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Qotw: Is There A Genre Of Ceramics That You Hate?

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Yappy student wrote in the Question pool: Is there a genre of ceramics that you hate?  Hopefully no one will get offended. You'll notice I didn't give an opinion.

 

 

Wow! Do any of us admit to being a Ceramics bigot?  :wacko:   This is an interesting question for me, and I will have to admit that over the years. . . .I have been one. I think my first target for this form of bigotry was cast ceramics. My parent used to do it, and I thought that they had so much fun, and did some neat pieces, but I would never have thought of these things as art or sell-able. I got particularly peeved when doing Christmas craft shows when the cast Ceramic trees were all the rage, and my wheel thrown mugs, bowls, pitchers and teapots were so beige and blue and green in contrast to all the bright colors of the low fire cast ware. I came to realization though later on that some things could not be done efficiently with any other means other than . . . Yuch. . . casting! So my bigotry has become enlightened with the exposure to good cast ware and increased knowledge and understanding. That has not been the only target for my distaste over the years as I have aimed my dislike at Wood fired pottery and Raku, and at Earthenware pottery. All of these have come from a variety of different reasons, like a bad experience with raku, seeing overly heavy and poorly formed wood fired pottery, and having to throw a clay body that was high in talc with glazes from the 50s and 60s that just weren't in my taste range. Over the years, I have found that if I do not like something ceramic, maybe it is because I don't understand it, or have only seen the poorer examples of it.

 

In the long run my latest hatred is toward poorly crafted ceramic that is given excuse, because it is classified as art, and boy am I certain that I will hear about that one!

 

 

 

 

best,

Pres

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I guess my span of 50 years in clay has seen my tastes change or mature. 

"hate?" too strong a word. "Not fond of"  may fit better. Early on I was not fond of 50-ish campy sculpture like fish and mermaids. Not so now. I think there is a place for them. I was not fond of over the top victorian work but I have come to see some interesting things there. Renaissance majolica wasn't up there either, but now I appreciate it. I think (as I am packing to go to Italy) I look forward to visiting  the International Museum of Ceramic Art  (MICA) in Faenza where there are examples of just about anything in ceramics ever made. So I'll get to revisit my likes and dislikes and change them.

 

Marcia

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Excessive use of gold lustre and overglaze enamel. Unless carefully deployed, the former seems like an insecure attempt to load a piece with a valuable quality. The latter, it seems like poor planning. Properly executed, overglaze enamels give colours to high fired ware, only possible at low temps. But poorly executed, it shows a skill gap, I think, and a poor understanding of how to make the most of the very wide range of colour options available. Both have their place, but excessive use grinds my gears.

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Over the years, I have found that if I do not like something ceramic, maybe it is because I don't understand it, or have only seen the poorer examples of it.

 

In the long run my latest hatred is toward poorly crafted ceramic that is given excuse, because it is classified as art, and boy am I certain that I will hear about that one!

 

 

 

Several times in the past few years I have decided I "hated" a certain category of ceramics only to discover that I felt differently when I learned more about it or when I saw some better-made examples of it. 

 

My first "hate" was wood-fired pottery because all I had ever seen was heavy clunky pieces made with little or no finesse and glazed in shades of orange and brown .... not my favorite color combination unless it has some other more vibrant color paired with it to lift it up. But now I have seen many examples of wood firing and some I have absolutely loved, so that opinion has completely changed as I learned more. 

 

The one thing I really, really, truly hate, and I don't see this changing, is when people make UGLY THINGS. Now I understand when something is deliberately broken or ripped or made on a subject like death or decay that a person feels very strongly about and wishes to express in their art. I don't personally express myself in that way, and that kind of art is not my favorite, but there are some artists that do it very well, for example Beth Cavener. Her work is breathtakingly beautiful and meticulously made, even if the theme is often a bit dark for my taste. However it seems that some artists make ugly work in a push to be "edgy" and "unique" but it isn't even properly executed. I have no patience for that. 

 

I also very much dislike trendy ceramics based on pop culture and other trends. How hard is it to base something on an incredibly popular and well-liked TV show, video game, song, or movie, and create an item that proves to be a popular seller? Yeah, I could do that anytime I wanted, too. It really frustrates me and I won't have anything to do with it, not just because of licensing issues but because I want to express myself, not some graphic artist or screenwriter in Hollywood. 

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Excessive use of gold lustre and overglaze enamel. Unless carefully deployed, the former seems like an insecure attempt to load a piece with a valuable quality. The latter, it seems like poor planning. Properly executed, overglaze enamels give colours to high fired ware, only possible at low temps. But poorly executed, it shows a skill gap, I think, and a poor understanding of how to make the most of the very wide range of colour options available. Both have their place, but excessive use grinds my gears.

 

I share your opinion of gold lustre. I have seen people who cover large portions of their work with gold lustre and I feel it is ostentatious. This particularly grates on me when the work is not even well made, and they're adding gold to it. I won't name names, but I can think of a few. ;) 

 

I am so curious, what do you consider to be excessive use of overglaze enamels? No need to give specific examples, I'm just curious what kind of work you are discussing. Majolica, for example, or highly pigmented Japanese painted ceramics? 

