Pots that connect

To start the new year - a bit more on my philosophy of pots.

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I use the strapline “pots that connect" because I believe that hand made ceramics like mine can help make connections. Each time we stop and enjoy a favourite mug it connects us with ourself. It encourages us to stop the distractions of remembering and planning and the endless whirring of the mind, to stop and notice where we are now, the feel of mug in our hand, the taste of our chosen tea. In turn it reminds of where we found the mug and why it appealed. In "The architecture of happiness" Alain de Botton argues that the way buildings are designed embodies particular values, be it cheapness for blocks of council flats or classical grandeur for the British Museum, and that then being around those buildings makes those values present in our lives. For me material culture, the objects we live with and use, do the same. So using a hand made mug of a design that appeals to you brings a different set of values into life than a mass produced one would.

When we choose a new a new serving bowl with a partner it connects us to each other and our shared home. When we select a piece to give as a gift it connects us with that person. The pot collects attachments of love, shared history, sharing and giving, and embodies them for us.

Buying hand crafted items also connects us to the maker and their story. Lewis Hyde argues in "The Gift" that the transaction of purchasing an item from its maker, despite being a financial transaction, is a form of personal connection – the opposite of buying a factory produced item that has been designed to be made as cheaply as possible and sold as expensive as possible in a shop staffed by people who care little about what they sell. These industrial transactions are intentionally impersonal and create an increasing disconnect. In contrast, when buying from a maker the product is deeply personal and in choosing to buy it the new owner creates a new relationship with the maker that is sustained in our subsequent use of the object.

Hand made things start out embedded in the maker's creative vision and practice and as they travel through our lives they collect associations connecting a network of people, places, materials and values.