship to my ceramics (if they had seen it before, owned pieces, for how long, etc...) has made a difference in both our conversations and their response to my work. And it turn, it's been interesting to see how those same connections have influenced the direction and forms of my practice—the continuing dialogue between the maker and those for whom the maker makes.