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I don't really count majolica, since it's an historic solution to a long time problem. And the coloured Japanese porcelains are what I'd consider well-executed. Coppers and cobalts in underglaze, then yellows, oranges, reds over. That's again a historic solution to getting colours on high fired ware. But if the blue, green, black or brown enamel pens come out, there's something wrong with how the piece was planned.

 

There are always exceptions, but I see a trend of just firing a clear on white and drawing with enamel pens.

Edited by Tyler Miller
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Very interesting questions this week and very interesting answers so far.

 

While I understand that some people would cringe at "poorly" made ceramics, I think that my own work is far from perfect and will probably never be since we never stop learning so I don't think I am in a position where I can make such a judgement. We all need to be beginners at some point and I admire people who try and put themselves out there. 

 

There are heavily decorated styles that I am not particularly fond of. The Southern french (Provencal) style painted yellow with patterns of olives is too much for me. The very pictural Arita-yaki ware is also not my cup of tea but I still admire the dexterity of the craftsmen who made it.

 

I think it's like art. There are things I don't relate to but that doesn't give me permission to be judgmental towards it, and there are probably other people who feel a strong connection to it so...

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Yes, I admit to a HUGE dislike ... face jugs and pots.

They totally creep me out.

 

If you see historical ones you can feel the anger radiating off them.

Ugh and double ugh.

 

When I had to do a face pot for class, I chose the face of a watch.

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I can't say I really hate any ceramic genre its just that there are types that I prefer over others.

 

I like a good form with a fair curve and a smooth surface.

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after studying forms for years and working out which clay to use and which glaze works best with it, it is hard to see stuff on the cover of ceramic monthly with drippy glaze runs and poor design.  yes, i know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but i would rather behold some of it in the trash can.  to reward someone who does this kind of thing runs counter to my sense of what is admirable and worthy of respect.  

 

maybe that is because i am from a very old generation.

 

edit to add.   the exact opposite of the above is the quiet, sturdy beauty of the pots at eshelman pottery.com.  which i found while looking at ceramic arts daily and their free offerings to all of us.  you do know about that, don't you?

Edited by oldlady
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It's hard for me to hate anything ceramic. There are certain things that rub me the wrong way, whether it's a piece of ceramics or anything else. I don't like things that are frou frou. I don't like things that are labeled "functional" even though it's obvious they would be uncomfortable to use, or that the maker would be offended if you tried. I don't like work that displays an ego that is greater than the skill level.

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Yes, I admit to a HUGE dislike ... face jugs and pots.

They totally creep me out.

 

If you see historical ones you can feel the anger radiating off them.

Ugh and double ugh.

 

When I had to do a face pot for class, I chose the face of a watch.

 

 

after studying forms for years and working out which clay to use and which glaze works best with it, it is hard to see stuff on the cover of ceramic monthly with drippy glaze runs and poor design.  yes, i know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but i would rather behold some of it in the trash can.  to reward someone who does this kind of thing runs counter to my sense of what is admirable and worthy of respect.  

 

maybe that is because i am from a very old generation.

 

edit to add.   the exact opposite of the above is the quiet, sturdy beauty of the pots at eshelman pottery.com.  which i found while looking at ceramic arts daily and their free offerings to all of us.  you do know about that, don't you?

 

 

It's hard for me to hate anything ceramic. There are certain things that rub me the wrong way, whether it's a piece of ceramics or anything else. I don't like things that are frou frou. I don't like things that are labeled "functional" even though it's obvious they would be uncomfortable to use, or that the maker would be offended if you tried. I don't like work that displays an ego that is greater than the skill level.

 

 

Elvis statues. 

 

 

Ran out of likes, but totally agree with all the above, especially faces.

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I'm with Chris and Chilly on the face pots, I'm not sure when they actually first appeared.  I know there were a lot of them around in my youth when stoned hippies were making them.   Denice

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Genre?  Do those places, where you can "Paint" pre-made wares count?  Nothing against the people, who go to them.  I just find it irritating that I'll have people, who know I am an Artist/ Art Teacher say, "Hey, I made a mug at his place!"  And I'll follow up with, "Awesome!  Was it wheel, thrown, hand built, what clay did you use?"  Then they say, "I don't know, they had them ready for us, and we just picked the colors, and brushed them on"...

 

In regards to other genres, not a big fan of overly primitive wares.  I can appreciate them, but not my taste.  Plus, I've had numerous times, where I've had students come across something primitive, and ask, "Can I do something like that?"  Because obviously, they think they won't have to try at all.  I tell them "No, you're not nearly famous enough to get away with doing something like that."  I tell them the same thing, when they want to replicate a Pollock, or Rothko in a Painting class.

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I'm with Chris and Chilly on the face pots, I'm not sure when they actually first appeared.  I know there were a lot of them around in my youth when stoned hippies were making them.   Denice

They were originally made by slaves in North and South Carolina, but became popular again in the 70s hippy culture.

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i understand that the horrible, scary look on the face jugs was to keep children and others out of whatever was stored in them.  poison or delectables that the owner wanted to keep.

