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coveting the beautiful. was the best pot ever

updated sat 30 jul 05

 

Steve Irvine on wed 27 jul 05


It=92s puzzling that while someone might pick up and carry around an utterly=
priceless and
irreplaceable child without giving it a second thought, the same person will=
break into a cold
sweat when handed a $200 tea bowl. We=92ve all carried around, even tossed i=
n the air, wrestled
with and tickled things that are much, much more valuable than any pot we wi=
ll ever encounter.
It=92s too bad we can=92t have the same kind of comfortable, casual ease wit=
h inanimate objects.

When I was in my late teens I did volunteer work in a drop-in centre/coffee =
house in downtown
Hamilton, Ont. One night a young woman came in and after talking for awhile =
she mentioned that
her family had a pottery collection and that I should come by to have a look=
at it. A couple of
weeks later I got around to visiting her house. I didn=92t know what to expe=
ct, maybe some Royal
Doulton in a china cabinet or something, but when I stepped in the front doo=
r I was struck
speechless by what I saw.

In the early 1900s her family started collecting pottery. The taste for the =
time was for Ming
Dynasty ware, but the established collectors steered her family clear of tha=
t (they didn=92t want the
additional competition) and convinced them to collect a much less known and =
under appreciated
era, the Song Dynasty. Their house was brimming full, from floor to ceiling =
with Song Dynasty
porcelain and stoneware!

What was really wonderful about the collection was that the pieces were in e=
veryday use. The
carved porcelain vases had sprays of fresh forsythia flowers blooming in the=
m, low wide celadon
bowls had narcissus bulbs with new sprouts starting, and hares fur stoneware=
tea bowls had
homemade candies in them. Being in that room was one of my best experiences =
as a potter. Those
pots had been witness to several generations of the family=92s joys and sorr=
ows, and had been there
in the midst of countless conversations. Those thousand year old pots had vi=
tality - life - because
they were part of the family=92s life.

Steve
http://www.steveirvine.com

David Gallagher on wed 27 jul 05


Why is this true? I'm not doubting that it is for most people, I just don't get it. The beautiful, unordinary things are put away instead of being used. Are we all that afraid of losing these things? Or have we turned these into status symbols. What's the point of having these things if we don't use them? Just to point out to others that we have them? Does any one around pick out the most beautiful (be it looks, or comfort or both) all the time to use. Why do we deprive ourselves from using the best things we have available on a daily basis? (maybe


Elizabeth Priddy wrote:
"The flashy racers get
set on shelves. They are good too, but not
in the same way at all. They cross a line into
the "things we don't use for fear of breaking it" and
I don't have room in my life for pots like that."

Elizabeth Priddy wrote:I think this is the main point of good
pottery design.

Form MUST follow function. These
things I see, teapots that do not
pour, mugs too unweildly but for
mammoth hands, decorative glazes
on lips that are made to touch mine...

The best thing I ever made, along this route
is a hurricane bowl. Absolutely
un-tipable, looks like a rice bowl with
shallow walls and an interior base of
about four inches. Like a soup plate, but with
better design. I only made four of them
just like that.

my husband would fight you for them.

But they are quiet and unassuming. A really
food safe glaze, plain unless there is good
food in it. You would never know they are the
best bowls ever.

Good pots are like that. The flashy racers get
set on shelves. They are good too, but not
in the same way at all. They cross a line into
the "things we don't use for fear of breaking it" and
I don't have room in my life for pots like that.

Actually, I have about ten fish boxes full of pots
like that. I have a very broad collection of pottery
from NC, about 250 pieces. I keep them out of
harm and dust's way, packed carefully. The pots
on top of my kitchen cabinets are all mine except for
about ten. They are archival, the one I kept out of that
moment of my life's work.

But those green hurricane bowls are in the
dishwasher, and the microwave, and the fridge,
and on our laps in the living room...the best pots ever.

