She’s an artist who lectured in and created architectural ceramics during her working career, but at 86 had moved on to less physically strenuous media, leaving her workshop unused but fully equipped. In the back of my mind I think I had expected to describe it to her and have her execute it, but as luck would have it, she was down with a cold when I arrived and stayed that way for two weeks, long enough for me to realize that if it was to happen, I would have to sculpt it myself. Fortunately, having grown up watching my mom at it, working in clay was not particularly a mystery to me. I did some architectural drawings: plan, section, and elevations to accommodate the tissue box, and wit
h more than a little help and guidance from her (and to her credit, given the shock and awe she experienced finding that the fruit of her loins would dream of doing something like that), materialized the form I had described to my pal
s in Dubai. Then came a moment in which the single idea blossomed into an on-going concept. We needed to have a mold made of the finished female figure, and I had interrogated a mold maker closely regarding any religious or moral scruples that might make it awkward for him to execute the job. Having assured me that there were none, I brought out the model at which he expressed surprise that it was in female form and not, as he had expected, male. For my part, I had never conceived of the dispenser to be any gender other than female, but on reflection realized both the obligation and opportunity that evenhandedness on this issue offered, and that opened up the field from a single gender and purpose concept to a cascade of like-minded artifacts. Inciden
tally, it was never my intention to fit erotic or pornographic art categories; I use genital forms in a straightforward and realistic manner because evolution has seen to it that we find them attractive and it seems perverse to ignore that.