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subject: october cm

updated fri 19 oct 01

 

Snail Scott on mon 15 oct 01


Finally got my October CM today...

Kudos to Garth Clark for his terrific article
telling it 'like it is'! I see enough lumpy
brown pots and their philosophy. For those who
like that stuff and nothing else, you're entitled
to your tunnel-vision personal tastes, but I like
to see the full gamut of ceramic work, including
art that is able to hold its own within the larger
world of contemporary sculpture.

This assuredly does not mean a rejection of skill,
but an acknowledgement that skill alone does
not create art. Ceramics in particular is prone
to the attitude that technical accomplishment
alone is sufficient. (And it is, within the
small world that current ceramics has staked out
for its own.) One cannot simultaneously call
out for wider recognition while holding up the
parochial standards of one's particular specialty
as the only acceptable norm.

As for the 'Laika Model' featured in Clark's
article, I found it to be a marvelous work of
art independent of its medium, evidencing not
only a high level of skill in several crafts,
but a fascinating artistic sensibility. I hope
to see more work like it, and even more work
utterly unlike it but still opening up further
the gates of the 'clay ghetto'. It's a great big
wide world out there; let's join it!

-Snail

Lee Love on mon 15 oct 01


----- Original Message -----
From: "Snail Scott"


> Finally got my October CM today...
>
> Kudos to Garth Clark for his terrific article
> telling it 'like it is'! I see enough lumpy
> brown pots and their philosophy.

What do you mean by this comment? Sounds like art bigotry to me. :^)

>This assuredly does not mean a rejection of skill,
>but an acknowledgment that skill alone does
>not create art.

Neither does expression stand without skill, our else you'd find a
masterpiece in the bottom of your toilet every morning. ;^)

When Philip Rawson spoke in Minneapolis, the Walker was having a show of Jeff
Koons' work. Philip said that until recently, craft was an essential part
of all art. He said that Koons work at the Walker was a good example of
"Craftless Art."

>more work utterly unlike it but still opening up
>further the gates of the 'clay ghetto'. It's a great
>big wide world out there; let's join it!

Why do artist feel so threatened by functional work? There is no
need for a hostility between the two for an open mind. Please leave paradise
if you must. There is no anchor on your backside. ;^)

--
Lee Love
Mashiko JAPAN

"Really there is no East, no West,

Where then is the South and the North?

Illusion makes the world close in,

Enlightenment opens it on every side."

- Japanese Pilgrim's Verse.

Snail Scott on mon 15 oct 01


At 08:30 AM 10/15/01 -0700, Ann wrote:
...and I APPLAUD the making of clay sculpture where the main point of
>it is NOT the material used in making it...


I think for me, this is much the essence of it. The work
should always be made of appropriate materials, but the
nature of those materials should serve the work. Work
that is about clay, that derives its interest from its
clay-ness, will generally be of interest to fewer people
than work whose underpinnings are less medium-specific.

Clay has a long and worthy tradition, but works that
stand primarily in relation to those medium-specific
ideas are unlikely to excite the admiration of those
viewers who lack any interest in the medium of clay.

There is nothing whatsoever wrong with doing work which
takes its rightful place within that ongoing dialogue
of tradition and craft material. Garth Clarks's argument,
as I read it, is that contemporary fine art also has a
language and a set of values, but they do not coincide
entirely with those of ceramics. 'Fine art' is not a
value judgement on the 'fineness' of the art, but merely
the accepted term for a particular type of art, and a
piece of ceramic, which may be in every way a worthy
work of ceramic art, may still not fit the expectations
of 'fine art' as they stand. It is not a lesser work
because of that, but it is not necessarily 'fine art'.

Contemporary sculpture is currently very much about ideas.
The choice of materials is often derived from the
ability of a given material to express the artist's
intentions, rather than a given idea being expressed in
the artist's 'standard' choice of material. Does this
lead to a dearth of craftsmanship, when an artist switches
materials with every other project? Often, yes.

