Michael Flaherty







Porcelain and coloured porcelain

I have rarely used surface embellishment in my pottery and sculpture. So when I determined to make new works in clay about bicycles I decided to steer in a new direction. Looking at the patterns of bicycle tires I was inspired to integrate geometric elements from historical ceramic decoration with the functional elements of the tires. Symbols, dots, lines, and imagery complement sidewalls, studs, and treads.

Bicycling is the craft of transportation. It is a self-consciously deliberate method of movement, an alternative to the mainstream, and resonant with ethical and activist overtones. In a world of automobiles the act of riding a bicycle can be a protest in the same way that a handmade vessel protests the disposable coffee cup from the drive-thru window. If the category of craft were a 21st Century construct instead of a 19th Century one then bicycling, as an example of combining the practical and the meaningful, would sit as comfortably among the craft genres as pottery and textiles do now. As a ceramicist and a cyclist I look to make these connections apparent.