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"clay -craft-sculpture"

updated thu 11 jun 98


Lorca Beebe on mon 8 jun 98

It is interesting to hear the response to these issues. Since they hit upon
many of the issues I feel are important I gotta put my two cents in...Maybe
I'll do it in parts so its not so long....
I have been very frustrated by the prevailaing attitude in terms of how clay
is perceived, from both sides, the fine arts and "mainstream" clay work, since
nothing can be done to dissuade the first group about clay issues, it falls on
us to evolve this medium. I am always ill at ease when any one professes to be
"self-taught", I admit to being arrogant and somewhat of a snob, it is not
however the distinction of degree or diploma, but rather exposure to "process"
not just in clay but in other fine art mediums and historical issues. As clay
artists we can be material or craft centered, ignoring other issues that are
important to artists as a whole. Most of the best artists will stress the
importance of craft, be it acting, painting, sculpting, weaving, throwing.
Craft is a bunch of stuff, it is knowledge of technical and material
processes, it is also life experience, and the continual effort to harness
emotional and psychological factors and chanel or edit them from your work,
the actor considers himself an instrument or vehicle for the performance of
the caracter, to many of us ceramisits are oblivious of how are pieces
actually "perform"...Denial is not a river in Egypt....
More to come,
20/20 Lorca

Paul Lewing on tue 9 jun 98

My wife makes pieces that are sometimes regarded as craft, sometimes
as sculpture. She's been rejected from both craft and sculpture shows
because the jurors thought her pieces didn't belong in their
definition. She's also had pieces moved in both directions by shows
that had both a craft and a sculpture category.

So we decided there needs to be a new word to describe this stuff. We
like "crapture". Anybody else want to take a crack at linguistic
innovation here?

I still say, if it's signed on the front it's art, and if it's signed
on the back (or the bottom) it's craft.

Paul Lewing, Seattle

Phyllis E. Tilton on wed 10 jun 98

Lorca: I find it is necessary for me to respond to you about "self taught". I
have a degree from but not in art. My father said he did not care what I took
in college but make sure it was something that I could support myself if the
need arose.My Mother, my sister and I each had that need arise and we had
professions-nurse, guidance counselor and me the pharmacist. My plans were to
go back to college and take ceramics-instead I got married, had a family and
along the road was able to get my hand in clay but not in an art school. I
have been fortunate to be able to take some courses at a cultual art center
from some fine teachers and be associated with some very creative people.

When I retired from pharmacy, I realized my dream and set up a studio in the
basement. Clay is a passion, an obsession, and fun!!. I want to do it all-
throw, hand build, sculpture. I belong to art organizations, I have a library
that is quite extensive because that is another way I have learned. Not a clue
as to how much I have invested but each time I pick up a book, I learn
something different. I still read an occasional novel but my recreational
reading is about clay. ( I have certainly enjoyed Steve Branfman's Potter's

How I would love to be able to have the space and the money to invest in all
the chemicals ,etc. so that I could make my own glazes. I do go to our local
clay store and they will weigh what I want. (Pharmaceutically speaking, I
have a little problem with the way glaze formulas work. Any time something is
added, the original percentages are changed and it does not add up to
100--I've seen all the explanations and have learned to live with it)

We got this computer last November and it has changed my life also. This list
is most informative-I print out what I am interested in and keep files--and
continue to learn. I get a real chuckle about some of the stuff that comes
thru. Ireally look forward to meeting you sometime-and a lot of the other
people that write in regularly. I am in Columbus, Ohio, and with NCECA coming
here in 99-won't it be a wonderful occasion!!!!!!

Thanks for all your comments, Lorca. You have so many interesting ideas and
thoughts-keep them coming-and help educate me!! Incidentally, I am 74 years
young now and loving life and don't have enough hours in my days.

Phyllis Tilton
Columbus, Ohio