Monday, May 30, 2011

Functional vs Utilitarian

Banana Split boat, as promised. Sorry for the crap photo, but you get the idea. I threw a flat-bottomed bowl about 7 inches in diameter, then, at leatherhard, cut an inch-wide strop put of the middle, and reassembled the halves.

This project got me thinking about the difference between function and utility. Now, this boat is perfectly functional; it won't leak, for example, and it's not made of lead or pesticide or something. But you wouldn't call it utilitarian. Those little peaks - so like a circus tent! - are just dying to break off in the sink.

Although function is an important aspect for me, in some cases if feels right to add details which make a piece less functional. In this case, because it's a sundae boat, it contributes to the sense of specialness, of frivolity, for the bowl to require a bit more attention. Some shapes, too, have cultural associations: inverted scallop shapes are associated with festivity. So are dots, which I will try to incorporate during the glazing.
Thinking too much? Maybe. But now I am thinking about another sundae. I'm gonna wait until this dish is finished, so I can take it for a test drive.

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