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Evelyne Schoenmann

Qotw: Does Your Work Have A Feminine Or A Masculine Look?

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Ha! That's a hard nut to crack, isn't it?!

 

The background to this crazy question is: Somebody told me that one of my tripod pairs, the one in the 2013 Potters Council calendar, look like man and wife. I asked what he meant and he said: "well the legs on the left vessel are masculine legs, and the legs on the right vessel look feminine. :blink:

 

I never thought in terms of masculine and feminine looking at my tripods, but maybe YOU did?

 

In which category would you put your own pieces: rather a masculine shape? Or a feminine look?

 

Looking forward to your struggles ;)

 

Have a wonderful week everybody!

 

Evelyne

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I'd have to say my wheel thrown pottery is masculine since most are

copies of 17th and 18th century ceramic vessels. A time when men were

men and women were too! :)

 

Obviously, the native pottery copies are more feminine, since it was the role of

women to oversee the manufacture of ceramic vessels.

 

See ya,

Alabama

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I don't know it this is something you can judge yourself,  I would hope my work would be feminine since I'm a woman but it doesn't always work that way.  When I was a decorator men loved my style even my husbands friends make comments about it being just their style.   We don't have a man cave or rec room if they want to stand around and drink beer that's done in the garage.        Denice

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I create decorative slab raku tile wall hangings with a variety of images and textures pressed into the clay.

Men are attracted fish and birds in flight themes and tend to like the copper iridescent colors of raku glazes.

Women like whatever fits there home décor and gift giving needs. The leaf motif and cats popular.

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I like to think that much of what I do has a fluidity of form that is definitely feminine, erotic, voluptuous, full of S shaped curves and flares. However, I have always been interested in visible, tactile texture that tends to be rough, grainy, and very tactile. I think these surfaces are more masculine in surface.  I have in the past created surfaces using stenciled lace, and leaf/tree forms to create landscape. These surfaces were feminine. Who knows what next year will bring. Interesting question makes me reconsider things I am doing. Funny as it seems, many of the mugs made lately have been praised by the fairer sex, and their rough textured surfaces and patterns were quite masculine to me.

 

best,

Pres

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Alabama: would you say that men are doing masculine forms, and women are doing feminine ones?

 

Denice: I read in your comment that you too feels that women are doing more feminine forms? I really wonder if this is the case. Hmmmm...

 

Karenk: yes, I can understand that men are attracted to other designs and themes than women. Are you taking that into consideration when doing your pieces? Are you imagining the "buyer" when doing themes on your objects?

 

Pres: I am glad to read that you try to do feminine forms mostly! In my opinion, also women like rough surfaces in ceramics. The haptic feeling is crucial I think. I like to brush my hands over surfaces that are rough, lively and interesting. I am looking forward to (maybe) new forms and surfaces of your pieces in 2016.

 

Tyler: Would you say it is possible that you yourselve think your pieces masculine, but others, maybe a feminine buyer, thinks quite the opposite? Are you trying to "wedge" your masculin being into the clay and the form and the finished piece while working?

 

On fb I saw a big vase, made and carved by the ceramist Adam Field, (just the masculine type!) which looks so extremly feminine to me! What do you think? (see below)

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post-6433-0-20403400-1448012448_thumb.jpg

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Tyler: Would you say it is possible that you yourselve think your pieces masculine, but others, maybe a feminine buyer, thinks quite the opposite? Are you trying to "wedge" your masculin being into the clay and the form and the finished piece while working?

 

On fb I saw a big vase, made and carved by the ceramist Adam Field, (just the masculine type!) which looks so extremly feminine to me! What do you think? (see below)

 

I think it's complete possible that buyers thought a work feminine that I think is masculine for sure.  I do try to wedge myself into the work and my mindset at the time, but at the same time, I think the way art works means I don't really get final say.

 

Maybe a good example is Freddie Mercury's 1985 Rio de Janeiro performance of "I want to break free."  The music video imagined the singer as a lonely housewife wanting to break free from her life, but in South America, the song was about freedom from oppression.  When Mercury came to the stage in the drag outfit from the video, he was pelted with stones.  He had mocked their anthem of freedom.

 

Sometimes a cigar's just a cigar, but there's no telling how someone might interpret it.

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Never thought about it before! My hunch is that given the rough cut nature of my unglazed ripped & cracked heavy shapes, people might see those pieces as masculine. And my thin slabbed, ruffle-edged olive trays done in clear glazed cream colored clay with Dutch blue detail is probably viewed as feminine. Those categories are such strange and complex constructs, tho, that change over the centuries as our social paradigms shift, so I guess it's up to the viewer as to what they see. 

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When I had my studio tour, I had a conversation with a customer on this very subject. I had been looking at all the bright colors and flowers that I use for decoration and I thought, "Am I just making stuff my mother would like?" To me every single thing looked feminine at that point. The customer didn't know this, of course. She told me that the poppies were her husband's favorite! That was what he walked right over to and looked at the longest. He also liked my stuff with wildflowers and rough clay on the outside with bright color on the inside.

 

At that point I decided that I have no idea what men as a group like (as opposed to what women as a group like) and I am just going to keep making what *I* like, trusting that since I don't go for frilly pink my work will not have a narrow appeal!

 

On a final note: My husband specifically requested a wildflower planter as a going-away gift for his boss because that's *his* favorite of my designs.

