Will Gatti & Daniel Finn

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A Butter Dish Tale

When something is made for you, made carefully – planned, the design drawn out in pencil and then maybe coloured in; and then the clay ¬†bought and shaped, hours getting the corners right, the little knob on the lid; and then it’s painted and glazed and baked and cooled- it becomes more than just a thing, an object, a cup, a mug, a desk, a toy…

Or, in this case, a butter dish. The Queen of butter dishes, if butter dishes have kings and queens, and they might. Why not? You can see it there in the picture, with its dish and lid, its cross-hatch of blues and greys; and all of it hand-shaped, so there are curves on the sides of the lid and everything slides away from symmetry, which makes it the only one of its kind in the entire world. Perfect.

And then it’s broken, knocked from the work surface onto the tiled floor. There’s an almighty crash and the pieces shatter and scatter…

It is somehow so much more than an ordinary breaking, a casual accident.

It was given, and now, you fear, it will be unforgiven.

So the pieces are gathered and laid on the table. This goes here and that there. This must be the lid and that a corner of the dish. Glue. Elastic bands. And slowly, one piece is fixed to the next and the lid and dish begin to take shape again; a little more crooked, the cracks like old scars, visible but somehow grown into the design. But it is whole again, and back in use.

And the love, with which it was made, is still there