Ian Bassett


Through my experience I have found that all things have a function. I am particularly drawn to the utilitarian object and it's ability to transform the world around us. Nails, bricks, writing quills and various other functional objects have had a profound affect on the development of humans. These objects, which were created out of need, have propelled humans on an evolutionary process allowing for mechanical advantages, that then allow for growth. The utilitarian object has the ability, through symbol and metaphor, to articulate my personal interests in words, language, labor, time, perceptions, and value. I am re-interpreting and re-contextualizing functional objects and their assumed function to create sculpture. I am altering the original material of an object, its scale or creating a new context through this relationship between material and object. I am developing a language whereby I make comments on the relevance of these objects in a greater cultural and personal context. Utilizing words as components in the sculptures comes from my curiosity of the importance of language: how we use letters to construct words, words to form sentences, the difference between written and spoken words and the translations from thought or internal dialogue. In all of these cases I am interested in how these words, thoughts and ideas are perceived by other people. We all have assumptions about the value of objects, and develop words defining our own experiences with these objects over time. The value of communication lies in our ability to share and understand our own perceptions in relation to universal feelings My work explores process and material relationships to create new interpretations and re-contextualization of utilitarian objects that have helped humans in an evolutionary process. The values of objects and the assumed roles they have played in the development of humans is what I comment on through my sculptures. "Presently I am very aware of trying to make particular kinds of objects to create just the right sort of link between my world and myself... I feel better then ever about making things with my hands...Even with the logic and joinery that requires, the work can still be like nature having a sense of its own growth contained in it. I want to approach that kind of wholeness no matter how made or controlled it is." -Martin Puryear

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Ceramic sculpture--Themes, motives; Ceramic sculpture--Technique; Mixed media (Art)--Themes, motives; Mixed media (Art)--Technique; Tools in art; Words in art

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School for American Crafts (CIAS)


Hirsch, Richard

Advisor/Committee Member

Shellenbarger, Jane

Advisor/Committee Member

Buck, Andy


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: NK4235 .B377 2013


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes