• Chantel Matthews

Stacking the unwanted cups

Updated: Sep 25

Stack of imperfections.

Handmade v throwing.

The two on the right were my first handmade, homemade attempts during covid lockdown. The others are my learning how to throw.

Reflective thoughts on the idea of stacking cups.

If the cups are stacked permanently then they lose their function which means they won't be filled with anything other than themselves. I think about cups not being used as a metaphor for my absence from the Marae, from the whenua. An empty whare kai, not in use or those that no longer go home because of that fracture or disconnection.

These cups pictured did not make the cut for functional cups yet sculpturally they offer something else. A fractured spine, discarded whanau, their own whakapapa seen as disfunctional by appearance. The black sheep of the whanau, that was my mother. She never made the cut and refuses to connect with a place she doesn't feel comfortable.

Thinking about the cups that will be part of kai kōrero and cuppa tea time, what if the used cups are then attached, glued permanently together based on the experience, this forming a whakapapa and relationship with each other through experience? the objects become sculptural moments.

Vessence (Vessel/Essence Exploration)

Vessence, Uku, Essence, 2020

Half Caste

Half Caste, Vessels as portraits, Uku, 2020

As a wahine of Māori and Pākehā descent, I walk in two world's. Given the dominant influence growing up was Pākehā, I know it but I don't necessarily feel it. In the Māori world, I feel it but I don't necessarily know it. this tacit knowing and unknowing locates my position in a space of in-betweenness.


These works are processes in the making as I continue to learn how to use the pottery wheel to form cups. The dipping into different glazes haphazard like have created these half caste vessels. Not quite cups, not quite functional for their purpose as I figure out their place, I also figure out mine.

wāhine vibes

"I feel you sis" - @daydreambeliever

" Gosh this sums so much up that I can relate too!" Beautiful sis" - @miriama_r

A shell doesn't try to be a rock

I don't know what korero they will fill the cups with?

An exploration of vessels as if they were portraits of mana `wahine.

Development - iteration from morning pages and kai kōrero.

Kāpu Korero

Why not the humble cup?

A cup is an ordinary object that is functional to our every day. It brings people together and, depending on the content, can provide warmth, set the tone for the day, ease tension, and bring comfort. In this context I am using a cup as a vessel for conversation.

"What it means to put experience into the vessel as if they were a portrait."

I don't know what korero they will fill the cup withs? It is an idea to make sets of cups in pairs that will be packaged and sent to wāhine with the idea that 'something' will be sent back (returned). Part of this exchange is so other wāhine can contribute to the work by sharing their experiences when using these cups. This exchange through sharing will feed a more significant concept, which is to bring wāhine together to understand and be understood through the self as wāhine, connecting through the everyday and creating embodied relationships.

I am still working through how these cups will be packaged, delivered, and what instructions will be as it is essential that the work is not directed but instead lends itself towards an intuitive act. I'm hoping to use the outcomes of these experiences as a framework to further develop object-making with concepts of mana wahine as a philosophy of wellbeing.

Key words: Self defining, inclusiveness, energy and frequencies, experiential, wairua, mauri.