Wednesday, February 28, 2018


My mother's Pyrex bowls, Parkdale, 1998

THESE PYREX BOWLS BELONGED TO MY MOTHER. They usually sit in a glass-fronted cupboard in our kitchen. We don't use them much, mostly because I'm afraid they might get damaged or broken.

I don't have many of my mother's things. There wasn't much, in the end, once we'd sold the house. There are a bunch of photos and negatives, some letters my dad wrote to her during the war, a few envelopes of paperwork, these bowls and a wooden spoon.

My mother's wooden spoon, Parkdale, 1994

It's the bowls and the spoon that remind me most of her. She wasn't the world's greatest cook, though my sister says that she was much better when she was healthier, before I was born. I mostly remember her using these for baking - the odd cake and a lot of pies, apple mostly, and rhubarb. I remember the ringing sound of her electric mixer grinding against the bottom of the bowls while she made batter.

She'd been gone for a decade when I took these out from under the sink in my Parkdale studio to photograph them as part of a still life project I did, in the final months we lived in the place. Pyrex had become fashionable and collectible, thanks mostly to Martha Stewart, and I had a simple and pleasing composition in mind, perhaps something I could put in my portfolio to scare up work at the lifestyle magazines.

My mother's Pyrex bowls, Parkdale, 1998

I shot them in clean, bright high key light, sitting on my favorite tabletop setting - three barn board planks I'd bought from an antique shop down the street and screwed together. I'd shot the spoon four years earlier on the same weathered wood; I still have it today, leaning against the basement wall, gathering dust behind the furnace.

Working with my girlfriend (now wife,) we set-dressed them simply with a big ripe lemon and some blood oranges in their wax paper wrapping. I love the way the light makes the Pyrex glass glow from within. I'll probably leave them to one of my daughters one day, but I'll probably put off deciding who gets them for as long as possible. I'd hate it if they got split up after all this time.

My mother's Pyrex bowls, Parkdale, 1998

1 comment:

  1. These are awesome. I loved the yellow pyrex bowls when I saw it on FB, but the wooden spoon on the wooden table is genius!