Article by Michael Prokopow

W
HILE THERE ARE times when the production of objects results in unprecedented achievements in form and materiality, more often than not most things of everyday life owe historical debts to significant and rarified objects that have been copied for emulative and commercial gain. Take, for example, a two-piece, brown plastic flowerpot made by Jakobsen Industries in Burnaby, British Columbia sometime around 1973.

For some people, the flowerpot might well conjure a moment in the history of Canadian taste when spider ferns were all the rage and kitchens boasted appliances in Harvest Gold and Avocado Green. For others, the object’s plain form and materiality could trigger thoughts of similar objects made in porcelain at the Arabia factory in Finland. Each assessment would hold sway.

Excerpted from Fall/Winter 2015 Ornamentum. Click here to subscribe.

Michael J. Prokopow, Ph. D., is a cultural historian, curator, and critic. He holds the rank of Associate Professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies at OCAD University in Toronto where he serves as the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies.


Flowerpot
Marked ‘Jakobsen Ind.
Div. of Haney Pottery Sales Ltd.
Burnaby, B.C. Canada’
Molded plastic
6’ x 8’
Circa 1973/4

Photograph:
Michael Prokopow