E

Jim Champion wrote:
The posting about the $40 mug has me thinking a lot about
this subject. When it comes to a well balance, functional
item use for partaking of a particular substance like a
COFFEE MUG can you make a good one and not be a coffee drinker?
Or is the experience of consuming coffee as important as knowing
that the opening needs to be within a certain size to make
drinking comfortable or that the contour of the lip can make
drinking easier and more enjoyable. I donít drink coffee and
my favorite mug I use for drinking milk (accompanied by peanut
butter & villain wafers) Would this be my favorite mug if I
drank coffee or would it be a different one? I know I find
myself picking the glass , bowel , plate or cup by what
I plan on consuming. Ice tea in this tumbler,
Captain Crunch in this bowel,...
______________________________________________________________________________


Elizabeth Priddy

252-504-2622
1273 Hwy 101
Beaufort, NC 28516
http://www.elizabethpriddy.com

*If you are an extra-sensitive
or easily-offended type:
Remember that what I say is obviously
just my opinion based on my experiences
and that I, like most people, don't go around
intending to step on toes and make folks cry.
Take it with a grain of salt.
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Elizabeth Priddy on wed 27 jul 05


Mine are stored away because they are for my son.
They are a collection of NC work, not even necessarily
things that I like. They have value.

But I actually love the ordinary bowls.
The ones that I make just for me and mine.

E

David Gallagher wrote:
Why is this true? I'm not doubting that it is for most people, I just don't get it. The beautiful, unordinary things are put away instead of being used. Are we all that afraid of losing these things? Or have we turned these into status symbols. What's the point of having these things if we don't use them? Just to point out to others that we have them? Does any one around pick out the most beautiful (be it looks, or comfort or both) all the time to use. Why do we deprive ourselves from using the best things we have available on a daily basis? (maybe


Elizabeth Priddy
wrote:
"The flashy racers get
set on shelves. They are good too, but not
in the same way at all. They cross a line into
the "things we don't use for fear of breaking it" and
I don't have room in my life for pots like that."



Elizabeth Priddy

252-504-2622
1273 Hwy 101
Beaufort, NC 28516
http://www.elizabethpriddy.com

*If you are an extra-sensitive
or easily-offended type:
Remember that what I say is obviously
just my opinion based on my experiences
and that I, like most people, don't go around
intending to step on toes and make folks cry.
Take it with a grain of salt.
__________________________________________________
Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
http://mail.yahoo.com

David Gallagher on wed 27 jul 05


E,
But you said:
"The flashy racers get
set on shelves. They are good too, but not
in the same way at all. They cross a line into
the "things we don't use for fear of breaking it" and
I don't have room in my life for pots like that."

My question was why not? Why the fear of breaking things? Why not use, enjoy, and appreciate? This fear of handling beauty is stifling (and so are my poor spelling skills, but that is another topic), it seperates us from it. Beauty needs to be taken for a roll in the mud just like everything else, you can always wash it off.

"Mine are stored away because they are for my son.
They are a collection of NC work, not even necessarily
things that I like. They have value."

Huh? This is inspiring some awsome mental pictures. are you collecting pots like beanie babies as an investment for your son? Maybe we could all make fancy packages for our work and seal them in plastic and tell people they are worth more if you dont open them? Or do you mean historical value?

Elizabeth Priddy wrote:
Mine are stored away because they are for my son.
They are a collection of NC work, not even necessarily
things that I like. They have value.

But I actually love the ordinary bowls.
The ones that I make just for me and mine.

E

David Gallagher wrote:
Why is this true? I'm not doubting that it is for most people, I just don't get it. The beautiful, unordinary things are put away instead of being used. Are we all that afraid of losing these things? Or have we turned these into status symbols. What's the point of having these things if we don't use them? Just to point out to others that we have them? Does any one around pick out the most beautiful (be it looks, or comfort or both) all the time to use. Why do we deprive ourselves from using the best things we have available on a daily basis? (maybe


Elizabeth Priddy
wrote:
"The flashy racers get
set on shelves. They are good too, but not
in the same way at all. They cross a line into
the "things we don't use for fear of breaking it" and
I don't have room in my life for pots like that."



Elizabeth Priddy

252-504-2622
1273 Hwy 101
Beaufort, NC 28516
http://www.elizabethpriddy.com

*If you are an extra-sensitive
or easily-offended type:
Remember that what I say is obviously
just my opinion based on my experiences
and that I, like most people, don't go around
intending to step on toes and make folks cry.
Take it with a grain of salt.
__________________________________________________
Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
http://mail.yahoo.com

______________________________________________________________________________
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.

