Chocolate PotsDec 07, 2012 - Dec 30, 2012

Curatorial Statement

This December we have asked a handful of artists, Forrest Lesch Middleton, Robin DuPont, Jane Shellenbarger, A. Blair Clemo, Margaret Bohls, Suze Lindsay and Emily Free Wilson, to revisit the form of the oft overlooked Chocolate Pot. What you will see in the exhibition is a series of modern interpretations accompanied by groupings of wares which may bring to mind scenes of warm family gatherings, quiet evenings by the fire and perhaps a plate full of cookies left for the mythical man in the red suit.

Traditionally chocolate pots were metal forms with wooden or porcelain side handles. The spout was wider to allow for a generous stream of the thick, sweet chocolate liquid. Many chocolate pots also had a hole in the lid where a molinet, or stirring stick, was at the ready to stir up the cocoa sediment resting at the bottom of the pot. Along with a wider spout came sets of mugs with full proportions, allowing the scent and steam of the cocoa to rise, enticing our olfactory and visual senses before taste activated the palate.

Chocolate was a precious commodity in history, brought into Spain from the Aztec culture. It even achieved the status of the King’s official drink in New Spain, becoming so popular with the addition of milk and sugar a new economic market was activated. Porcelain manufacturers got in on the game and many fine examples can be seen in the annals of Limoge, Höchst, and Meissen. The molinet was absent from most porcelain renditions, but the wide foot, wide spout, raised lid, and side handle often remained.

For this exhibition Red Lodge Clay Center has partnered with our local chocolatiers, King’s Cupboard. Our reception table will be laden with delicious cocoa, fondue for dipping fresh fruit and butter cookies, and rich chocolate mousse. The season for rich decadence in our decor, our dress and our tables is upon us. Why not join in an historic tradition and share a cup of cocoa poured from a handcrafted chocolate pot into a handcrafted mug while you nibble on a homemade cookie served on the side?