NakedClay@aol.com on thu 30 mar 00
I've been following this thread for some time. Here are my thoughts about
"Functional" refers to nearly everything--even decorative wares have a
"function," even if the function is to sit on a shelf. Many consider
"functional" to refer to something that is used (such as a plate or teapot),
but fail to address the "fuctionality" of decorative art.
"Utilitarian," on the other hand, refers to something which is used on a
regular basis--it might be an attractive bowl, used daily for breakfast
cereal, for instance. "Utility" means something which is in use constantly,
such as electricity. For that reason, "utilitarian" is best used to refer to
pottery that has a use beyond strictly decorative.
This string has addressed the role that decorative teapots have, in ceramic
art. This reminds me of a fellow student at Laney College (Oakland, CA) who
made the most incredible "gag" teapots, and won a blue ribbon at a student
art show. His teapots were utilitarian, as they were hollow inside, and had
working spouts and lids. His designs--military tank styles (one looked like a
rocket launcher!) he used in making teapots grabbed the attention, and were
simply amazing! One could use these teapots in both a functional
(on-the-shelf art) and utilitarian manner.(one's afternoon tea party), if one
I think a functional piece of art can be utilitarian, and vice-versa. There
is an understandable blur sometimes when I see the terms used to describe
pottery, since the two terms are quite similar in meaning.
So much for my time on the soapbox!
Just finished a walk in the "zebra" canyon today, with an acquaintance from
Boston. The desert birds are now back, frolicing in the sandy soil out here.