CURRENTS 2016: Domestic Design
Heather Mae Erickson
Western Carolina University
College of Fine and Performing Arts
School of Art & Design Bardo Art Center
My research and work are at the forefront of a trend where both industry and design play roles in studio art practice. I am an advocate of this approach and endeavor to continue researching this subject by exploring models throughout Europe, particularly in Scandinavia.
Through my work, I strive to inform my audience of who I am as an artist, educator and human being. I am interested in reaching beyond the confines of the art world and interacting with a variety of individuals from around the world. Our knowledge of the objects used in the dining ritual, and their assigned functions, which is born of historical usage and innate familiarity, is limiting and lacks creativity and vision. I explore the possibility of changing the way we treat the vital ritual of dining. By designing functional tableware, I seek to direct the eye, hand and mouth to treat food differently.
My work raises awareness of the situation and sparks contemplation before merely devouring the elements. I am focused on creating new ways of containing and using these functional objects. I question function through combining the common and understood methods of use, and proposing new formats. I take simple objects, functions or aspects, and combine opposing elements through multiplicity, size or orientation. A prime example that puts my vision into practice is utilizing the concept of the waiters’ serving tray and morphing it together with an enlarged spoon to create a truly unique appetizer platter.
I continuously pose questions to myself that enhance the guidelines and starting points. By broadening my scope, the possibilities for containing or displaying food become endless. It is easy to get stuck on the idea that a cup or bowl must take on a specific shape in order to serve its purpose. I do not really think in those limiting terms anymore. I focus my energies on thinking about a container, without preconceived ideas, and I know that my container can be any shape or size that I desire.
My pieces are influenced by the objects that surround me or that I surround myself with. I find inspiration in architecture, nature, shapes, and non-ceramic design. I see myself rediscovering function through the process of design. I sometimes make a particular vessel with a specific use in mind, and later find enjoyment when a user surprises me with their unexpected intended use. In this way, the user also has an effect on my work and development...
H.O.T. Clay (Handbuilt Or Thrown) is a student organization comprised of current students of the University of Florida School of Art + Art History. The mission of H.O.T. Clay is to increase the awareness and understanding of the ceramic arts. We hold regular meetings, where the membership mobilizes to organize sales of ceramic works to raise funds for various projects. These projects include: funding student travel to the annual NCECA conference, visiting artist programming, guest lectures and more. Student members work together to choose visiting artists, and sponsor the visiting artist events. Planning and implementation of H.O.T. Clay events are an integral part of students’ professional practice resources. Installing exhibits, designing promotional material, advertising, and organizing events provide members with experiences for their post-academic career.
The UF College of Design, Construction and Planning Gallery brings you into touch with the pulse of the school and the world of design and construction. It hosts regular displays of student projects, so you can sample the creative energy and direction generated by fellow students in various programs. It also showcases traveling exhibitions of significant works from noteworthy architects past and present, providing you with exposure to historical precedents and contemporary currents in the field. Past features have included Berlin: Projects from the IBA, Student Work from the Moscow Institute of Architecture, The Modern Chair and retrospectives of such design luminaries as Tadao Ando, Luis Barragan and Alvaro Siza.
Bridget Fairbank is a third year Ceramics MFA candidate at the University of Florida. She received her BFA in ceramics in Canada at the Nova Scotia School of Art and Design. Previous to studying in Florida, Bridget worked running B Practical Pottery in Nelson BC, Canada. She is an avid cook and gardener.