Artist Statement

My work continues to be utilitarian in nature; that is, it is still concerned with the serving of food.

Few ceramic works now made are utilitarian. Most new ceramic work is sculptural in nature, albeit small in scale. This sculptural direction in clay is a shift that has occurred slowly over the past half century. I am not the first to have noticed, nor am I lamenting the change; some of the work is beautiful, and clay is an extremely versatile medium. Change is inevitable. I am just stating the obvious-- that the pendulum has swung, and I have not swung with it. But perhaps "pendulum," both in reality and as metaphor, is an anachronism.

At one time in history, and as long as 20,000 years ago, fired clay was necessary for storing and serving food. Now, many modern materials provide the same functions, as well or better than ceramic. So clay has found its new primary purpose-- as personal sculptural expression of infinite variety-rather than work limited by the constraints of utility.

I am reminded of the time that my teacher, Wayne Higby, asked , "What do you think would be more difficult-to choreograph a dance in this whole room, or in just one square foot?"

I like that metaphor, and I still enjoy the challenge of inventing ceramic work within the narrow boundaries of utility.

Diana Pancioli