Please Touch the Artwork – Day 57

[Today’s featured artwork for Day 57 of the 365 Days Project is by Elizabeth Shriver.]

Ceramic coral by Elizabeth Shriver
Coral Bouquet” by Elizabeth Shriver. Photo courtesy ©Elizabeth Shriver.

How many of you will admit this…

#57 – The Artist Mind is like a curious child who wants to touch everything as if to confirm what the eye already knows.

I’ll probably never be able to set foot in a museum again after admitting this, but here goes anyway…… When no one is looking, I’ve been known to touch the artwork in museums.

Maybe it’s because I’m a sculptor and I sense everything through my hands, but I’m never content to simply look at a work of art (or most anything else, for that matter.) Like a little kid, I have to touch it.

Elizabeth Shriver creates exactly the type of work that would get me in trouble. I wouldn’t be able to rein in the temptation and would find myself running my fingers over the elegant, organic surfaces of her ceramic forms. Shriver says it herself, “A successful piece is one that begs to be touched as well as explored visually.”

So perhaps she’d let me do it. Just once.

I know I’m not the only one who feels a strong urge to reach out and touch an object, even if it’s in a museum. It’s a deeper encounter than just visually observing – a way of exploring, questioning and fully understanding. There’s a connection I’m looking to make with the artist who created a piece that intrigues me, even if the work was created centuries ago.

I sometimes allow people to touch my artwork during exhibition openings. On rare occasions I’ll even pick up a piece and surprise them by letting them hold it in their hands. It’s a simple pleasure few people get to enjoy since most museums and galleries maintain a “Do Not Touch” policy – and rightly so due to the wear and tear on the artwork and the potential for breakage. I will admit that when handling my own work, I always wear gloves because it gets handled quite often before it finds its “forever home.”

But to allow someone the opportunity to make a physical connection with a work of art and see their eyes light up with the curiosity of a child is definitely worth a little “wear” and it’s the ultimate compliment on the power of art.

Ceramic Floral Lantern by Elizabeth Shriver
“Floral Lantern” by Elizabeth Shriver. Photo courtesy ©Elizabeth Shriver.

Elizabeth Shriver’s artwork can be viewed at: Elizabeth Shriver Ceramics

Description of the images included in this post:
Coral Bouquet
Elizabeth Shriver, Iowa, USA
Coiled stoneware

Floral Lantern
Elizabeth Shriver, Iowa, USA
Hand-built stoneware

The 365 Days Project

In 2012, Serena Kovalosky committed to writing an article a day for 365 days as an exploration into the lives of artists and the value of creative thinking in our society.

Experience the full evolution of the project! Click below to read the entire collection of articles.

Click to view The 365 Days Project

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