The child-like images of Donna Flanery’s pottery offer adults support and encouragement in a world full of serious problems. The cartoon style engages the use of humor, and replaces grimness with lightness.
Donna lives in Missoula, Montana. Her playful, painted pots have been shown around the country and have taken her to residencies in Germany, China, Minneapolis, and The Archie Bray Foundation. She enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, and baking.
"Playful painted animal characters envelope my pottery. Although childlike, these pots provide adults with support and encouragement in a world full of serious problems. The cartoon style engages the use of humor, and replaces grimness with lightness. In my work, we are reminded of our needs for play and naivety. Characters are found engaging in a game, drinking tea or staring out with window. These are things which are generally not elevated in a culture which requires maturity and rewards discipline. I wish to liberate our playful personalities.
A sequence develops from the use of three dimensional space. Often, two distinct sides create the narrative. Different views reveal new information as the viewer walks around the piece or moves it in their hands. Because both sides are never viewed in the same moment, both space and time are needed in the telling. My pots are themselves stories, as well as referring to the narrative forms of children’s books and comic books.
I use techniques from both children’s book illustrators and comic book artists to develop my images. I keep a comic diary, a short daily comic strip of something that happened that day. This provides me with relatable material to draw from when painting on my pots.
My pots provide consolation and hope. They promote a playful, tender approach to living. On the surface of utilitarian objects such as teapots, watering cans and mugs, my images take their natural place in our domestic lives."