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functional theory

updated sun 30 jun 96


tinam on thu 20 jun 96

I have been reading clayart for months and while learning lots have not added
much. I want to thank Dan Wilson for creating this area of discussion in
such a wonderful way. I have seen this area furiously debated with of course
no winner.

I have challenged myself with this issue on a personal level as Patrick
Hilferty so intuitively indicated is the only true way the question can find

My own conclusion... we as potters, artists, or craftsman (whatever you
choose as your title or classification) create pieces that express what we
value. The determination of whether it is art or craft is irrelavate to
those of us who produce the work. We can label ourselves in whatever market
that we place ourselves in. A friend asked me once to advise him in how to
buy good pottery. I began to reply all of the aspects that I had been
thought of as being desirable to produce. I finally decided that he should
buy what pleased him. In truth, doesn't the question of function depend on
the "owner" I bought a Byron Temple bowl at a weekend workshop a few years
ago. It "functions as a decorative piece in my dining room (I paid too much
to consider it ever ending up in my dishwasher).

I admit that because I do not depend on pottery to pay my mortage, I may be a
little less driven to classify the pots that I make as art or craft. When
asked if I am an artist or craftsman I inverably reply " You decide"