Tag Archives: Dwell


Gwyn Hanssen Pigott: a potters film – and other design matters.


This film from Creative Cowboy Films won the best contemporary film award at the Ateliers d’art de France international film festival at Montpellier in 2010.

“A documentary about ceramic artist GWYN HANSSEN PIGOTT. Gwyn is recognised as one of the world’s leading ceramic artists and is particularly well known for her series of still life collections of porcelain vessels. The film shows GWYN making, glazing and firing her work. The film also includes sequences of a wood firing and the unpacking of the kiln.” (Creative Cowboy films website).


Canberra Hanssen Piggot exhibition

Canberra – Hanssen Piggot exhibition

An interesting and quite different take on Gwyn Hanssen Pigott’s ceramic art can be found at this blog www.iconophilia.net

in a post called The Not Morandi Affect – on “the proliferation of the Morandi effect/affect in contemporary art” written in response to one particular exhibition displaying “about 20 of GHP’s trademark still life ensembles, all encased in rather clinical plastic vitrines.  Unfortunately, in this display, it is as if the air, the space itself, has been sucked out of these plastic boxes, such that the potential of these forms to make music with each other has been vacuumed away into silence”.

Such hermetically sealed arrangements of delicate objects of art hold great appeal to the architect’s wife. They could be passed off as useful rather than decorative vessels. They pay homage not so much to Morandi as to modernist functionalism  – essential for architects’ homes. What joy to have a collection of objects perfectly formed rather than found, (the compensatory art of poor students and creatives) and so utterly understandable to keep them as installations, in order and out of reach in those clinical plastic display cabinets. To live the Dwell dream  – that paradox of struggling to stay alive in ‘design for living’ .

Natura Morta - Giorgio Morandi

Natura Morta – Giorgio Morandi

This inaccessible designer bath is similar to the ceramic vessels kept out of reach. The paradox of the still life of 'design for living'.  Maintain Dwell like perfection, save water, save cleaning.

This inaccessible designer bath is similar to the ceramic vessels kept out of reach. The paradox of the still life of ‘design for living’. Maintain Dwell like perfection, save water, save cleaning.


I build therefore I am

If there is any consolation in philosophy, for those trying to come to terms with the existential impulse to build edifices, we can look to Heidegger who points out that our very basic understanding of being – I am – you are – is aligned with building and dwelling.


“The Old English and High German word for building, buan , means to dwell. . . . bauen, buan, bhu, beo , are our word bin in the versions: ich bin , I am, du bist , you are, the imperative form bis , be. What then does ich bin mean? The old word bauen , to which the bin belongs, answers: ich bin, du bist mean: I dwell, you dwell. The way in which you are and I am, the manner in which we humans are on the earth, is Buan , dwelling” (pp. 146-147)

kid-stuff as art

Architects’ wives may struggle to maintain their minimalist homes to Dwell  standards.

clutter free minimalist home

perfect home, perfect child

Once children come into our lives, the house fast becomes cluttered with stuff.

Spending money on storage cubes, cases, trunks, bags, boxes, baskets always appeals as a quick fix solution (the only true solution is an overnight stay – without children – in a chic hotel). But as one carts these into the house it dawns on us that we are bringing even more stuff into the house. Stuff packed away into new stuff is still stuff – and it clutters the house shamefully.

One solution is to transform some of the children’s stuff into art. Hans Bellmer provides inspiration for interesting transformations of dolls.

For those who find artfully arranged dolls a little disturbing, this toy car installation might hit the spot.