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Very interesting questions this week and very interesting answers so far.

 

While I understand that some people would cringe at "poorly" made ceramics, I think that my own work is far from perfect and will probably never be since we never stop learning so I don't think I am in a position where I can make such a judgement. We all need to be beginners at some point and I admire people who try and put themselves out there.

 

 

I want to be clear that in my dislike of "ugly work" I refer to deliberately ugly or damaged work, or work that is made by someone with years of experience and yet it is still not properly made or attractive in any way. Beginner work I find endearing especially as often you can see a little spark of potential that is exciting. I have plenty of my own beginner work surrounding me to help me remember where I was in the beginning and how far I still have to go.

 

I have found items online, some made by an art teacher, that were literally so hideous, so poorly made, that I had a physical reaction to them of pain and revulsion. They were not beginner ceramics. It especially bothered me that the art teacher was actually spreading their "wisdom" to others.

Edited by GiselleNo5

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I don't think there's a style of pottery that I don't think has a place in the world somewhere. That place may or may not be in MY house, however. I've been sifting through my brain, trying to think of an overall style I don't like as a whole category, and I can't, particularly. There always seems to be someone's work who is an exception. I even have some good friends that own a paint-your-own place, and I went with some family one afternoon, and decorated a travel mug. It felt weird to only be working on one piece, but it was good for entertainment, which I think is mostly the purpose of those places.

 

I find overall, I dislike bad proportions, uncomfortable handles and a lack of attention to detail in finishing. If something is left crude or unfinished, I think it needs to be done as a conscious decision, not just as an accident or because the artist was careless or lazy. (Edit: think slab plates with rough edges and the canvas texture still left on.)

 

And I think as a cousin to those face jugs, if one more person asks me if I can make them one of those yarn bowls where it's a face, and the yarn gets threaded out the nostril, I'm gonna scream! Grossgrossgrossgrossgross!!

Edited by Callie Beller Diesel
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>And I think as a cousin to those face jugs, if one more person asks me if I can make them one of those yarn bowls where it's a face, >and the yarn gets threaded out the nostril, I'm gonna scream! Grossgrossgrossgrossgross!!

 

Some potter used to make an egg separator like that ... the whites dripped out the nose. Ick

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Genre?  Do those places, where you can "Paint" pre-made wares count?  Nothing against the people, who go to them.  I just find it irritating that I'll have people, who know I am an Artist/ Art Teacher say, "Hey, I made a mug at his place!"  And I'll follow up with, "Awesome!  Was it wheel, thrown, hand built, what clay did you use?"  Then they say, "I don't know, they had them ready for us, and we just picked the colors, and brushed them on"...

 

 

 

I worked for a little while at a Paint your own ceramics studio. And seeing how our customers were amazed and in awe to see the dramatic change in colours when picking their pieces up always made my heart sing. I found it beautiful that they could have a glimpse at what decorating ceramics was without the tough training the is necessary to actually make a piece from scratch :)

I thought that maybe some of the kids who went there would fall in love and become potters in the future, who knows... ^^

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For me its not hate its not like.

The worst is pots usually mugs or tiles or whatever that are decorated with slogans or designs that look like a black sharpie did that.It could be cat drawing or dots or cute stuff or sayings whatever on a white background that you could do on a china import pot with a sharpie or magic marker -there are whole busineses pumping out this stuff.Makes my skin crawl.

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For me its not hate its not like.

The worst is pots usually mugs or tiles or whatever that are decorated with slogans or designs that look like a black sharpie did that.It could be cat drawing or dots or cute stuff or sayings whatever on a white background that you could do on a china import pot with a sharpie or magic marker -there are whole busineses pumping out this stuff.Makes my skin crawl.

 

You just described 95% of what comes up on Etsy when you search "handmade mug". It is SO upsetting especially since there are so many absolutely drop dead gorgeous TRULY HANDMADE mugs on that site. :( 

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To me,  its a shape and glaze combo. If I see a wide base mug with a flared lip, (its hard to describe but I call it the beginner potters mug shape) poorly made handle (often too round) with commercial glaze. It especially gets me when I see their work selling.

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Lots of likes and dislikes of mugs here, I have a mug that I use a lot with a narrow bottom and a flared lip from a 2/3 up shoulder. Nice proportions, but sometimes I think the base is too small. Then there is a reject of mine that I use quite a bit. Reject because of a small bottom crack, used a lot because of nice weight, wide base, 2/3 up flare, from a narrow shoulder holds lots of coffee, and keeps it hot for a long time. The handle is hand pulled and does not rise like an ear or stick out obtrusively like one. The curve of the handle droops more to the base, and this allows grasping to be more from above, but then I most often pick up mugs from above. The glaze on this mug is layered and breaks nicely over the textures. 

So for me, the proportions usually work whether narrow base, wide base, narrow neck or wide neck. The lip of the pot has to kiss my lips, and the same time, I prefer to get 3 fingers in the handle, I like to have details that I notice as I drink my coffee, and I like the mug to be holdable with both hands on cool mornings to warm my hands and ease the arthritis. So much for aesthetics.

 

best,

Pres

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