My Ceramic Story
Form versus function is a dichotomy much discussed in the realm of pottery. Where should the emphasis be placed? If function wins out, is a piece still considered art? At what point does form take over function? I approach my work as a studio potter with a function-first frame of mind—form is a result of its objects function. This does not cancel out consideration of form or shape. Rather, I find that a pot is most truly beautiful when it has achieved its utmost functionality. A mug that feels good in the hand is, by extension, a mug that is pleasing to look at. I use simple undecorated forms to achieve this in my work.
My studio work has become a meditation on repetition and practice. Creating the same object in multiples requires discipline. Early on in my studio practice, this kind of work helped to develop the skills I needed to feel free with my material. At this point in my journey, the ‘work’ of throwing has disappeared. I feel able to push my material past what it actually is: my mugs are fully realized objects, materials not withstanding.
Another important aspect of my work has been interacting with the people that will ultimately be benefitting from the functional objects I create. Without continued feedback from people using my pots, the question of function cannot be answered. For a piece to just look functional is not enough. I hope the success I have found as a potter has come from my objects being beautifully, functionally enjoyable, where the visual presence and physical feel of my objects are in harmony. While the bulk of my work comes from wholesale accounts across the country, I take time twice a year to participate in local craft fairs so that I can interact with the people that will be using my pots.
I learned my craft in Washington, DC and in Florence, Italy. I created RachaelPots in 2013 to sell my ceramics at craft fairs in New York City. Since 2013, RachaelPots has grown and evolved into wedding registries and wholesale markets. Most recently, I’ve started collaborations with local restaurants.
The RachaelPots Kitchen line includes citrus juicers, berry bowls, garlic scrapers, spoon rests, mugs, bowls, oil cruets and the Salad Dresser. All RachaelPots ceramics are handmade and thrown on the potters wheel using a mid-range (cone 6) speckled stoneware clay and food safe cone 6 glazes fired in an electric kiln. I work out of my Sunset Park, Brooklyn studio.