The question then becomes, what is the role of craftsmanship
in that work of art? For some ideas, a high level of craft,
in the manner of someone conversant with the material, may
not further the intentions of that particular work of art.
For other works, the need for craftsmanship may be integral
to the execution of the idea. But, it is the idea that
determines the need for craft, and the choice of medium.

Some artists are known for their specialization in a single
medium and for their ability to handle that medium. The
ones for whom the work of art comes first, and who execute
work which is best expressed in their chosen medium, but
in which the medium serves the work, are considered to be
within the 'fine art' world. Work which serves the medium
has another place.

There is a relatively new category of art, often referred
to as 'fine craft'. This is work which often straddles the
boundary between craft and fine art. 'Fine craft' seems
most often to be defined by being executed in materials
which have a tradition in the craft world, but in a manner
which extends the traditional confines of their respective
media. These works often approach being 'fine art', but
seldom actually cross the line. Why? I believe it is because
most of these works retain within themselves a sense of the
primacy of the material for its own sake.

This is certainly not a condemnation in any sense, merely
my observation of why these definitions persist in the face
of so many attempts to blur the distinctions between them.
In the continuum of art, from craft to fine art, there is
a very real difference in the attitude toward materials.

It seems to me that in a work of fine art which is made of
clay, the material should be an integral aspect of the
work, and even seem inevitable as a choice when seen by
the viewer. The artist may choose that material because
it's the only material they have, or they like the way it
squishes through their fingers, or a host of other reasons
which won't matter to the viewer except to the degree that
they affect the final work. The viewer shouldn't be left
with a sense of 'Wow, that's made of clay!' or 'Gee, that's
a good piece of ceramic art'. They should be left with a
sense of 'That's good art!'.

Art in which the nature and traditions of clay form the
underpinnings of the work, and which contribute to the
viewer's understanding of the piece, do have value, and
are not lesser works because of it. They just won't find
a ready place in the fine art scene.

If someone is going to infer from this discussion that I
'have a problem' with craft, or functional pottery, or
some such, forget it. I love finely crafted functional
objects, and admire the traditions that underlie their
creation. My house is filled with handmade pottery, as
well as forge-made ironwork and handspun textiles. I
seek out work by those who hold to the importance of
craftsmanship and the nature of their chosen materials.
But, it is not the only work I value.

Fine art is not a better thing or a worse thing than
craft. (I even suspect that the well-publicized higher
prices in fine art are well offset by the more reliable
income from production craft.)

It is, however, a different thing.

Vive la difference! -Snail

Marie Gibbons on mon 15 oct 01


Snail,
Yes!!! so nice to hear an opinion open to the non functional....Thanks!
"clay ghetto"... i love it! I gotta get to the bookstore and get my copy of
CM!
marie gibbons
www.oooladies.com

> I hope
> to see more work like it, and even more work
> utterly unlike it but still opening up further
> the gates of the 'clay ghetto'. It's a great big
> wide world out there; let's join it!
>
> -Snail
>

Marie Gibbons on mon 15 oct 01


In a message dated 10/15/01 6:20:31 AM Pacific Daylight Time, ikiru@KAMI.COM
writes:
> Why do artist feel so threatened by functional work? There is no
> need for a hostility between the two for an open mind. Please leave
> paradise
> if you must. There is no anchor on your backside. ;^)
>
On behalf of Snail, I don't think he was being hostil in any manner.
I don't personally think it is that artists feel threatened by functional
work... just that often there is alienation between the functional and the
non functional
artists / art. So rather than threat there is often a feeling of alienation,
judgement, square peg poking at a round hole kinda thing . . . being a
sculptor in clay is a weird place... functional clay doesn't always feel your
in their realm, sculpture often doesn't think clay is a serious sculpting
media... kinda like a man/woman without a country. I speak from the
situations I have experienced, I realize that it is not a blanket statement
to make... just one that happens occasionally, or more.

marie gibbons
www.oooladies.com

Ann Brink on mon 15 oct 01


I was the one who said "I shake my head in incomprehension" when seeing art
like "Laika Model". I can see that it was made with incredible skill- it
certainly is made with imagination and portrays the artist's personal vision
and/or message (all the foregoing are what I've always said constitute
"ART".....and I APPLAUD the making of clay sculpture where the main point of
it is NOT the material used in making it.