__________________________________________________
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Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
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katetiler on wed 27 jul 05


David, I think you have to be in a place where you can accept the loss
of the most beautiful, significant pots because you are using them as
a daily part of your life. Only when you can accept that there will
come a day when you drop it off the draining board and it doesn't
bounce, are you brave enough to use it every day.

My favourite mug was accidently broken last November by my partner -
it was far worse for him than was for me, he knew I'd been using it
and loving it for over 15 years... I was OK about losing it, because I
had made a concious decision to use my favourite things everyday when
I work at events, so that I could hold it and show the flame pattern
from the wood firing to the visiting public, as a part of my
demonstration of medieval potters.

To use insignificant things that don't have a meaning and a relevance
would be to diminish my daily experience, and the experiences of the
people I speak to would also be lessened I think.

Kate


The beautiful, unordinary things are put away instead of being used.
Are we all that afraid of losing these things? Or have we turned these
into status symbols. What's the point of having these things if we
don't use them?

Elizabeth Priddy on wed 27 jul 05


I keep the prettiest, most beautiful
work out and use it, it is in the hutch
in my kitchen.

The work that is put away is of historical value.
I have pieces by Sid Luck and Nell Cole Graves
and many other potters of Seagrove and around
NC. The idea of hermetically sealing them is
just silly, now, as the fish boxes are quite sturdy.

I don't like to keep others' work in my sight, actually.
I find it creeps into my own and I am not about that.

I worked for a lawyer/potter at one time and he, on
more than three occassions came in with a piece he
bought from someone else and said here, make this today.
I did it because I really wanted to work as a potter instead
of a food service worker when I was in college. He knew
exactly how much he needed to change each for legality.

I eventually quit. He made me sick. And I learned to
copy anything, exactly. And with a remarkable visual
memory, I don't like to read CM or other magazines and
even restrict my viewing of books. A personal quirk of mine.

I can tell you exactly what is in each of the boxes. And
draw you a sketch of each piece. I handled them and kept
them out for years. I tired of looking at them. I moved on.

I am not afraid of using beautiful things. I keep them out.
But the things I think are precious, you might not understand.

I primarily meant that if it can break, a household with a
one year old who can walk and pull anything off of any
height of shelf anywhere is not the place for things you want
to keep in one piece.

He "made" five little pots today. Meaning that he took tiny
little pinch pots I made and mangled, I mean manipulated,
their texture til he threw them on the floor in a fit of artistic
pique and decared them done, adding an element
of dynamism missing in much traditional form. I made him
a little chop and will put his little pots out for sale. He needs
to start earning his keep.

E

David Gallagher wrote:
E,
...
"Mine are stored away because they are for my son.
They are a collection of NC work, not even necessarily
things that I like. They have value."

Huh? This is inspiring some awsome mental pictures. are you collecting pots like beanie babies as an investment for your son? Maybe we could all make fancy packages for our work and seal them in plastic and tell people they are worth more if you dont open them? Or do you mean historical value?

Elizabeth Priddy
wrote:


Elizabeth Priddy

252-504-2622
1273 Hwy 101
Beaufort, NC 28516
http://www.elizabethpriddy.com

*If you are an extra-sensitive
or easily-offended type:
Remember that what I say is obviously
just my opinion based on my experiences
and that I, like most people, don't go around
intending to step on toes and make folks cry.
Take it with a grain of salt.

---------------------------------
Start your day with Yahoo! - make it your home page

Hank Murrow on thu 28 jul 05


On Jul 27, 2005, at 8:00 PM, Steve Irvine wrote:

> Their house was brimming full, from floor to ceiling with Song Dynasty
> porcelain and stoneware!
>
> What was really wonderful about the collection was that the pieces
> were in everyday use. The
> carved porcelain vases had sprays of fresh forsythia flowers blooming
> in them, low wide celadon bowls had narcissus bulbs with new sprouts
> starting, and hares fur stoneware tea bowls had homemade candies in
> them. Being in that room was one of my best experiences as a potter.

Dear Steve;

Your wonderful experience(and the lessons drawn from it) reminds me of
handling the 120 or so pots that Hamada Shoji and his son, Shinsaku,
made during their workshop in '63. Just quietly sitting there, waiting
to be 'eaten', as he suggested we do.

