Historically, foods that required a great deal of time and labor to create, or elaborate utensils to produce and serve, carried with them the prestige of elevated purchasing power. – Sherrie Inness
Designed for the preparation and presentation of food, highly specific functional objects may appear ambiguous to the untrained eye and require sensibility to use them effectively. At its core, It’s No Trouble implies this sense of connoisseurship; to properly use the ceramic work involves a high degree of skill and finesse, honed by an educated mind, a practiced hand, and a discerning eye.
Using theoretical function, It’s No Trouble examines the nature of specified gender roles as satirically presented through absurdly specific functional pottery, video infomercial spoof, and elaborately staged photography. Invented hyper-specific objects serve as a window into the anxious mind of the identified user, who is a parody of the culturally prescribed ideal woman. Both ambitious and anxious, she combats her nervous nature by supplying herself with innovative utensils designed to elevate her control over life’s uncertainties in food preparation, entertaining, and dining- all perceived responsibilities of her realm. These objects realistically decorate her space, and become a vehicle for examining heightened domesticity applied to ridiculous problems with food preparation and presentation. Operating on the premise of Japanese Chindogu and timesaving gadgets of television infomercials, the ceramic vessels in It’s No Trouble allude to the promise of happiness via convenience by solving “the problem you didn’t know you had”. Instead, they provide a satirical glimpse into the controlling nature of the hostess, who has succumbed to the assurances of product consumption.
The sink, countertop, doors, drawers, and vent are all painted to give the illusion of three-dimensionality, in much the same way a theatrical set is constructed and painted.
The television is contained within a nondescript box, and it plays the Center-Peas Infomercial as an instructional aid.
Center-Peas is a hopper designed to house Personal Pea-Eaters. The peas are poured into the top removable funnel and are guided through the series of spouts into separate Pea-Eaters. Diners may remove the Pea-Eater and place it into the personal stand. Peas are delivered to the mouth through the hollow handle, which doubles as a spout.
The Pea-Straining Server is designed for the preparation of the peas prior to taking them to the table. The peas are poured through the removable funnel on the top, strained through the pierced foot of the pourer, and the juices collect in the bottom basin.
The Personal Pea-Eater prevents embarrassing Pea-Mess by containing the peas in the depressional voids located in the spoon. Once filled, the peas are contained and can be enjoyed, without embarrassment, through the delicate eating spout.
Waiting for Peas
Simply pour the peas into the Pea-Straining Server. Any liquids will collect in the basin, ensuring your peas are free of any canning juices.
The Center-Peas is a tabletop device designed to prevent embarrassing pea mess. The peas are poured through the funnel and are directed into separate Pea-Eaters.
Juicing for Two Smiles
The Dirty Palmer lets you keep your dirty secret!
Dirty Palmer Beverage Set
The Dirty Palmer lets you keep your dirty secret! The pitcher features a two-part chamber, for iced tea on the bottom half of the pitcher, and a juicer on the top. A juicer fits onto the top of the juicer basin, with two pointed reamers devised to align with the chest of the female user, igniting the use with a dirty implication. Lemon juice collects in the top basin, and both liquids mix only when poured from the pitcher’s double-walled spout. The user-dependent design creates a performative element- one must juice a new lemon for each cup, thereby keeping the hostess engaged with the drink preparations. The “dirty” element of the set appears with the Dirty Cup. Double-walled, it has a secret interior flask inside the cup, which can be filled through a plugged hole on the underside of the cup. The liquid in the interior flask of the Dirty Cup mixes with the Arnold Palmer liquid when the user drinks from the spout in the rim of the cup.
Source: Inness, Sherrie. Dinner Roles: American Women and Culinary Culture. (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2001), 63.