Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pots In Use

Dragonfly Ikebana with Lantana by Linda Starr

A few weeks ago I was catching up on my blog reading and I saw a post by Matthew Katz of Slipcast, The Ceramics Blog on pots in use. I commented I was going to post more photos of my pots in use on my blog, and yet I never did. So today I thought I would broach the subject myself and see what I could do about my promise to myself about posting photos of my pots in use. So I scrolled through all the photos of the pottery I've made and guess what? I didn't have a single photo of my pots in use.

So today I decided to gather some florals to put them in a dragonfly ikebana vase I made. For the first arrangement I used lantana flowers, rose scented geranium leaves and lemongrass leaves. For the next arrangement I used buddleia flowers and bamboo leaves. You may not be able to see it in second arrangement, but the spots and eyes of the dragonfly are the same color as the buddleia flowers.

Dragonfly Ikebana with Buddleia by Linda Starr

Later I was sampling some of the jelly palm fruit and thought to put a few in a ceramic bowl I made. The melon color of the fruit complements the blue of the vase. There's something wonderful about pots in use. The food or object looks much better in the pottery and the pottery looks good with the food or object. They enhance each other. By the way jelly palm fruit is heavenly with pineapple, banana, and mango flavors all rolled into one bite-sized and succulent morsel.

Blue Bowl by Linda Starr

Then I remembered a previous post when I served Gary some sourdough french bread on a woven platter I made. I did have one photograph with my pots in use, but it was on a previous post and I had to copy it to my computer to load it up again here. Oh and those wine glasses could have been ceramic too, they could have been ceramic goblets. Mary Starosta makes beautiful ceramic goblets.

Woven Tray by Linda Starr

I've seen a few potters post photos of their pots in use, but not many that I can recall right now. Some examples of pots in use really stuck in my mind. When Emily Murphy revised her website, I was struck by the beauty of her vases in use. The cup with coffee by Clary Illian posted on Ron Philbeck's blog is so serene. I love the handle detail on Clary's cup. The shape and function of Amy Sanders vase on the cover of Pottery Making Illustrated is enhanced by the chrysanthemum flowers she used. Joy Tanner, who is a wonderful photographer and potter, took some great photos of Jenny Lou Sherburne's pots in use. The grapefruit in black bowls photograph by Lucy Fagella is a delight to the eye.

I know I use my pottery, but I just don't have many photos of my pots in use, even vases with flowers. OK, that's not true. I did find one photo of a vase I made with lavender flowers in it. The vase with lavender is one of the first things I made in clay. That's why I started in ceramics in the first place. I wanted to make a few vases to display the lavender I was growing. I've learned a little about photographing pots along the way too. The photograph of the vase and lavender would be much better with a light background. So where are all the rest of the photos of my pots in use? There just aren't any. I've got to work on remedying the fact I don't have photos of pots in use.

Vase for Lavender by Linda Starr

How about you? Do you have any photos of your pots in use to share? I'd like to see those photos. I can't seem to find many on images or blogs on the Internet. Let's share the beauty of pots when they're in use. Bowls with fruit, cups with coffee, vases with flowers, platters with appetizers, sushi on plates, and whatever else you can think of. I think ceramic sculpture in situ, (Cindy Shake's sculptures come to mind), should be included too as I feel sculpture is a pot in use as well. Do you have a link to your pots in use? On your website? In your blog? Please post the link in the comments section. Do you know of other artist's who have posted photos of their pots in use, please let me know about those too. Let's have some fun, let's share photos of pots in use.


  1. Lovely Ikebana Linda! The photos are also really bright and clear! Good idea for a post on pots in use, really adds to the artfulness of the work.

  2. these photos are great! I love the flowers & the pots -- it is good to see pots in use!

  3. Hi Cindy, thank you so much for your support of my blog and my art, it means a great deal to me in the competiive art world of today. I hope I'm not falling too far from the tree on this, but I feel strongly about showing pottery in use, whether it be in the kitchen, the garden, or as art on the wall, in the garden etc. Artists make their work because they are artists, but they also need to sell their art to continue on their artisic path.

    Hi Judy, thanks so much for your support of my art and my blog, I was happy to see the coincidence of your posting on facebook about your lunch in another's artist's bowl, wish I had a photo of your lunch to reflect upon. Thanks again.

  4. Love the pot's in ACTION! Very cool!

  5. Great way to show off the pots- I think when we use a pot we give it life. Until then it is just an object, when in use it becomes alive.

