Drinking vessels are a uniquely universal tool. They are used in all cultures, pertaining but not limited to ceremony, practice, practicality and custom. This thesis examines changes in ceramic cups and how this material culture reflects a collective record of human intention. My project emphasizes how the aesthetics of ceramic work is influenced by the social structures of the societies they are made into. When making pottery the ceramicist absorbs the style, history, social status, ergonomics, and intention of external stimuli that then become part of their own work. Observing pottery over time, physical changes depict a variety of human priorities and choices. These choices demonstrate what is important to a society as well as the hierarchy of who has the power to make these changes. Alongside this essay, Heirlooms, a ceramic exhibition, allows me to participate in the making of material culture by creating cups that others will experience in a first-person format. I provide small simple drinking vessels to suggest an intentional slow approach to consumption. These standards of creation are influenced by ancient Chinese cups without handles that were small in stature, as opposed to the mass consumption presentation of some modern drinking vessels. This allows me to become a part of the continued human socio-material conversation through physical agency with clay.
Lamb, B. N.
(2022). Cups as a Record of Humans: Material Culture Effects on Social Communication. .
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