fir shelf with repair, 2009, wood and ceramic
18 x 22 1/2 x 18 3/4 inches
"I began making cans a year or so ago. I started turning cans from wood, then began casting them in clay. It wasn't clear to me why I was making cans or where they were going, but the form was so appealingly simple and practical. It is a very familiar form and I thought that was a interesting quality. The wood cans inevitably dry and crack and the clay cans shrink leaving them flawed from their original inception, but you still know it's a can. In the same way you know the large red, white and blue circle over Highway 99 is for Pepsi, even without "Pepsi" written on it. You believe because your brain tells you to trust your eyes.
It wasn't until I started building shelves and cabinets for them that they began to make sense to me. The shelves and cabinets ended up working in the same way a group of pedestals I made last year did. The shelf in this piece is constructed from Douglas Fir, sanded and finished with Tung Oil. However, one shelf bracket is made with plywood as though a repair was done when the original bracket was damaged or lost. It mimics the bracket in shape and color so the difference is subtle. Cans are such a recognizable form that they aren't mentioned in the titles, as if to say: 'They're just cans.' Everyone knows what a can is, how they're used and where to find them. The trick here would be to try to let go of those associations." - Matthew Cox