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updated sun 13 dec 09


mel jacobson on sat 12 dec 09

it is very hard to define handwork when you
cross cultures.

how we define handmade here in america is sure not
what you would find in the orient, or, within other cultures.

very few master potters make there own pots
in japan. they supervise, glaze, make sure the
kilns are working well, but a great deal of their time
is devoted to sales and image. they have to meet
people, customers, and make massive sales to keep the
system working.

when i was at hamada's pottery in the 70's it was a staff of 16.
i know it was the same in other famous potteries.

lee has explained shimaoka's process.

i made many pots with mr. uchida's stamp on the bottom.
hundreds. out the door they went, sold. who knew?

we could go on and on about this, but there is no
cultural comparison.
we do and think what we do and think, others do what they do.

artists in america are basically a very independent group of people.
in fact, our independence is our gift. we should rally around it,
glorify in it. we sure are not lockstep. in art, to be different has
become a cult. no matter the quality, just be many
ways it is the death of `art`. no standards of excellence. we have
standards in craft, and often standards of extreme excellence.
we must keep them and build on them. and, i truly believe they are not
that difficult to define. it is sort'a right is right. and most know the

you will be seeing a rebellion in art very soon. a return to craftsmanship
and standards. it will always does. i hope we have come to the
end of the world's longest running art system. post modernism. when
we re/emerge it will be all different. having the economy in the tank is
causing the major institutions to re/think, re/calculate. something better
must be given the public. they are sick and tired of the minimal pile
of dirt, or six garbage cans in a row/ silliness. the curators cannot
spin it too much longer...we know.

we hear the list of dopey grants aired on radio and tv. the jokes
being made...and, in may cases, they are deserved. being only different
can be sick. and then adding political blackmail to a grant is beyond
imagination. we sure do not want to kill that goose that lays `golden
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