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When examining the work of Catherine White, two primary distinctions can be seen; the first is that she has adopted a minimalist perspective in her art (as evidenced by both the article “Spiralling Choices” and the aesthetic nature of her work, which lacks excessive external decorations). The second distinction is that she chooses to let her book’s materials “speak” for itself.
In samples of her work such as the “Red Rippled Bottle” or “Faceted Vase,” it can be seen that the book lacks any form of external decorative trappings in the form of overly elaborate designs, complex shapes, or even a diverse array of coloring (“Spiralling Choices” 1). What is present is merely a piece of art with one or two shades and has a straightforward design. Yet, such an aesthetic choice is not made out of laziness; instead, it is done by Ms. White to appeal to her sense of aesthetics, which focuses on emphasizing the beauty of the materials utilized rather than just the artist’s skill. From one perspective, it can be stated that despite the simple look of her artistic creations, they do look quite beautiful, and anyone would be proud to own one of her products.
Earlier, when I referred to Ms. White, letting the material of her work “speak for itself,” I was correlating it to the minimalist perspective that she has adopted. The article “Dance of Materials” helps people to understand that Ms. White has a great deal of respect for the various materials she utilizes in creating her clay creations and often sees something wondrous in the mundane (“The Dance of Material” 1). This manifests itself in her work wherein she lets the creation act act as the external decoration of the piece rather than cover it up with paint or elaborate designs. The results are types of jars that look simple in appearance but hold a great deal of complexity related to creation. As seen in the article, she often utilizes different baking techniques, clay samples, and molding processes to create a fascinating yet straightforward design that would not look out of place in a museum of antiquities.
It is based on this perspective that I believe that the design choices that Ms. White utilizes, as well as the focus of her art, is more similar to those used by clay artists more than a thousand years ago. What you have to understand is that in many clay creations at present, many artists utilize styles and techniques that have been aided through many technological processes. This manifests itself in the type of materials used (i.e., highly processes dried clay powder that can be easily molded), the use of modern tools and devices (i.e., a spinning wheel, scalpels, and automated cutters), to an assortment of dyes and paints that help to hone and form many of today’s clay creations. Such modern-day conveniences simply were not present one thousand years ago, and, as such, many clay artists at the time had to improvise with the materials and techniques that they had at the time. When I see the work of Ms. White, I see the same level of innovation and simplicity wherein instead of relying on the tools to make a look of art look great, she instead relies on her own technique and imagination in order to make something look beautiful despite the type of materials utilized.
White, Catherine. “The Dance of Material.” Catherine White. Catherine White, 2006. Web.
“Spiralling Choices.” Catherine White. Catherine White, n.d. Web.