Cheers, Hank
www.murrow.biz/hank

Marcia Selsor on thu 28 jul 05


I was blessed by showing up at St. Ives after a 24 hour delay at sea
due to storms. Janet leach was working in her studio on Sunday when
we showed up. She had been ill and was catching up. She hosted us to
tea and a private display of her collection of B. Leach's pots he had
made for her over the years. One piece was a ceramic foot stool.
Precious moment!
Marcia Selsor
On Jul 28, 2005, at 7:15 AM, Hank Murrow wrote:

> On Jul 27, 2005, at 8:00 PM, Steve Irvine wrote:
>
>
>> Their house was brimming full, from floor to ceiling with Song
>> Dynasty
>> porcelain and stoneware!
>>
>> What was really wonderful about the collection was that the pieces
>> were in everyday use. The
>> carved porcelain vases had sprays of fresh forsythia flowers blooming
>> in them, low wide celadon bowls had narcissus bulbs with new sprouts
>> starting, and hares fur stoneware tea bowls had homemade candies in
>> them. Being in that room was one of my best experiences as a potter.
>>
>
> Dear Steve;
>
> Your wonderful experience(and the lessons drawn from it) reminds me of
> handling the 120 or so pots that Hamada Shoji and his son, Shinsaku,
> made during their workshop in '63. Just quietly sitting there, waiting
> to be 'eaten', as he suggested we do.
>
> Cheers, Hank
> www.murrow.biz/hank

Lee Love on fri 29 jul 05


On Jul 27, 2005, at 8:00 PM, Steve Irvine wrote:

>
> > Their house was brimming full, from floor to ceiling with Song Dynasty
> > porcelain and stoneware!
>
Hank Murrow wrote:

> Your wonderful experience(and the lessons drawn from it) reminds me of
> handling the 120 or so pots that Hamada Shoji and his son, Shinsaku,
> made during their workshop in '63. Just quietly sitting there, waiting
> to be 'eaten', as he suggested we do.

Hank and Steve,

My single most memorable day of my apprenticeship, was when we
unpacked my teacher's entire collection of Korean Yi pottery. We were
looking for some pieces he wanted photographed (I am not sure what
for. Deshis are only told things, "On a need to know basis.") I was
always surprised, thinking I didn't understand what was going on because
of my lack of Japanese, only to find out after asking a Japanese deshi
was was going on, that they didn't know either.

I am guessing he has one of the best private collections
in Japan, if not in the entire world. The Japanese apprentices acted
like proper apprentices and simply unpacked the work for Sensei to
see. I kept stopping to hold and look at the pots I was pulling out
of the wooden boxes. I received many dirty looks from my fellow
deshis because I was going too slow. But Sensei didn't say anything,
so I kept "taking the pots in." I don't know if the other deshis knew
exactly what we were handling. Some of the bowls and pilgrim flasks
with lotuses and fish on them, I had only seen before behind glass at
museums. Before my apprenticeship, Korean Yi was my favorite
pottery. After my apprenticeship, my appreciation only grew. When I
started making my own work again after graduation, I started stamping
my pots with the character for Yi (It is pronounced Lee in Korean.)

--
Lee Love
in Mashiko, Japan http://mashiko.org
http://seisokuro.blogspot.com/ My Photo Logs

"We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us that they may see,
it may be, their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer,
perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our quiet."

-- W.B. Yeats

Steve Irvine on fri 29 jul 05


Lee,

Another example of Clayart synchronicity... I spent about an hour yesterday going through an old
catalogue of Yi Dynasty pottery. It was from an exhibition that had been at the Royal Ontario
Museum in '68. Do you suppose that it was the mishima type decoration on the early Punch ong Yi
Dynasty pottery that held the interest for your teacher, or was it a more general appreciation of
the wares? Any particular trends in the collection that you can remember?

Steve
http://www.steveirvine.com

On Fri, 29 Jul 2005 14:17:33 +0900, Lee Love wrote:
> My single most memorable day of my apprenticeship, was when we
>unpacked my teacher's entire collection of Korean Yi pottery.
...
>Some of the bowls and pilgrim flasks
>with lotuses and fish on them, I had only seen before behind glass at
>museums. Before my apprenticeship, Korean Yi was my favorite
>pottery. After my apprenticeship, my appreciation only grew. When I
>started making my own work again after graduation, I started stamping
>my pots with the character for Yi (It is pronounced Lee in Korean.)