Artists’ Statement

michael-mode1I draw on the forms and long history of functional objects, especially bowls and lidded vessels, but in the refinement of the surfaces and finish, the delicacy of the turnings, the geometries of design and a general appeal to the eye rather than to function, I intend my pieces as art objects celebrating the beauty of the material and the profoundness of everyday life.  When people ask me if they can put anything in a bowl, I often say “The bowl is already full”.

Inspirations drive my work and me.  Arising in an indefinable place, inspirations come with a burst of energy which will carry me over the often significant obstacles inherent in making something new, and sometimes give rise to a whole family of pieces created over a number of ensuing years.

Two hundred years ago everything people used was either made by hand from simple raw materials or grew on its own (horses, cattle, sheep, vegetable fibers and wood).  Hand work in that world was ubiquitous and well understood and, for the most part, was not seen as an art form even if it was beautifully done.

michael-mode2Today nearly everything we use is manufactured and utilitarian.  Today’s  handworkers focus on the art end of “handmade,” recalling the beauty of direct contact with the medium, the uniqueness of each handmade piece and the ability of the artist to project his or her self into the work via eye/hand/heart/mind coordination.  The melding of machine and computer appears ready to spawn a whole new world of objects and possibilities, but I don’t think it will replace or eliminate the truly handmade, as long as humans with hands and hearts occupy this planet.  I hope not.