Having said that, I guess it boils down to a matter of personal taste.
There is a lot of non-functional art that I really admire, and that speaks
to me, or that satisfies some esthetic sensibility or other, who knows.
But there is some that I just don't GET. I can't help thinking "Why was all
this skill and time used to make this? That doesn't mean I want to limit
anyone making it. I don't have to like/understand everything that's out
there.

Ann Brink in CAlif




> Snail,
> Yes!!! so nice to hear an opinion open to the non functional....Thanks!
> "clay ghetto"... i love it! I gotta get to the bookstore and get my copy
of
> CM!
> marie gibbons
> www.oooladies.com
>
> > I hope
> > to see more work like it, and even more work
> > utterly unlike it but still opening up further
> > the gates of the 'clay ghetto'. It's a great big
> > wide world out there; let's join it!
> >
> > -Snail
> >
>
>
____________________________________________________________________________
__

Ned Ludd on mon 15 oct 01


Clark's article wasn't bad... until he blew it. Get a
clue, Garth...

Merriam Webster:
>Dilettante
>2 : a person having a superficial interest in an art
or a branch of knowledge : DABBLER

If Clark really expects us to believe that the great
William Morris, who brilliantly mastered more than one
field and who left an enduring legacy, was a
dilettante, then he is either shamefully misinformed
or, worse, a pseud taking a polemical cheap shot.

(Pseud: a partial and pretentious pontificator of the
trendy sort.)

fuming...

Ned
覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧
> From: "Snail Scott"

> > Kudos to Garth Clark for his terrific article
> > telling it 'like it is'! I see enough lumpy
> > brown pots and their philosophy.
覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧
--- Lee Love wrote:
> What do you mean by this comment? Sounds like art
> bigotry to me. :^)

> Why do artists feel so threatened by
> functional work?
> Lee Love
覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧


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Marie Gibbons on mon 15 oct 01


In a message dated 10/15/01 10:17:41 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
annsart@IMPULSE.NET writes:


> "ART".....and I APPLAUD the making of clay sculpture where the main point of
> it is NOT the material used in making it.
>

this is one of the places that I get confused about the tensions between non
function and functional ART in clay. Why should the use of clay as the
material be downplayed or minor to the work? One aspect of sculptural work
in clay is specifically the medium and how far one can push it... there are
many ways to control a medium, take it to new lengths. Should it only be
that the medium is important to the work if it is of one discipline?

marie gibbons
www.oooladies.com

Veronica Stevenson on mon 15 oct 01


I just had to let you guys know the experience I have had with CM. I had
sent an e-mail to the list in response to the discussion about this month's
edition, saying that I hadn't received mine yet, and then I received an
e-mail from CM saying that my copy must have been misplaced in the mail, and
they are re-sending my copy for me! How is THAT for awesome customer
service?
I am pleased as punch at what great service they have, and I just had to let
you all know about it!
Hats off to CM for great customer service, something that is so rare
nowadays! Totally made my day!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Veronica Stevenson
MudMamma Pottery & Moon Goddess Beauty Products
Bluevale, ON, Canada
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ann Brink on mon 15 oct 01


> In a message dated 10/15/01 10:17:41 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
> annsart@IMPULSE.NET writes:
>
>
> > "ART".....and I APPLAUD the making of clay sculpture where the main
point of
> > it is NOT the material used in making it.
> >
> and Marie Gibbons wrote:
> this is one of the places that I get confused about the tensions between
non
> function and functional ART in clay. Why should the use of clay as the
> material be downplayed or minor to the work? One aspect of sculptural
work
> in clay is specifically the medium and how far one can push it... there
are
> many ways to control a medium, take it to new lengths. Should it only be
> that the medium is important to the work if it is of one discipline?
>
> marie gibbons
> www.oooladies.com
>
> _
Interesting question. I think that if the main point of a work is about
what can be done with the clay, then of course the medium is uppermost. But
if the execution of an idea, or making a wonderful shape is the goal- then I
hope that is what is perceived before someone thinks- "Wow, she did that
with clay", or "Right- that could only be done with clay!" Just my opinion-
good to hear yours.

