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decorating commercial bisquware - handmade? nope

updated fri 21 apr 00


vince pitelka on thu 20 apr 00

Feri is right. The only thing that matters here is that the artist is
comfortable with what they are doing, and that the buying public is INFORMED
of what the artist is doing, and can make up their own minds. In other
words, if the artist is buying commercially-made plates and decorating them,
then they had better inform the public that their artistry is in
hand-decorating commercially-made wares. That is the only honest thing to
do. When artists try to conceal such things, it always comes back to bite
them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with an artist decorating work
which has been custom made for them by someone else. There is nothing wrong
with the artist purchasing bisque plates to decorate. There is nothing
wrong with slip-casting, ram-pressing, jiggering, etc., as long as the
artist is completely honest with the public as to the origin of the piece
and the production processes involved in its creation. To do otherwise is
to lie to the buying public.

Regarding admittance to shows, these are my opinions. When a craftsperson
contracts out their work to have it made by someone else, they belong at
wholesale gift shows and trade shows, but certainly not at juried fine-craft
exhibitions. And when an open-stock factory-made plate is purchased and
hand-decorated, the resulting work has absolutely no business in any kind of
fine art or fine craft exhibition or sale.

If a painter wishes to embellish a work of fine craft, they could choose to
collaborate with a fine-craftsperson who makes the object, and then jointly
sign the finished work. Or else they could choose to work on canvas or
paper, where there is no long standing expectation that the canvas was made
or stretched by the artist.
- Vince

Vince Pitelka
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615/597-6801 ext. 111, fax 615/597-6803
Appalachian Center for Crafts
Tennessee Technological University
1560 Craft Center Drive, Smithville TN 37166