Independent project proposal

Independent project proposal

Brenna Linton

For my independent project I would like to create a series of mugs that have red iron oxide designs on them. I am interested in continuing to explore the process of hand making pottery and how it can affect the way we choose to live our lives.

Handmade pottery is functional in nature and is meant to be used by individuals in their everyday lives. I am interested in ideas that counter to the mass market and globalization of products, and cheap labor that is used to make many objects we use on a day to day basis.  I believe that if we are using objects that are handmade and unique in their individual creation we are potentially a happier, more creative and sustainable society.

The most significant part of my project is that the objects portray a sense of uniqueness and individuality that relates back to me as an artist. Since the work is being made by my hands the work must hold aesthetic qualities that I believe represent my personality and my interests. Pottery is an art form and holds significance to the maker as well as the consumer. By putting design aspects that I believe are representational of myself as an artist I am communicating my aesthetic ideas to the person using my pottery. This also means that the mugs despite their functionality can be seen as art objects because of their artistic reference.

These ideas can be applied to multiple pieces of pottery but I chose mugs because they are part of every significant potter’s portfolio. They are one of the most produced pieces and continually are bought more than other forms. I also believe that because of a mugs simple shape, it can be altered and designed in many different ways while still retaining its functionality, and this makes them perfect as a representation of an individual.

The designs on my pieces will reference Japanese and Chinese ink painting. I am interested in ink painting because of the looseness of application, the permanence of the design, and the expressive yet subtle nature of the strokes. I have studied Japanese culture and language for 5 years and as a result there is an influence in my art from these sources. What originally was an interest in Japanese language stemmed from comic books and cuisine became a genuine interest in all forms of Asian art, particularly pottery for its close relationship to Asian culture and food. As a Canadian and a person who spent much of their childhood traveling across western Canada I have a personal connection to the changing landscape of my country. I have recently found ink painting to be a way to connect these ideas and express my appreciation for the natural landscape.

These pieces will be displayed on a table and will be passed around during critique so that everyone will be able to handle the mugs to get a sense of how they would feel when they would be used in a personal setting.


Tanaka, Ichimatsu, and Bruce Darling. Japanese Ink Painting. 1st. edition. New York: John Weatherhill Inc., 1972. Print.

Addiss, Stephen. The Art of Zen. New York: Henry N. Abrams Inc., 1989. Print.

Fujioka, Ryoichi. Tea Ceremony Utensils. First Edition. New York: John Weatherhill Inc., 1973. Print.

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One Response to Independent project proposal

  1. Yes!
    NOW you are speaking the language of craft and pottery.
    Having articulated all this, you can start using it as a framework to examine what you make and why in more specific ways. For example, how do specific clay bodies inform you as a potter? Think about the clay body’s impact on your experience as a maker, on the pot as a visual object, and on the pot as a functional object. Ask the same sorts of questions about firing and glazes, brushes, wheels, etc.
    Continue to apply the same sorts of questions to your personal motivations. What particular things in Japanese culture impact you the most as a potter, and why? Does it help to compare those things to Canadian (or western) culture?

    You are asking and answering lots of these questions in your proposal above, of course. I just want to keep you thinking about it at a more specific example.

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