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pit firing and functionality

updated fri 27 nov 98


Joseph Herbert on thu 26 nov 98

Vince wrote:
<usage throughout the world, and contemporary pottery usage in many tribal and
Third-World cultures. But it is important to point out that there are
significant health concerns to be considered here. In cultures which use
unglazed, porous pottery for daily cooking and eating, children grow up
exposed to the bacteria which live in the porous clay, and develop strong

I think the last sentence should read, "children that survive grow up ..."

Otherwise I agree with Vince's point. The user that a studio potter faces in
the US is uneducated in the use and appreciation of highfired, non-Walmart
ceramics. These same people are Wildly uneducated about the use of pitfired
ceramics as functional vessels. To call a pot functional assumes the
potential user understands what that functionality is. For example, if a user
expects a pot to survive stovetop use, exposed to flame, then no stoneware
object is functional. The question of functionality assumes that the maker
and the user have an understanding of the limits of meaning of that word.

Joseph Herbert