  6. Hi Mary, thanks, good luck at the market this weekend.

    Hi Meredith, thanks, you say it so well, the pot is given life through it's use.

  7. The ikebana are lovely, Linda! I have no photos of my pots in use to tell you the truth. I think I often keep a lot of seconds for my use and haven't photographed any.

  8. Hi Linda, a lovely post. Mmmmm Jelly Palm fruit looks yummy. I've never seen it before, but it sounds really nice! As I've been reading your blog I have been eating my porridge out of one of my bowls, drinking coffee out of one of my mugs, and have recently been feeding our neighbour's cats out of more of my bowls. A friend visited yesterday and said, "Hey, what's that beautiful bowl doing on your driveway?" I explained that I had just been feeding a cat and suggested that feeding a cat from a beautiful bowl might encourage it to appreciate the finer things in life, such as the pretty plum blossom that is coming out on our trees, and beauty might add to the quality of the cat's life! Well it is a thought. A Dutch friend of mine hung a photograph of a very attractive female cat beside his Tom cat's food bowl, as he thought it would help his cat enjoy his food more! Anyway, I would have rushed out and taken some photos of my bowls that are dotted around the place, but.... my batteries are charging (my camera's that is!), so it will have to wait. But, I will do something really soon.

    P.S. I see that Kitty has posted some photos for you on her site that show how she frames tiles for displaying them.

    Best Wishes, P.

  9. Hi Cynthia, thanks so much. Ikebana is actually so easy to do and is "minimalist" too.

    Hi Peter, thanks so much, I can just picture you feeding the cats around your place in one of your beautiful bowls. And who knows if a cat doesn't feel extra special eating out of a handmade pot. Photos of pots in use is food for thought (so to speak) so another time maybe.

    I found 4 more starving kittens and the mother cat in my barn today and I am feeding them and giving them water. They are actually tame, I believe the mother belongs to one of our neighbors who doesn't take care of them at all, so I guess the mother thought to come here for a better chance at life for herself and her little ones.

    I will check Kitty's post, thanks so much.

  10. Hi Linda, Thanks for that and also for your comment on my site. I suddenly remembered this very afternoon that I did put a photo of a bowl of mine full of porridge on a post on February 28 2009, that was entitled, "Reduction, Salt, and Porridge." you should be able to find it at This post also contains my recipe for a sustaining snack I occasionally make for myself, either at home, or when out camping.

    Good luck with the kittens and mother cat. It is sad how people will just dump them, and leave them to fend for themselves.

    The first cat that came to live with me after I left home and had my own flat was a starving about to be mother cat. She was a beautiful and lovely friend and gave birth to 8 healthy kittens. When she was ready to give birth she vanished for a couple of days, then woke me early one morning and took me to see the kittens which she had arranged for my inspection two deep around an old wine bottle that was in my bathroom! It was a very funny sight as the kittens were so new that they were all wobbly on their feet.

  11. The pots are beautiful... and look very 'useful'~ great idea for a post.

  12. Hi Peter, what a great story about the cat and the wine bottle; I must go back and check your post about the porridge. Your cat story has reminded me of a childhood story about cats, but I will save it for a series of posts I hope to do about A Child's View of Cuba (mine of course). Thanks so much for your support and for your comments, posts, and stories, I so look forward to reading them.

  13. Hi Sandi, welcome and thanks about my pots. Funny I read Whistle Stop Cafe and I immediately thought of my husband's years of truck driving and his stories about all the great cafes around the country and then I also thought about my grandmother and Aunt Ethel who ran a cafe in Corpus Christie years ago which they told me all about years later. I just very briefly got on your blog and I was facinated about the family stories, the recipes and loved that painted bench which inspired me to do something in clay. I am bookmarking your blog and need to check your other blog and I hope you come back to visit.

  14. great idea. I haven't taken many photos of my pots in use and now since it looks like I can't be in the community studio at the wheel until September 10 I need SOMETHING to pass the time. So, I think I'll work in this direction. You are so creative...

  15. Hi Amy, I seem to remember one of your yunomi with wine in it wasn't there one? September 10th seems like a long time away doesn't it? Oh, I saw on Jeffrey of Clean Mud's blog that he made a home made wheel - he will be posting how to make it soon. If I threw I'd try to make one, but hand building is all I'm doing for now. Why don't you try some hand building? It sure is fun. I look forward to seeing your pots in use.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment