The Power of Gesture

Lately, I've been thinking about the power of gesture. We just brought three new 'groupings' of objects into the store, and each express themselves in different — but equally strong — ways. They aren't loud, but they say a lot. 

Potter Lara Gillett primarily works in hand-building, using slabs of clay to form imperfect shapes that have a whispering asymmetry that evokes nature. 

Handling new clay pieces alongside clay that has seen time is an emotional experience, as silly as that may sound. They are the same material worked with hands into forms that serve functions that answer daily needs. A new batch of decorated stoneware we just brought in shows this use over time through chips, cracks, and repairs. Today the pieces are for show — to be filled with dried flowers or used as an elegant wastepaper basket, but once upon a time the contents of them sustained families, and the process of making them many more. 

I'm reminded of our Object Lesson column from the November/December 2020 issue of the Magazine Antiques, which looked into the painted blue decorations done by journeyman artists who made everyday vessels the pieces of art we collect today. 

And then, also shown above, are these figural tiles our neighbor John Kirslis pulled out of a box in his barn the other day. He made them while studying the process of bas-relief, then stashed them away for safe-keeping. Watching him pull them out of the dusty cardboard years later, we were awe-struck. These sculptures in the form of tile embody this idea of gesture that I've been sitting with, and we feel lucky that John has trusted us to find the pieces new homes. The molds were previously destroyed, so each is one-of-a-kind. 

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