McHugh, C. J. 2016. ‘The Crinson Jug from clay to the grave (and beyond): exploring the ceramic object as a gathering point’

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    This is an imagined account of what might have happened to my artworks, Crinson Jug (2012) and associated pieces, after they were lost at an art fair in Shanghai in March 2013. Have they already entered the archaeological record, perhaps on a landfill site somewhere in Shanghai, or will they be found and kept for posterity by a loving owner? Enquiries have been to no avail and, as the fate of these items remains unknown, a story must suffice. In this essay, I want to trace the ‘life history’ of the jug from its beginning as porcelain clay to its last known whereabouts. Although it has been removed from currency, in discussing the jug’s pre-loss career, I will show how it became animated and activated through a process of making, display and engagement with the community. While monuments are often problematised as ‘crystallised’ sites of forgetting (Nora, 1989; Connerton, 2009), it is argued here that, like the jug, ceramic objects have the potential to form dynamic loci of social creativity and remembrance. This incident is worthy of discussion as it demonstrates how such objects, invested with the toil of human endeavour and possessing the potential to affect (Dudley, 2010) and evoke (Turkle, 2007), can become catalysts in the mediation of complex human-object relationships.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationContemporary Clay and Museum Culture
    EditorsChristie Brown, Julian Stair, Clare Twomey
    Place of PublicationLondon
    ISBN (Print)9781472470379
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 8 Jul 2016


    • ceramics
    • sunderland
    • pottery
    • engagement
    • archaeology


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