art spoons

a project by Haley Bates

category collectible design town Fort Collins, Colorado

Kindred I

Kindred II

spoon from the 'Fidelity' series




Your work revolves often around the manipulation and transformation of one specific object: the spoon. What’s intriguing for you about this item?

I find spoons to be one of the simplest, most common, and yet most compellingly beautiful objects that humans use on a nearly daily basis. Spoons help nourish us throughout our lives, first from the hand of others, then from ourselves, and finally, from others once again.  We spoon with our lovers under cover of darkness.  We spoon sugar into our tea or coffee, we spoon medicine into the mouths of those we care for.  The spoon is generous and nurturing--an extension of our own cupped palm. 

What led you to the idea of deforming existing objects, to create new and evocative shapes in your artworks? Could you share the thought process and inspiration behind your decision to explore this transformative approach?

I am drawn to humble objects that share a background of utility and functional design, and that reside solidly within the domestic sphere. Because such objects are so familiar, any interruption of their design becomes a focal point for deeper interrogation.  I seek to expand the usual assumptions around function and use by amplifying or modifying the qualities that define their utility.  These unexpected and incongruous results allow me to explore the metaphorical and poetic possibilities that such objects can contain.

The theme of sharing at the dinner table is a very intimate and personal one: it is a time when our defenses drop and we are more likely to welcome the Other. Can you tell us about your vision regard the rituality of the table? How is it connected with your practice?

The table can be so many things—a place of gathering and sharing, a place where we join with others to sustain and nourish ourselves, in both private and public spaces. The spoon, too, is both intimate and public, being both in and of the body.  While rituals around serving and dining can vary widely, the shared experience of coming together to break bread transcends these differences.  In my own practice, I find the intimacy of the studio to be very important—but it is also part of a shared lineage of craft and of the process of making. By engaging in these traditional craft practices, I am joining others to use and to share my knowledge, therefore taking my own place at the table.

During 5VIE Design Week 2023, as part of the "Prendete e Mangiate" collective exhibition, you presented a set of artworks in the shape of sculptural spoons. Could you shed light on the meaning or message you intended to convey through these creations?

I tend to explore themes within my work that can be highly personal, and are not always obvious.  For example, this particular body of work is inspired by the emotional push and pull of having a teenage daughter who is branching out and finding her own way.  While this series began as my own interpretation of these themes, I think the work speaks to broader ideas regarding emotional connections, family, and relationships in general.

Haley Bates

meet the _Artist

Haley Bates


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