Hidden Function

I had a chat with Artist Nao Matsunaga recently. We got to talking about the ceramic culture of Japan, China and the U.K.

Through the discussion we engaged with the handmade objects and industry of each culture, but also of the mass produced wares; the ‘Made in China’ aspect that comes with globalisation. Even the mug I’m drinking from when writing this, despite originating from a Bath based company, was produced in China.


But mugs, bowls and plates are the only ceramic objects we experience on a daily basis. Some we may not interact with immediately, but they are there, making our lives a little bit easier.

Since this discussion with Nao I have been consciously looking out for modular (mass produced, normally slip cast) ceramic objects that are functional, but not immediate to us. Whilst in London, I observed these ceramic insulators on the Tube.

(Sales 2016)

As it turns out, there are an incredible amount of ceramic insulators in all different shapes and sizes. In fact I’ve become a little obsessed. These screen shots from a google image search demonstrate the breadth of uses modular ceramics has in industry, essential in our modern daily lives.

(Google, 2016)

What I like about these objects is just how essential, yet how unnoticed they are. When viewed singularly they could almost be a post modern sculpture, maybe oriental in shape and style, perhaps phallic even? Some insulators have been glazed with colour.  The colour of the glaze in nonessential to its role, so why? Camouflage?

My interest has been ignited and these objects need further investigation.






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