Unexpectedly found ceramic work on display at PHL before I’m even on a plane. Dinner settings by Rebecca Chappell on display in the D Terminal.

Public art displays in airports always seem just a little out of place to me. People are hurrying by, talking on their cells, doing anything but the sort of contemplation art requests of us.

But maybe the unexpected moments speak to us differently? Isn’t that what we are exploring when we make functional work?

Displaying functional work – work that asks us to take the time to slow down and appreciate the details of a table, or a meal – in the middle of a busy airport terminal seems like just the sort of contradiction I love about ceramics.


17 thoughts on “Airport

  1. Hey Josh. Here’s a website with more examples of her work:
    Check out some her forms – they are really neat!
    Seems like most of her clay is earthenware. Earthenware fires to low fire temperature – basically, the temperature of bisque

  2. I love the oranges, they look so real! A cool project would be to make fruit out of clay and try to make it look as real as possible.

  3. Its almost like the quote “calm within the storm.” I wonder how many people that pass throughout that airport actually stop and respect the artwork before them. Its probably not many but for people like us we would probably stop and admire them. In addition, it looks like the pieces are in a glass box which kind of goes against what i think a big part of pottery is and that is touch. The first thing you do with a functional pottery piece is touch it and you can really know this piece was made with someones hands. All in all, i feel the pieces are almost degraded a bit for being displayed the way they are.

    • Great observations, Joe.
      I think that any time an artist takes the risk of expanding audience, s/he also takes on the risk of the audience either not understanding or disrespecting the work.
      Imagine if these pieces were not covered with plexiglass? Consider how many people at the airport would handle them – and how quickly they would be broken, destroyed, or stolen?
      How could a broader audience – like the airport crowd – engage with work using the sense of touch?
      Another question – should artwork be displayed in a public setting like this? Or is it better displayed to a narrower audience? (The gallery, museum, or ‘white box’)

      I don’t have any more concrete answers to these questions than you do! Ah, art….

  4. This picture believe it or not calmed me. This peaceful design is significant because yet it is so simple, it can signify many aspects in life. For me, this blog signifies that art can calm the soul and like Ms. Plows and I talked about, it teachers the virtue of patience to succeed.

  5. This picture is so cool i think we should do one big class project that work together each of us having a small duty in the process and we end making something like this for like a group collaboration project

  6. I would how long it took to make this complete set. Ms. Plows, what is the most time you have spent on one piece?

    • Xavier – over this past summer, I spent about two months working on an installation that was on display earlier this year in the Duffy gallery. That’s not much time at all compared to what many artists spend on work. And of course, that was was two months of work interspersed with many other things. I often wonder what it would be like to have undivided time to spend on art.

      Documented that piece here:

  7. I was at the airport a day before spring break. I didn’t see this set but at the B Terminal (I think that was where I was) I saw another display of an artist’s work. One of the pieces stood out the most: it was a bowl with a hollow side, and the artist cut out designs through the outer side, without cutting through the inner side. How the artist made this is beyond me.

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