Patti Warashina’s Kilns series subversively undermined the macho “cult of the kiln”: a phrase used to coin the sexist culture that surrounded kiln-building during the mid-twentieth century. As a ceramics student at the University of Washington, Warashina observed that kiln-building lessons were directed towards men, while surface decoration was the jurisdiction of women.
In response, she created a pointed feminist critique, taking symbolic control over the image. Gold Finger (1973) can be read as a female stereotype imposed on a male one, with its shiny gilt decorative surface and two protruding fingers, their nails painted bright red. Fairy-tale depictions of beanstalks and peas further emphasize the playful yet gendered imagery, exposing problematic conventions.
Photographed in the Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan.