Ceramic Art Curation with Ashley Botten Design

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Ceramic Art Curation with Ashley Botten Design

It was a pleasure to work with Ashley Botten of abd on a recent curation collaboration for her malibu shelf, part of Ashely’s new furniture collection now available. Ashley and I worked together most recently on a DesignTO exhibition titled, “What If I Can Use It?” for which we were honoured to receive a Juror’s Choice Award

Ashley’s malibu shelf is a piece of sculpture, in and of itself. “Its structural form and materiality are wildly bold” a description that resonates deeply given my love for ceramic works that could be described in a similar way. Working with Ashley is a wonderful reminder of the energy and inspiration created when we allow different disciplines to intersect, unite, communicate and relate to each other. 

Here is an excerpt from a conversation between Ashley and me about art, design and a few of its intersections. 

AB: Jen, we’ve worked together on the abd malibu a few times now. Being familiar with it, I’m curious to know what you consider when arranging objects on each shelf. Is there any kind of pattern you play with?  

JKP:  It’s very much about going with my intuition. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you think you don’t know what to do. The truth is, there is no right way. It’s really about trying different things. For me, that’s the beauty of ceramic art. You can move it around.  You can put it at various angles and heights, and when you change something, the experience changes too. 

I love the malibu because it’s another piece of sculpture. I see the appreciation of its materiality and form, which are attributes we also experience in art. 

AB:  I love seeing these pieces (of ceramic art) layered on the malibu. It takes on a different story every time.

JKP:  Sometimes people want something functional (because its safer) but sometimes there’s an opportunity for something that is a little more interesting - and these are exciting moments. This shelf does that - it encourages people to be a bit more daring. 

I think an interesting (ceramics) collection includes different forms because if you’re looking at the same thing over and over again, your eye gets used to it. I like being aware of that and seeking out the element of surprise that can re-engage interest. 

AB:  Isn’t that what curating is?  A feeling is created by bringing pieces together. Once the arrangement is made, it has to feel good, or right, or exciting. And I like what you say about different different shapes. We do that a lot in our interior work.

That’s what the malibu is about. It’s not a typical bookshelf. It challenges you to think about how to use it. It’s intentional. You make something out of it to fully experience it. 

JKP:  Yes, and to have fun and not be afraid. 

AB:  It’s what you bring to it, Jen. The malibu is about having an idea and seeing it come to life. Your ceramic collection is perfect for it. Each piece enhances the shelf overall, I love this build and this creation. Thank you.

Watch the video (coming soon) of this conversation between Ashley and I as we work to curate a collection for her malibu shelf.
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