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Why Pottery? | March 5, 2012


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#21 Matt Oz

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 06:36 PM

I pot, therefore I am.

#22 Frederik-W

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 07:13 AM

Much of ceramics in the West today are machine made, the rest is not utilitarian, practiced by those who have leisure time and access to equipment, etc.


"The rest is not utilitarian"? So it is "machine-made" or "not utilitarian"? I simply do not get this statement. Can you explain how you arrived at this conclusion?

"....have leisure time"? Again... I don't get it. Personally when I am in the studio I am working. Ceramics is my job. Can you again explain how you arrived at this conclusion?



best,

.......................john


OK, allow me to explain myself better:
What I am trying to point out is the diminishing role of hand-made ceramics in society, in a historical context.
Most utilitarian ceramics today are factory/machine made (Cups, plates, cooking ware).
The rest (hand made ceramics) is a small segment, mostly being done by people as a hobby or as art.
I did say that I am generalising: Of course there are professional people who do this.
But hand-made utilitarian ceramics by professionals is a niche market.
Most people who work with clay today do NOT make a living out of it.
If there was a bigger demand then there certainly would be more professional potters.

The majority of people who dirty their hands with clay today do it as a hobby - they do not do it for a living,
it is not their job and they do it in their leisure time (or as kids at school etc).
They also have to have access to rather expensive equipment.

The fact that there are young people interested in pottery, that there are people who appreciate hand-made stuff,
that there are professional artists and potters who make a living out of pottery is all very nice,
I am not diminishing this, I am pointing out the historical trend.

If we go to remote parts of the world, we can still see the role that pottery plays.
They use hand made pots for everything, and it plays a big part in their lives in many ways.
As these people Westernise and modernise, utilitarian vessels made out of clay is replaced by steel, glass & plastic.
Skills in pottery become rare. (Texting skills on mobile phones become more common:)).
Eventually hand made pottery diminishes and becomes what it has become in the West,
something done MOSTLY as a hobby and as art, in contrast to the role and scope it had before.


I hope my point is now as clear as mud.


#23 teardrop

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 08:58 AM

I believe all things run in cycles. In the late 40's-50's-early 60's....when all the men came home from WWII and the baby boomers were created, mass production was king. Just think of the kitchen tables and chairs as one bit of proof. No wood. Mostly curvy metal and formicas. That "diner" look.
Then came the 60's and the revolt by the young against "all things parent"...including the kitschy decor in their homes. The result....hand-made goods en masse. Beads, macreme', clay, fabrics... all of that trippy 70's stuff you may (or may not..LOL) remember

I think we're poised at this place again. At some point, technology will overload many folks and they will scamper back to more "grounded" items. The overabundance of Wal-Mart crap...the preponderance of plastic...the constant bombardment of technology....all of this will again, IMO, wear on folks to the point that they again gravitate back to items that are natural/come from the land/etc.
I could be wrong...but the "kids" are sure livin the 70's again though wardrobe, a resurgance in Classic Rock and yes...some good old fashioned drugging as well.... :rolleyes: so I do have a bit of hope that we will see a swing back to handmade items soon.

either way....I'm gonna be playin' in da clay.

be well, all

teardrop
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. Dr. Seuss US author & illustrator (1904 - 1991)

#24 Matt Oz

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 04:10 PM

I've participated in a large all clay show for 20 years or so, and sales have stayed pretty consistent, with lots of younger people buying and selling in the show.

If Etsy is any indication, pottery seems popular with a younger crowd.

#25 Idaho Potter

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 06:29 PM

In a book purchased from a 2nd hand bookstore was a cardboard bookmark. The quote on it was by Stanley Tucci (actor), but I think it goes for anyone who wants to create anything:

"If you find that thing you love, it doesn't necessarily matter whether you do it well or not--you just need to do it"


I think that ties in with what Mea wrote, and as with most things, the more you do something the better you get. How sweet is that? If it makes you happy, that will spill over into the lives of everyone around you and spread like ripples on a pond. Sort of like hugs--you gotta share 'em. So get busy and make pots.

#26 Pres

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 02:18 PM

In a book purchased from a 2nd hand bookstore was a cardboard bookmark. The quote on it was by Stanley Tucci (actor), but I think it goes for anyone who wants to create anything:

"If you find that thing you love, it doesn't necessarily matter whether you do it well or not--you just need to do it"


I think that ties in with what Mea wrote, and as with most things, the more you do something the better you get. How sweet is that? If it makes you happy, that will spill over into the lives of everyone around you and spread like ripples on a pond. Sort of like hugs--you gotta share 'em. So get busy and make pots.


An old shop teacher at the school I worked at used to tell the kids: Find a career that you love doing, and you'll never have to work a day of your life. I started using it with mine also, and it seemed like it fit me pretty well.

Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#27 Italaa

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 02:00 PM

Dear Chris,

I live in Zagreb, Croatia, and pottery here is in such low level you couldn't imagine. When I read your posts from US and see how many exibitions, fairs, forums etc you have I wish to pack my bags and move to US. But I do not give up, and hope that people will come to their sense, and move from this consumer/cheap/mass production/eastern/low quality pottery to a unique, hand made with love, and artistic pottery...

There is issue of money. Here people work for ca 1000 USD per month, and they usually can't afford vase or bowl for 100-200 USD or so. They like it, they would love to have it, but it is too expensive for them. However I do not think it will ever extinct because we need to create things, and everybody wants to have something individual, unique.. It is in our nature.







Its a pity that the existing (and recently extinct) pottery traditions of Croatia aren't cherished by government or public there. There are still potters at Potravlje near Sinj, although those who worked until recently in Lika were better. THese potters worked on hand-wheels, but foot wheel potters operated at Rastoki near Korlovac (in Jastrebarsko muzej) until a few years ago, and there are still potters near Varazdini. None of the traditional potters were respected by government at any level - government is too keen to show Croatia as shiny and modern, so ignores what makes it interesting and distinctive. These were/are all traditions making domestic pottery for kitchen use, but they also had artistic merit (even more so those from nr Visoko in Bosnia, many examples of which are held in the Zagreb ethnographic museum stores). I don't think money explains the poor state of pottery (and most other artisitc expressions and traditional crafts) in Croatia - all of these local traditions could have been adapted, and could still be adapted. It is mainly a matter of interest, and there are some excellent clays in Croatia which can be dug by anyone; also excellent climate and wood resources for pottery. It is a matter of having sufficient interest and desire to make beautiful things, and not be afraid to work at something traditionally associated with the 'impoverished peasantry'.




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