A Piece Of History

Close up color photograph of a tall narrow vase on display in a gallery.
Wood-fired stoneware vase by Dick Cooter of Cooter Pottery.

 

This tall narrow vase stands 16” high and is 5” wide.  The body or lower portion is a little over half the height of the vase.  At the shoulder of the vase, just below the slightly tapered base of the neck, is a strip of clay that joins the neck to the cylindrical body.  It protrudes from the body like an uneven collar.  The bottom of this strip has a rough edge that appears to have been torn.   lug or knob has been pulled from this strip on either side. They stick out like little fingertips.  The tops of these lugs have a small depression as if made by a thumb pressing down while the clay was wet.  Two more lugs with holes in them are also on either side near the top of the neck, below the rim of the mouth. Uneven in size, the one on the right is a little bit longer than the one on the left.  They stick out like two small rectangular ears.

This vase is like a recording.  The depressions on the tops of the lugs at the shoulders, the rings banding the body and the neck, the splitting and cracking where the upper lugs and shoulder collar are attached, and the unevenness of the walls – they way they bow in and bulge outward – are all a record of the artist’s hands and the nature of clay.  The color of the vase is smoky and streaky with flares of lustrous coppery reds, greys and blacks as well as the surface textures that range from glossy to matte, smooth to rough are all reflective of the wood-firing process.

This vase is part of the audio described touch tour for the exhibit “For the Table” at the Ohio Crafts Museum.