Out and About – Renwick Gallery 50th Anniversary Show Part 1: Ceramic Houseware

Out and About – Renwick Gallery 50th Anniversary Show Part 1:  Ceramic Houseware

by Elizabeth Eby

Posted July12, 2022

The current 50th Anniversary Show at the Renwick gallery is fabulous.   It is just impossible for me to choose one favorite object so I decided to write about objects I like that I can relate to one another and tell you the stories and makers behind them.  The Renwick is at 17th and Pennsylvania, Ave NW. 

Pots, pots, pots.

This group of three ceramic pots tells a story about modernizing traditional craft.  Each of them takes a traditional pottery form and makes it unique to the person who made it.  Work that shows the artist’s handprint is one part of the definition of the modern craft movement.  This isn’t anything new, but the pride it shows to claim imperfection in fine art is radical.      

Faux Wood Group Ceramics – I assume every American who has visited a national park has seen a pitcher or a mug like the ones Linda Sikora made.  Maybe a little more rustic, dipped in brown glaze at the top.  Ms. Sikora says she loves pottery forms “because they are familiar, welcomingly familiar, and have the ability to disappear into private personal activities and places.”  The faux wood grain glaze cleverly presents two competing sensations simultaneously – warm wood and cold clay.  

Photo 2 Water Pot – The shape of this pot is immediately recognizable as a water jug but it could be from ancient Greece as easily as from Native American. The flower motif is similar to Native American wild flower patterns I have seen in bead work.  Pot decorations are usually painted in slip, not bright colors.  Linda Holt and Harlan Reano live in independent pueblos in New Mexico.  Holt made the pot, Reano decorated it.  He combined traditional motifs and his own designs.  The neon bright colors make a 21st century statement.

Photo 3 Eight Bean Stew – Want the recipe?  Sorry, David Gilhooly died in 2013.  This sauce pot is part of his Frog World series.  The frogs?  I’m sure Julia Childs would recognize them and probably laugh.  

Out and About is an occasional photo feature by artist, photographer, gardener, and Capitol Hill resident Elizabeth Eby.  She finds vignettes while out and about on or near Capitol Hill.


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2 responses to “Out and About – Renwick Gallery 50th Anniversary Show Part 1: Ceramic Houseware

  1. Bengal Richter

    Wow, the Eight Bean Stew looks delicious. Let’s eat!

  2. Jacqueline West

    I visited the Renwick last weekend and plan to return soon; one viewing is just not sufficient to take in this amazing exhibit! The Renwick is absolutely my favorite Smithsonian venue.