Austin Riddle, Roswell, Georgia
Austin Riddle’s pots combine a knowing nostalgia for the aesthetics of mid-century Modernism in America with a focus on creating generous pieces that will be familiar, comfortable, and used regularly. He explains, “I want my pots to be romantic without explanation, to exist at home in the present while remaining aware of the past.”
The pastel color palette, the use of pinstripes and wider bands of contrasting colors and textures, and the simple forms do evoke mid 20th-century design. However, a clear modulation of the aesthetic values of that era—perhaps related to an understanding that the nostalgic view of that time period’s culture is oversimplified—and the infusion of clearly contemporary elements subtly communicate the liminal conceptual space the pieces inhabit.
Contemporary handles with softly articulated center ridges and pouring spouts that resemble exaggerated beaks adorn forms that are softer-edged versions of their rectilinear mid-century antecedents. The decoration, too, is softer and less rigid, with the edges and thickness of pinstripe lines allowed to meander, within parameters. The pastels are richer and more complex, and parts of the surfaces are eroded or obliterated by fluxed soda or flashed orange by the atmosphere and flame path in the kiln. A sense that time has passed is layered over that of timeless design.