Convertible Car Kiln

  • Patti Warashina, Convertible Car Kiln, ca. 1971, earthenware, gold and silver luster glaze, and Plexiglas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the James Renwick Alliance, 1994.37.1, © Patti Warashina

A closer look at Patti Warashina’s engaging ceramic works often reveals an underlying layer of social or political commentary rife with tongue-in-cheek humor. In her Kiln series from the late 1960s and early 70s, Warashina pokes fun at the ceramic world’s cult of the kiln” and clay’s often exaggerated association with masculinity during that time. Here, Warashina puns on the term car kiln” — literally, a kiln on wheels — conflating the macho cultures surrounding clay and cars. Gold and silver luster flames allude to hotrod culture while adding a distinctly decorative feminine touch.

Convertible Car Kiln was part of a Car Kiln series that Patti Warashina began in the late 1960s to challenge the idea that cars and kilns were part of a man’s world.” A car kiln is literally a brick oven with shelves that rests on wheels, and Warashina puns on this idea by presenting an image of a car with a dual meaning. As a woman artist, sculpting both a car and a kiln, she demonstrates that neither of these objects is beyond a woman’s understanding or mastery.

When I was in school, the conversations about kiln construction and BTUs were aimed at men. It was assumed that women were china painters and would get married, stay at home, and have babies, while the clay world belonged to the men … In response to this macho attitude, I started making my own kilns!” Artist’s statement

Convertible Car Kiln
ca. 1971
Not on view
14 1235 1214 12 in. (36.990.236.9 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of the James Renwick Alliance

Mediums Description
earthenware, gold and silver luster glaze, and Plexiglas
  • Architecture – vehicle – automobile
  • Allegory – element – fire
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

More from artist

More Artworks from the Collection