List Moderator on sun 30 apr 00
So what's the point to made anyway?
Why are we, as potters, ceramic artists, makers of ceramic art and makers
of useable pottery so bent out of shape over the issue of slip casting, the
issue of defining what is handmade and what is not, or better put, what
fits into the parameters of one's own ego, so to speak, of what is handmade
or not. I think we are so wrapped up in this that we are failing to see
what really matters. And what really matters, after you discard all the
verbage, the diatribe, the endless banter, the endless self promotion, the
whining and compaining, is the work, and only the work. If you are honest
and clear with yourself and what you make, how you make it is not really
the issue. In fact, it is such a non-issue that I am again, both quite
humored and annoyed to see how many times and in how many different forms
this issue surfaces, disappears, and resurfaces again on this list.
What really matters when the dust clears,( no pottery pun intended) is the
work, and only the work,IMHO. What we don't see is that all these
techniques are skills, and thats all they are. They allow you to express
your own pottery vision in whatever appropriate ways you wish. In and of
themselves they are just ways of working. What we have done is ascribed
value to them. The nobility of throwing....the scourge or slip casting.....
the demon of RAM=A9 pressing, and the list goes on. God forbid we should =
talk about the need for good design, or talk about the methodology of
design, the design process for pottery. The reason is that we don't design.
In fact, I would posit that many potters haven't the faintest idea of what
it is to design their work. And that is precisely why the work is so weak.
But that's for another rant.
You know, there is a much bigger issue here than this one, and it really is
quite related to it, in fact, it is the =22mac daddy=22, so to speak of =
And it is precisely what I refer to as the potter's folly, the potter's
conundrum. More pointedly, it is the need to re-define each of our pottery
paradigms because without such re-evalualtion, our work tends to suffer
from boredom and lack of change. Some were so caught up in the nobility
of the unknown craftsman vis a vis the current Leach bashing issues that
when these icons fall from grace, our own little pottery world falls with
it. Politicians have led many a citizenry in the same manner, and in short,
when most of them sucum to some vice or another, as lemmings, we were set
up to fall also. And so it is for potters. The pottery paradigm, and I
speak in a general way here, is quite rigid for many. When these constructs
are challenged, we become exceedingly defensive and overly vocal, in some
It is necessary to always challenge old ideas and find new ways of doing,
thinking, feeling, and pushing our own pottery envelopes. What has
happended is that we have become far to complacent and comfortable, far too
at ease with our work. The work becomes weak, insipid, uninspiring, and
lacks content and feeling. And it can be thrown work, handbuilt work, slip
cast, pressed, or jiggered work. It doesn't matter.
What becomes evident is our own insecurity about ourselves and our work.
And further, I would humbly assert that this is really a part of a larger
issue for potters, and that is a financial one.
Frank Zappa mentions that =22the crux of the biscuit, is the apostrophe.=22 =
us, the crux of the pottery biscuit should be the work, not how it is made.
We have lost sight of the work in this endless and meaningless debate over
process/how it is made.
Jonathan Kaplan, president
Ceramic Design Group
PO Box 775112
Steamboat Springs CO 80477
voice and fax 970 879-9139
1280 13th Street Unit 13
Steamboat Springs CO 80487
(please use this address for all deliveries via UPS, comman carrier, FEd
Kathi LeSueur on wed 3 may 00
In a message dated 5/2/00 2:58:26 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
<< Pottery factories have been producing work in the US for many years and
is a fact. It seems to me that most potters get pissed off when they get
stuck next to said factory at some show. But don't you think this only
happens because the promoters are so money hungry. >>
The promoters I know, and I don't know lots of them, are very concerned about
the work exhibited not being produced by the exhibitor. But they have a
problem with proof. When I chaired the Standards Committtee at the Michigan
Guild I was always getting letters (often anonymously) accusing some artist
of selling work they didn't make. Not once was any proof offered. But I was
still expected to kick that artist out of the show. Often the accused artist
had already been investigated and had proved that his work was his own. I
would often be told that there must be some truth to the accusations since
people all over the country were saying the same thing. But that just told me
that rumors on the art fair circuit spread fast and furiously.
So, if you want the promoters to do something about an exhibitor who you
believe is buying work from a factory be prepared to offer proof.
Ann Arbor, MI