Ann Brink in CA
____________________________________________________________________________
_
> Send postings to clayart@lsv.ceramics.org
>
> You may look at the archives for the list or change your subscription
> settings from http://www.ceramics.org/clayart/
>
> Moderator of the list is Mel Jacobson who may be reached at
melpots@pclink.com.
>

Bobbruch1@AOL.COM on tue 16 oct 01


Snail Writes:

<<<<............................Kudos to Garth Clark for his terrific article
telling it 'like it is'! I see enough lumpy brown pots and their philosophy.
For those who like that stuff and nothing else, you're entitled to your
tunnel-vision personal tastes, but I like to see the full gamut of ceramic
work, including art that is able to hold its own within the larger world of
contemporary sculpture.

<<<<<acknowledgment that skill alone does not create art. Ceramics in particular
is prone to the attitude that technical accomplishment alone is sufficient.
(And it is, within the small world that current ceramics has staked out for
its own.) One cannot simultaneously call
out for wider recognition while holding up the parochial standards of one's
particular specialty as the only acceptable norm.

Just another take on the word "skill." I once went to a slide presentation
of a young artist who shows his work at the Garth Clark Gallery. This person
did not start out in clay or even 3D art, and the work was extremely
pictorial and quite complex. He had been told something to the effect that
the clients of GC did not feel that he was demonstrating a level of skill in
the craft of ceramics and that the should work on that area. On a certain
level, this work would appear to demonstrate a high level of technical
proficiency ......... but a trained eye could see that something was missing.

Bob Bruch

Rick Hugel on tue 16 oct 01


Let me pipe in on CM customer service. Same experiences as Veronica and
then I was sent the wrong issue. I offered to send it back, but they said
"Keep it" and then sent me the correct one. Fabulous customer service!

Rick

>I just had to let you guys know the experience I have had with CM. I had
>sent an e-mail to the list in response to the discussion about this month's
>edition, saying that I hadn't received mine yet, and then I received an
>e-mail from CM saying that my copy must have been misplaced in the mail, and
>they are re-sending my copy for me! How is THAT for awesome customer
>service?
>I am pleased as punch at what great service they have, and I just had to let
>you all know about it!
>Hats off to CM for great customer service, something that is so rare
>nowadays! Totally made my day!
>~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>Veronica Stevenson
>MudMamma Pottery & Moon Goddess Beauty Products
>Bluevale, ON, Canada
>~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>
>______________________________________________________________________________
>Send postings to clayart@lsv.ceramics.org
>
>You may look at the archives for the list or change your subscription
>settings from http://www.ceramics.org/clayart/
>
>Moderator of the list is Mel Jacobson who may be reached at
>melpots@pclink.com.

Lee Love on wed 17 oct 01


----- Original Message -----
From: "Marie Gibbons"

> >
> On behalf of Snail, I don't think he was being hostil in any manner.

So, what does this comment below mean?

Snail wrote:

> I see enough lumpy brown pots and their philosophy.

Does not sound "friendly" to me, but a challenge. If you are
speaking for Snail, please tell me what he meant by "lumpy brown pots and their
philosophy." Sounds like "limp" name calling to me. Maybe Garth inspires
that in people. I've read some very clueless things he has written about well
respected functional potters.

And as far as philosophy goes, while many modern artists are turning
their backs on beauty, within the realm of modern functional work, a philosophy
of beauty has been reborn. I'd be happy to discuss esthetics with Snail or
any other artist. Please come "philosophically" loaded for bear. Leave the
name calling in your studio.

> I don't personally think it is that artists feel threatened by functional
> work... just that often there is alienation between the functional and the
> non functional
> artists / art.