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Tyler: the story of the Freddy Mercury performance is a great way to show that: how we see something doesn't have to be the way somebody else is seeing it. And so: you can wedge "yourselve" into the clay as long as you like, if somebody wants to see a feminine part in it, they will and they do. I just find it interesting how we do it unconsciously....

 

Lee: yes, it's, in the end, up to the viewer. But isn't it interesting to go through our work and look for femininity and masculinity? .... and think about the time we made that particular piece? Maybe the time "when" we did a piece is telling us a lot about the shape we decided on?!

 

Giselle: well, that is another possible answer to the topic question: maybe we make what we think X, W or Z would like? And I love to read that your hubby "ordered" a special planter for his boss. That is a big compliment from him to you IMO!

 

Evelyne

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Giselle: well, that is another possible answer to the topic question: maybe we make what we think X, W or Z would like? And I love to read that your hubby "ordered" a special planter for his boss. That is a big compliment from him to you IMO!

 

I wanted to show you: Originally I made the poppy design in very bright underglaze with clear over to show the creamy clay background. I tried it the last time I fired simply carved and with Spectrum's Stoned Denim over it. This is one of my favorite glazes, and I really like how it came out. I feel like it's subtler and perhaps would appeal more to a man, although I think either men or women would like the blue and brown combo just fine. 

 

I really love when I find I can rework a design in a simple and easy way to give it a completely different look. 

 

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Thank you so much for showing us "the difference between a female poppy vase and a male one". I like the top one, with the blue/brown combo, very much and I think it's more neutral, so to say. The brightly colored one is really female to my eyes. It's interesting how you can take a subject (poppy for instance) and play with the colors and glazes. Very good illustrative models Giselle.

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I'm fascinated with HOW MUCH just a change in glazing has changed the look of the design. I think it's bizarre to think that I could easily make two identical cups and carve a (close to) identical design, with these two different glaze treatments, and end up with something that appeals to a wildly different customer! I'm going to experiment more with some of my other designs. I wouldn't have tried it without the suggestion of a friend. It took someone outside to see this, which is why I'm always interested to hear feedback and ideas from others. Even if I don't use them they can spark off a different idea with great success. 

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I don't know.  

I think when i work with porcelain my desire is to make it light, elegant, thin, and probably feminine.

When I use stoneware I like thick, rugged, & creamy. I rotate out clay bodies for what I feel like working with.  Overall my work looks more feminine but my more masculine pieces seem to sell faster. I like to think I rotate because i am still in the discovery phase with clay. I am narrowing down what i like to make because I had to go through the phase where i try everything. 

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I sell more to women than men but I try to not have any slant either way to my work . I think women appreciate pottery more than men to some degree as a general rule.

I also know they like buying from women as well if you are hiring a sales person .

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My stuff is "M"asculine (maybe "P"sychotic) all the way. Mugs, jugs, flasks, 25lb bowls, 30inch platters, large sectionals.

 

Guy friends see my stuff and say "That's cool"; wife's friends say "why on earth would he make that". My wife doesn't care much for some of the pottery I make (Devil face jugs, marijuana leaf jugs, obscenities, and the macho scale stuff) funny thing is we don't drink, or do drugs. I am a shock and awe kind of guy. My motto is "can't make something nice make it BIG". But I'm not selling either. It should always be light, delicate, bright and cheery my wife thinks. Don't get me wrong I like and do buy some of those types of pieces. I don't get an emotional feeling from a well made piece like I hear other people talk about though.

 

Evelyne: Big fan of Adam's work (especially the onggi vessels) If an onggi workshop comes to town I'm there. His vase looks masculine to me. He has done a lot of floral patterns and they are feminine looking. I think they appeal to the female buyer more often.

 

Mark: Your stuff looks Masculine.Thousands and thousands of pots little embellishment same glazes, and very well priced last time I checked at Tempe. Men love a good deal but women love it even more.

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Giselle: I really like how enthusiastic you start new projects!

 

Rebekah: well, yes, that's interesting. Porcelain = feminine vs stoneware = masculin. It would be interesting for every one of us to look at our works and decide what it represents for us. Without wanting to influence you but I think you are the porcelain type. Beautiful work! Thank you for sharing the pictures.

 

Mark: I also think that women are more interested to buy pottery than men. What I think very interesting is that among the most famous potters are more men than women.... Hmmmmm.....

 

What?: hi there and welcome to the forum! I was reading your post twice and thought: "well, that is an interesting Newbie"! I was curious and went to your gallery but, alas, no pics there. Don't let us imagine all your "p"sychotic stuff (your words, not mine ;) ) and fill your gallery here with pictures! By the way:  I just did the THINK BIG e-course and one of the interview partners of Ben Carter was Meredith Host. She has a plate series (foldedpigs) with skulls and brains and zombies and such on it (decals). It is selling like candy!

 

Evelyne

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I don't know.  

I think when i work with porcelain my desire is to make it light, elegant, thin, and probably feminine.

When I use stoneware I like thick, rugged, & creamy. I rotate out clay bodies for what I feel like working with.  Overall my work looks more feminine but my more masculine pieces seem to sell faster. I like to think I rotate because i am still in the discovery phase with clay. I am narrowing down what i like to make because I had to go through the phase where i try everything. 

 

I look at what I've made in the past 18 months and I feel like I was all over the place; but I have learned a lot about what I like and what I want to make, coming closer and closer to the desired final result with each kiln load. 

 

I also find that my forms and decoration vary pretty widely depending on which clay I'm using. The darker clay tends to be more rugged pots with bright accents, and with the lighter clay I use more dainty forms with lighter colors. 

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