I remember as a kid trailing after my mother when she went to visit her grandmother. My great grandma’s home was very small with a tiny, fragrant living room, and absolutely nothing for me to do. The one highlight I recall from those visits was a small ceramic dish filled with tiny, colorful ceramic fruit, which she let me hold with both hands. Years later, after my grandma had passed, my mom returned from cleaning out her home and gifted me with that same small ceramic fruit bowl. I turned it over in my hands, noticing all the broken bits glued back together. “How did this get so broken?” I asked. My mom laughed, “Every child in this family loved that thing and every one of them dropped it. Grandma would just smile and sweep up the chips. When we returned, it was whole again.” Ready to function just as I imagine she meant it to.
That old, chipped ceramic fruit bowl is still one of my great treasures. It reminds me that the dishes we make have many functions beyond serving, collecting, and gathering. They’re also meant to adorn our shelves and walls, surrounding us with beauty; to be examples to students learning their way; to hold a proud place in a great mixed-and-matched dinnerware set collected over time; to be held, dropped, repaired, and loved as if new; and to be gifted to someone who will treasure them always.
This issue focuses on pots that are meant to serve us in numerous ways, as containers for meaning and memory. From Michael Hamlin’s tall lobed vessels to Jared Zehmer’s low, wide bowls, from Elise Delfield’s altered and lidded jar, to Sumi von Dassow’s doughnut-shaped bundt pan.
And if having cracked and repaired pots around is just too much for you, try Roger and Pauline Graham’s method for reverse engineering to make what was once broken new again. Either way, learning a new definition for function is a great way to enjoy pots in a brand new way.–Holly Goring, editor.