Katrina Chaytor ~ Ceramics
It is a pot’s inherent potency to enhance daily life; a simultaneous engagement of concept (utility), action, service and aesthetic experience that I find both deeply compelling and challenging. Decoration is also integral to my research and pottery practice in its capacity to be both performative - delighting the eye and informative - as a cultural carrier of meaning. I am interested in how decoration has served this dual purpose in cultures and histories. Decoration constitutes complex, diverse and visually rich languages that reveal a society’s values, traditions and cultural structures.
My earlier decorative surfaces were derived from the natural world; for example stylized vermiculated imagery that referenced burrowing worms or the crosshatch patterns of timber fence constructions found in rural communities of my Newfoundland home. In my current work, I “mine” our digital culture, embedding computer icons and symbols into decorative compositions on my ceramic works; synthesizing the digital with a decorative intent. I choose computer iconography, (i.e. circuitry, audio waves, the Windows hourglass, the binary), as it is an abundant source for motifs, imbues currency within my decorative approach and recognizes decoration’s basic principles as a cultural carrier of meaning. Computer icons are signs of the technological environment of our 21st century society that permeates both the personal and public domains of our lives, as we navigate and communicate in this digital terrain of hash tags, @'s, cursors and clouds . Beauty and “delighting the eye”, which is decoration’s primary role, is achieved when the icons are repeated, layered, patterned, overlapped and imbued with coloured glazes on the surfaces of my pottery. At times, the ‘nature’ motifs weave their way back, intersecting with the digital icons. The familiar organic references from earlier works (i.e. the vermiculated pattern of a worm’s burrowed pathway) are merged with the digital, (i.e a circuitry pathway). This as a subtle visual reference, embedded in my decorative surface patterns, to our present day existence; our reality being one that negotiates the complex balance of our digital life of hardware, software and operating systems and the sensuous, natural world.
Teapot with Trivet, hand-built stoneware; Decoration: mac command key and circuitry pattern