Principles of Design Theme: Domestic Life of Women Subject: Kitchenware Wendy Buxton Spring 2009 Introduction to Visual Art 1301 Austin Community College P. King, Professor
When I decided to do this project on the domestic life of women, I was worried that feminist would condemn me for it. However ,I thought that if I was able to explain why I was doing it, that they would be able to understand my point of view. I am not condemning all women to a life of serving, but since we all must eat food to survive, I am saying why not look at the task that you do everyday and see the aesthetic in it. I do not want people to fret at the task of cooking a meal for their family, for it alone is a work of art. I want people to look at the elements of design in the shape of a pancake, or the texture of a wooden bowl. I wanted people to look at the principles of design in the balance of a table setting and the unity of measuring cups. There are many people that share this belief.
I am not the first person to explore this topic of design in house hold objects. During the Edo period of Japan, there was a new focus on the Zen attitude causing the Japanese to focus their aesthetic attention on humble everyday objects. Each utensil was regarded and seen as a serious work of art. It was during this time that they produced such works as the Hon’ami Koetsa’s Teabowl. The Teabowl is an earthly brown color with a smooth glassy texture. It was not meant to just be a tool to use, but also as a work of art to be looked at and admired. I too share this philosophy. My reason for doing this project is to show some of the beauty in the routine task that we do everyday, just as the Japanese did. Many things have changed since then, but the roles of domestic women have not changed.
It was in the mid 1800’s, with the end of the civil war, that many things had changed. One thing that changed was the technology that allows for new kitchen tools to be built. One thing that was slow to change was the roles of women. During the late 1800’s people began to see kitchen appliances, mostly because there were no more servants and women needed help to cook meals. The invention of electricity also helped speed the productivity of domestic women in the kitchen. Still, by the turn of the 21st century, for most women it was their duty to stay at home, care for the children, and make meals for the family. I say duty not job because these women were not paid for their services.
As a young girl, I was never taught to cook and when I was married it was just assumed that I knew how to cook. After a year of burned, and inedible food, I taught myself how to cook, and bake. I am passionate about baking more than cooking because I like being able to follow simple direction and measurements in order to produce a final result. To me there is nothing more rewarding then producing a lavish array of food for your family to devour, but how does one do this.
One thing that I have learned is that you cannot do any task without the proper tool. When I am baking, I make sure that I always have the right tool for the task at hand. Like the many other cultures before me, I see that each tool is designed with a specific job, but they each have an artistic style too. If it did not have an artistic style consumers would be less likely to buy it. But there is not only an artistic look to the kitchen tools that we use, but also in each step we take while we are making a meal. From the collecting of the ingredients and following the steps in the direction to putting on the finishing touches and cleaning up the mess. One can see the oblique line that is created when you add food coloring to a bowl of ingredients or the emphasis of a red cup in a pile of dirty dishes.
I hope that people will see the splendor in everything that they do each moment they put together a meal.
Line: The drops of red food coloring are swirled together to create an oblique line. As the eye curves around the swirls it can create an implied line to connect the two ends to make a figure eight.
Shape: The square griddle and round pancake are defining the boundaries with geometric shapes. The pancake and griddle are the positive shapes, while the space between them are the negative shape.
Form: This apple is given a three-dimensional sphere shape by the light that cast shadows on the surface showing the different indentation that cover it.
Space. The light and the shadows of the microwave help to convey the negative space around this dish. The focal point is the round black button on the top-middle of the dish.
Value: You cannot see where the light is coming from. However, you can conclude that the light of the refrigerator must be coming from the top right and top left, because as your eye moves down the shelves away from the light, the value of the items in the refrigerator darken.
Color: These straws use primary and secondary colors within the same intensity to makes each colors stand out. This is an example of using Triadic harmonies to create a unified look.
Texture: The smooth round apple is contrasted against the woven wooden bowl it sits in. The interweaving of the bowl create a since of a real tactile texture.
Rhythm: This is what is known as regular rhythm. The repeat of round spoon shapes, metallic color and the smooth texture of the utensils keeps the focus of the eyes on the utensils. The pattern and line of spoons, knives and forks look as if it go on past the vanishing point.
Movement: This is Implied Movement. It is implied that this person is just walking by. Look at the direction of the body, the placement of the feet and the lines of the legs. It is not until you look at the top of the picture and see the buttons of the dishwasher that you notice that it is really a reflection.
Balance: There is always a symmetrical balance or formal balance to any table setting. If you were to put a line down the middle of the picture you would have the same on either side or a horizontal balance.
Proportion or scale These food containers come in many different shapes and sizes for food storage. They are the perfect scale for each type of food they are designed to store.
Variety: The smiling little girl , the black stove, the white door in the background, the tile floor, the beige walls, and the wooden drawer all add to the variety of the picture. The repeating colors in her outfit and the objects around her also give it a since of unity.
Emphasis: The focal point is not on the knife but on the reflection of the eyes on the knife. The straight lines of the top and the jagged bottom of the knife are used to create an emphasis on the eyes.
Unity: There is a sweet simplicity in the two larger cups sizes and two smaller milliliters sizes measuring utensil. Yet their proximity and their reflection in the black granite and their shadows on the tile wall, show a combination of elements. All these elements work together to creates a since of harmony.
Index of Images
Line: Mixing bowl with food coloring, Manor, TX. February 5, 2009.
Shape: Pancakes on a griddle, Manor, TX. February 5, 2009.
Form: Apple on a Corer/slicer/peeler, Manor, TX. February 11, 2009.
Space: Bowl in the microwave, Manor, TX. February 1, 2009.
Value: An open refrigerator, Manor, TX. February 11, 2009.
Color: Straws of different colors, Manor, TX. February 8, 2009.
Texture: Apple in a bowl, Manor, TX. February 11, 2009.
Rhythm: Utensils in a dishwasher, Manor, TX. February 12, 2009.
Movement: Lady’s reflection walking by a dishwasher, Manor, TX. February 12, 2009.
Balance: A table place setting, Manor, TX. February 4, 2009.
Proportion: Frigermates filled with vegetables, Manor, TX. February 16, 2009.
Varity: Little girl opening a stove, Manor, TX. February 18, 2009.
Emphasis: A women’s eyes reflection on a knife, Manor, TX. February 12, 2009.
Unity: Measuring Utensils on a granite counter top. , Manor, TX. February 8, 2009.
This project is dedicated in honor of the girl in variety photo, she is living with a neurological conditions called Rett syndrome. Visit http://www.rettsyndrome.org to learn more.