Among the pots and vessels featured in Sleep, In Spite of the Storm, you will find a perfume bottle standing on top of a hand mirror. In my (very) biased opinion, these two are the most complex and compelling objects in this show. And they better be, because I’ve been working on them for a long time.
It all started when I paired perfume bottles and jewelry boxes for my graduate thesis exhibition in 2011. I thought the perfume bottle could become an abstracted figure, and the jewelry box could become a landscape, and that together they could create a seductive atmosphere. In theory it was great, but I left that body of work feeling underwhelmed.
For starters, the perfume bottle as an abstract figure was a forced idea, if an idea at all. I couldn’t get far enough away from the wheel to make it transcend the pot. And by stacking the bottle on the box, I changed the way the jewelry box worked. It stopped being a container and turned into a pedestal. Neither object heightened the other. The two were not a great match.
So I spent time sketching the perfume bottle by itself as a way to gain distance from the relationship I’d forced. I also restricted myself from actually making a perfume bottle because I knew it was important to grow in my hand and mind first to avoid retracing my steps. I spent the time looking at dresses and figures and paintings, while I made a ton of bottles and cups – of course!
When I finally made the right sketch, the challenge was figuring out how to make the thing. What a pain! If you are interested in how I did it, go back to my early Instagram posts where I documented the process step by step (most steps are there).
The hand mirror came to mind in its own time. It was the first thing I could think of that conceptually aligned with the perfume bottle, was found in a similar location and completely heightened the bottle while not turning into a pedestal in the process. To boot, it was an exceptionally undervalued object. Opportunity… check!
But here’s the catch. Slip casting a hand mirror doesn’t work. Believe me, I tried… and tried and tried. It took time to realize that the hand mirror was best suited as a wheel turned object. So I found rich, dark chocolate, dense earthenware and had at it.
So here they are. Three years from when I last made a perfume bottle. Finally.
Part One: Inside the Artist’s Studio: Introducing Peter Pincus
Part Three: Inside the Artist’s Studio with Peter Pincus: Centerpiece
Part Four: Inside the Artist’s Studio with Peter Pincus: Cracks in the Foundation