All Posts
The Peacock Room
The Team


The original Peacock Room was designed to house Leyland’s collection of blue-and-white Chinese porcelains and then later, when the room was acquired by Freer in 1904, it was filled with his significant collection of East Asian ceramics.  These two distinct collections always held a prominent, if not essential feature of the room.

Peacock Room 1908

Starting this past summer, I began to gather ceramic vessels carefully chosen to reflect many of the forms from both original collections. With the help of friends and some great local antique and thrift stores, I was able to amass over 250 objects that were then cleaned, primed and painted. 

Blog 5.Image 2

Each one essentially became a little three-dimensional canvas, if you will, and I approached them as such. They are all very painterly in nature and it’s been immensely pleasurable to make them.

Blog 5.Image 3

I have had a long engagement with contemporary ceramics starting in college when I worked at Garth Clark Gallery in Los Angeles and through that experience met the artist Beatrice Wood who would become a great friend and mentor to me. Over the years, I spent countless hours in her ceramic studio assisting her with loading the kiln and mixing her glazes. I remember often cleaning out shattered lusterware from her kiln, like shards of luminous Roman glass, as she would loose so many vessels in the firing. These memories have been flashing back to me over the months as I create my own ceramic collection, broken pieces and all. I have tried to channel my Inner-Beatrice Wood. I think she would have been humored and really pleased to see this.

Blog 5.Image 4

The effect in the room is that the ceramic collection is in a state of volatility: glazes are dripping off the pots and pooling on the floor, shelves have collapsed and broken pottery litters the floor. Along the way, I realized the limitations of my found vessels and needed to have some unique pieces made that were much more expressive. I was fortunate enough to meet a wonderful ceramic artist based here in North Adams named Diane Sullivan. To see Diane’s own ceramic sculpture please visit her website. Diane has been meticulously hand-building beautiful formed vessels that we are then disfiguring by punching, tearing and pushing into the wet clay.Blog 5.Image 5.6combined

Her pieces are going to add such wonderful gestures into the mix. Thanks goes out to Diane for her contribution to Filthy Lucre!

Image Credit: Jane Burns, Darren Waterston and MASS MoCA