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Habitual Rituals: Provocative Pottery Premieres at Art Center

Lorna Meaden will premiere her collection of attention-grabbing and practical clay pieces designed to get crowds talking.

Highlighting the bad, yet oh-so-good temptations of daily life like caffeine and alcohol, eclectic clay artist Lorna Meaden hopes she can help people take a second look at their daily rituals.

The upcoming exhibition by the Colorado pottery talent, titled Habitual Rituals, will debut Sept. 2 in the Choy Gallery of Clay Art Center.

Art admirers are invited to a reception with the artist on Saturday, Sept. 11 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., where they can chat with Meaden about creation and inspiration, and even purchase pieces they like.

The beautiful-yet-useful pottery pieces in the exhibit are meant to signify daily temptations, beverages and treats the average person lusts for.

Described as "lush, yet functional" by Clay Art Center's staff, it's no accident that the pieces are rendered in bold colors that evoke images of sweets and indulgences. In one piece, a sugar container might be mistaken as a cupcake at first glance; in another, rich brown hues give the impression of a cup topped off with steaming coffee.

The primary focus of the collection is habit-forming indulgences. Meaden evokes tea, sugar, and chocolate, and viewers won't have trouble relating to the treats and arguable nutritional choices the artist highlights.

A refreshing aspect of Lorna's work is that it is multifaceted. The pieces, while visually pleasing, are not just for show—they're meant to contain the aforementioned treats and they can be used every day in cupboard or on a shelf.

 "I am interested in having my work display both practical and extravagant attributes," Meaden said.

Take, for instance, a piece called "Whiskey Bucket."

People are known to knock back a glass of alcohol after a stressful day. And with a piece designed specifically for a relaxing after-work shot, why can't life imitate art?

To Meaden, cups, bowls and containers aren't much different from architecture -- where blank edifices have supplanted Neoclassical and Beaux Arts styling in public buildings, so too have subdued colors and plain edges claimed kitchen cupboards.

Meaden said she's "drawn to work that is rich in ornamentation, with lavish use of materials - both scarce in a culture of mass production."

While mass production and featureless containers aren't going away anytime soon, the artist hopes that when a cup is more than just a cup, it'll get people talking -- and thinking.

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