A while ago I had a yen to find the best garlic container and spent a half hour in Google-land comparing a few hundred examples in metal, wood and glass. They were all so disappointing both in the use of material and their aesthetics. Luckily, my search took me to TRAX Gallery and there I found garlic nirvana in the ceramics of Sunshine Cobb. They have the right feeling of funky (somehow that fits with garlic) and the cages with their cut windows were organic as was the rim of box and its lid. It all came together in the perfect union of beauty and utility. And what gives extra charm is the glazes which are soft, tactile, upbeat and sunny (pun intended) and drew from a contemporary palette. This is functional pottery at its best.
Cobb wants her work to engage with reminiscences and nostalgia. She explains in her artist’s statement at the Red Lodge Clay Center:
“I rely on texture and color to create a sense of motion and time in my work. I hope to instill a sense of age, like one finds apparent in discarded objects, with the aim to infuse feelings of nostalgia and wanderlust in my ceramic objects. By exploring and creating vessels kept within arm’s reach, I hope to communicate how an object’s significance can grow and change depending on the path of a person’s life. And how the relationship between function and ornament shift throughout the course of a day/week/year. Through form and surface my goal is to communicate a sense of home and memory but also to evoke that feeling of wanderlust that has informed my own life and visual sensibilities. My work is at its very best when in use, flowers or food, the work comes to life and enhances any encounter.”
Sunshine Cobb was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, and grew up in southern California. She worked a great many jobs and took a great variety of college classes on her quest to find her bliss. While searching, Sunshine tried many careers- housekeeper, customer service agent, production assistant, massage therapist, child/elder caregiver- until she finally discovered ceramics. After a short stint at Chico State University, she went on to graduate with a BA in Studio Art from California State University at Sacramento in 2004. She focuses her talent on functional ware, embracing the richness of earthenware and currently is exploring the challenge of electrogama (electric firing).
Garth Clark is the Chief Editor of CFile.
Above image: Garlic box by Sunshine Cobb. Photograph courtesy of TRAX Gallery and the artist.
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