This split doesn't exist here in Japan. In the States, it seems to
be primarily promoted by artists, not functional potters. As I was told by a
student of Warren MacKenzie's (an art teacher at South High in Minneapolis),
one of the greatest things he learned from MacKenzie, (the anti-Garth Clark),
was an esthetic that is equally at home in describing and/or critiquing art, as
it is with with functional pottery.

>So rather than threat there is often a feeling of >alienation, judgement,
square peg poking at a round
> hole kinda thing . . .

Hey, isn't angst just a part of being "The Artist"? (8^) It kinda
goes with the beret and the 'unspeakable' symbol for a name. *Haha* But
seriously, I am married to an artist. Jean is studying hanga (woodblock
printing) with a local Mashiko hanga artist. She is studying an art that still
requires craftskills.

My most favorite work in clay is Jomon work. It was handbuilt, not made
on the wheel. There is no way to describe this work as being anything but art.
The Jomon people grasped natural beauty in such a way, that I suspect that they
still dwelled in the Garden of Eden. They could have, having lived in Japan
over 15,000 years ago.

--
Lee Love
Mashiko JAPAN

"Really there is no East, no West,

Where then is the South and the North?

Illusion makes the world close in,

Enlightenment opens it on every side."

- Japanese Pilgrim's Verse.

Snail Scott on thu 18 oct 01


At 08:51 PM 10/17/01 +0900, Lee wrote:
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Marie Gibbons"
>
>> >
>> On behalf of Snail, I don't think he was being hostil in any manner.
>
> So, what does this comment below mean?
>
>Snail wrote:
>
>> I see enough lumpy brown pots and their philosophy.
>
> Does not sound "friendly" to me, but a challenge.



Hostile? Indeed not! Challenging? definitely!

If my comment sounded dismissive, it was intended to
reply in kind to the folks who dismiss contemporary
sculpture as so much baling wire and posturing. Absurd?
Of course, on both counts.

The comment also reflects a statement of fact: I,
personally, in the course of reading the various
ceramics journals, see approximately as many items
of functional pottery created within the traditional
idiom as I care to. This type of work is well-covered
in Ceramics Monthly, as it deserves to be. However, I
often feel that such magazines do not really cover the
full breadth of current ceramic practice, preferring
to focus on those works which are solidly mainstream
and widely accepted among their readership. I can't
really condemn them for this practice; after all, a
magazine is a business, and would surely fail if it
ignored its presumed market.

I, however, am sated. I admire traditional pottery,
but I would gladly see a bit less of it in order to
glimpse more diverse works in their stead. I make no
claim that my attitude is universal, or even that it
represents a particularly large minority. It is merely
mine own, and I, personally, found it satisfying
to read Garth Clark's consideration of the place of
ceramics within the larger art world, and its
relationship to contemporary sculpture.

You traditionalists out there are well represented
and ably defended. I made 'lumpy brown pots' the
token whipping boy of my argument precisely because
of their deeply rooted popularity. I don't even
dislike them myself. They are an integral part of
the diversity of practice that I value so much, but
I'd like to see them in more varied company from
time to time.

-Snail

Snail Scott on thu 18 oct 01


At 08:51 PM 10/17/01 +0900, you wrote:
>...[Snail]...please tell me what he meant...



Since there seems to be some confusion
regarding pronouns, I should clarify that
I am, in fact, female.

-Snail

Alan D. Scott on thu 18 oct 01


Perhaps we need to add the appropriate symbols when needed. Maybe 0^ and 0+
???? :-)

Alan 0^ Scott
(not related as far as I know to Snail 0+ Scott) :-)

-----Original Message-----
From: Ceramic Arts Discussion List [mailto:CLAYART@LSV.CERAMICS.ORG]On
Behalf Of Snail Scott
Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2001 03:12
To: CLAYART@LSV.CERAMICS.ORG
Subject: Re: Subject: October CM


At 08:51 PM 10/17/01 +0900, you wrote:
>...[Snail]...please tell me what he meant...



Since there seems to be some confusion
regarding pronouns, I should clarify that
I am, in fact, female.

-Snail

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__
Send postings to clayart@lsv.ceramics.org

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