I suppose there’s no story behind Object & Totem, just a circumstance I found myself in during a time in my life of feeling incredibly vulnerable just having lost my job. So, I decided to take a ceramics class, because it was the winter and I had time.
It was very frustrating in the beginning and almost gave up at the wheel, yet it was incredibly addictive, the swing of emotions you get from what starts as a messy ball to the satisfaction of creating a functional bowl. And I guess that’s how I came to the conclusion of naming it Object & Totem. All the good stuff happens in between the things you see and recognize as objects before they become something you cast off.
It’s hard to define a significance behind what the work represents when the process of making ceramics feels significant in and of itself. There’s a tension I try to mediate between a sense of control and mindlessness, old and new. So, if anything, I try to keep in mind the idea of preserving the natural qualities of the material and adding something new enough it doesn’t supersede it altogether.
Ceramics as a craft has always been a trend. It’s just taking a new and interesting wave in this modern digital age where making something tactile keeps you present. I think the difference now is not only do all of these new interpretations of the past, but you have so many different ways to document and share, the many angles you can access the idea of ceramics can feel endless and overwhelming. But in the end, it’s such an intimate experience to have, despite the ubiquity of it.
Interview with Julianne Ahn – Object & Totem
Trends: Experienced Narratives.