Artist Notes: Totem Trays

In launching Clù, I had the opportunity to consider materiality and texture in unexplored ways. Of course, material and texture aren’t new to my work. Layering, adding, and detracting to discover are techniques that appear in some of my largest pieces – such as the Maps of Time and Rome series – down to my smallest, handheld Salento series.

In shifting from works on the wall to art pieces that are also practical objects? This was an opportunity to try something new.


art can be ✨functional✨ and beautiful too – my newest line of Totem Trays #tiktokart #goodpoint

♬ The Jazz Relaxer Cocktail – Jazz Lounge Nights

What first drew me to creating Totem Trays was the idea of layers. This simple flat object forms a distinct separation between the surface under it and the things on it. That which is placed on it is then framed by the shape of the tray, forming a unit that otherwise would not have been there. Drinks and nuts, a tea service, some jewelry, business cards, a pad and pen – these are things that become elevated by their context. I designed my trays to be stacked with its various sizes. In this way, they can act as their own mini-collection. Together, a pairing can tell a story.

A tray borders something purely aesthetic and something functional. It can be a tool for serving, or can simply exist as a display to enhance the beauty of space.

I also think trays as a type of object are ones that allow a space for surprise. While the material is simple melamine, a plastic that is used in many prosaic household objects, the hand-created artistry forms a contrast to this humble material.Each design on the Totem Trays originated from my drawings, which were then digitalized and incorporated into a collage. The act of placing something on a tray to then remove it also allows a viewer to then receive the surprise of the composition spontaneously created.