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functional potters and competitions

updated sun 31 mar 96


John Sproule on wed 27 mar 96

This seems to be a running thread - I make functional pots but no one in
the "art" world seems to care, and Function doesn't win awards.

I have been dipping into The Potter's Companion again (the best title for
it I can imagine!), and came away refreshed in my committment to my work.

Some of my favourite quotations:

"Potters should have the courage to be potters." - Harry Davis

"When a potter not only knows his job but delights in it, when technique
and inspiration become identified, the glow of life will begin to appear
in his pots...This aspect of pottery is not always discernable at first
inspection;but provided it is in daily use it will gradually become
visible...This quality is the surest criterion of good pottery, whether
the art that made it is conscious or unconscious. If pottery which is
made for everyday uses of the home passes this test, it is art; and this
is the field of expression which properly belongs to the potter. If he
insists that because he is an artist he must make things for
contemplation only, and refuses to supply the needs of daily life, he
denies himself a main channel for his art, and denies himself the use of
its richest medium." - Michael Cardew

Maybe the reason non-functional stuff always wins is that competitions
simply don't allow the people who are the judges enough time,
weeks and possibly
years, to fully appreciate a really good mug, or bowl. It is the USE
which makes it art. Fifteen minutes and a quick glance at the signature
just doesn't cut it.


Gail Nichols on wed 27 mar 96

The following statement will no doubt infuriate some, but others might find
some strength in it:

"If you can't make pots, make art."

-----Phil Cornelius

Gail Nichols
Sydney, Australia