Julia Galloway
Utilitarian Pottery

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The Cups of Hours

A “Book of Hours” were small books of hymns and prayers that were developed in mid-evil times. People would read in quiet moments for daily prayer and reflection. Today, we often have times of reflection when we pause to have a cup of coffee or drink of water. This is the root idea of this exhibition. These are cups to be used in our day when we take a moment of contemplation.
This wall of cups represents a day in my life. On the left side of the wall are cups representing the beginning of the day; quiet cups with thoughts written on the outside. As you move down the wall, the imagery changes; it gets busier, more hectic, and finally ending back with quieter cups. The top row of cups are all glazed with clouds as the top of the day, the second two rows are scenes of the city where I live in both day time and night time. The row of pitchers on the bottom shelf are glazed with fence imagery in effort to contain the day, as a fence would contain a garden.
The layout of the wooden shelves are built similar to a book, with a slender spine if shelves in the middle, as of the book were splayed open to be read. The cups are square and have a similar feeling to holding a book. On one side of the cups is glazed a spine of a book and marked with call numbers, like in a library. This allows the viewer to remove a cup and look at it, and then “reshelf” the cup where it belongs.
The presentation of these cups was developed for the gallery setting. The public was able to purchase a single cup to take it with them. Viewing utilitarian pottery in the gallery context can be alienating to the daily use of the piece of pottery, and this display was developed to address both issues of display and eventual use.
In the wall there are several shelves containing other pots: teapots, sauceboats. These shelves are typical of what I have see people put on display in their own homes. The addition of these shelves was to add a domestic feel to the wall of cups. Across from the cups were three vases based on the female figure. These vases were the human element in the exhibition, three muses in the presence of the knowledge in these books.
I find tremendous similarities between cups and books. They are both useful vessels from which we gain or full with our experiences. Often I have heard people speak about their favorite books in a similar way they would describe their favorite mug. We form a relationship born of their own experiences with these objects.
This exhibition was a tremendous undertaking and I am forever grateful for the hard work of Maria Kretschmann, Hope Rovelto, Adam Spector and the amazing patient and professional folks at the Clay studio, especially Jeff Guido, the gallery director.
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