CM: Do you worry, or have you received feedback, that the heavily sculptural forms of your work could discourage their use?
MJ: I have received feedback on this subject from many people, all with varying perspectives. Most often, people tell me they enjoy the slight challenge of using my pots. This pleases me, because I strive for a meaningful interaction between the user and my pots, a complexity within the utility. Though sometimes people tell me they use one of my cups every morning, the idea of daily use rarely enters my mind. I want the use of my pots to complement moments of reflection that enhance our willingness, and even our desire, to pay closer attention to the way we use an object—probably because of our tendency to associate significant experiences with objects. I intend for my pots to reinforce the need for occasion, trigger our creative spirit, and serve as signifiers of our memories.
I often consider the same question you ask me from the opposite perspective, and I wonder whether the utilitarian aspect of my work inhibits its sculptural potential—and if so, how do I feel about that? As the maker, I examine my work from multiple viewpoints to keep my process challenging and exciting. Most of all, I want my pots to enter people’s homes and somehow enrich their lives, to enhance meaning and bring joy.