Within all of our homes we find fine china passed down from generation to generation. A symbol and beacon of value and tradition, this china serves as a guide for how we live our lives. I grew up facing these ideals but within it hid malignant notions of homophobia. In response, the 'closet' became a refuge, away from the watchful eye of the family china. But having to be in the 'closet' served as a subterfuge for my own upbringing and development. As I became more aware of my sexuality, pornography was a safe space in which I was not oppressed by the homophobia in my own family. Here was a space—the only space— that freely showed gay and bisexual men, living freely and unburdened by judgement. Thus, pornography became more than an object of sexual enticement, but an ideal social construction in which these men with whom I identified, were unafraid.
By placing images of gay pornography on fine porcelain, I have created my own china set that presents the dichotomy between wholesome family values and dereliction of homosexuals within a household. Just like I hid my sexuality, the imagery is hidden within the china in floral-like patterns, aimed at resembling any commonplace china set. It is only after closer examination that the sexuality of the plates reveals itself.
The china, which has been purchased and repurposed, is an equalizer for the narrative. Though I have centered the original project around the development of my own sexuality, the narrative of closeted teens afraid of their own family has a ubiquity present in the social strata. By using ‘found’ plates, I am able to pull the discussion away from myself and into broader audiences in the hope to invite the viewer to contemplate homosexuality and its oppressors within the realm of the hearth of the family—the dinner table.
This fascination has lead me to another goal; the exploration of the material culture of queer ceramics. As a fairly new phenomenon, I am fascinated by the specific niche of non-mainstream sexualized ceramics—another manifestation of sexuality. Part of my fascination with making these items is that the Queer community is the only community that exists without progeny. While every other organized and classified community has a system of generational inheritance, the queer community stands—taxonomized as one—without any transference of material culture. This project extends to my attempt to conceptualize what the material culture of the queer community might look like. What would a dying gay man bequeath me? What will I leave my queer successors—for we are family.