Portrait of the Artist as a Collector


I don’t need to tell you about our love of ceramics. We each had a mad interest in the visual arts and clay prior to meeting, so once we started visiting galleries and artists’ studios together, buying artist-made objects became integral to our lives.

Someone recently asked me when we began “collecting” ceramics. I replied that, as best as I can recall, it got more focused once our walls were covered with two-dimensional art. Admittedly, it got a bit nuts. Before Jacques died, there were so many pots that there was barely room to walk in our house. So much was jammed onto the shelves, surfaces and floor that few individual objects were discernible, and it was difficult even to know where to look. I didn’t realize we were “collecting” exactly...but Jacques did. He studied potters’ work, scoured resources, and his purchasing – especially once he began to use the internet – became methodical.

No matter how many objects we amassed, I always loved that every kitchen item that could be handmade was handmade. This meant that a multitude of functional glass, and especially ceramic, pieces were fun to look at on the shelf; to use; to enjoy while washing and drying, and again while replacing on the shelf. This continuous loop of experience added a dimension of enormous pleasure in our thirty-plus years together, and it continues to do so.

Jacques had such a sense of celebration for every act of creativity. About four years before his death, he landed on a private obsession, and his focus on it remained relentless: yunomis. He marveled at how each handle-less teacup could be so different in so many ways. It boggled his mind, enriched his spirit, and gave so much joy to his life.

He asked me to keep the collection of these cups together and eventually donate them as a group. There are some 440 items (yes, in just four years...) No museum or gallery can store so many, and I decided to keep them together by showcasing them in this little catalogue, in order that whatever I do down the road, these cups will remain together here. It is in the spirit of Jacques’ love – I can see him walking around the house, picking up a cup, turning it over in his hands, and commenting poetically – that I present them here. The photos may not be museum-quality, but the enduring affection is.




Jacques’ yunomis