Jump to content


Photo

Designation--"Master Potter"


  • Please log in to reply
30 replies to this topic

#1 Nelly

Nelly

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 380 posts

Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:57 PM

Dear All,

I recently had a friend visit my studio. He received a gift for some work he did on a project. He said "you know your studio is the same size as... and he is a master potter." He then repeated "master potter."

I was just thinking about that visit as I trimmed a foot on a bowl. I thought I wonder what this designation means in the pottery or ceramic world? Who gets to call themselves a "master potter."

I have had teachers with no academic credentials call themselves a "master potter." I have heard it said among artists that an "MFA is the industry standard to teach."

Is there a test you do to get this title? Is it a quiet and simple rule (among the artistic community) that if you have clocked wheel hours and show talent after a period of time you can call yourself a "master potter?" Does the MFA mean you are a Master potter?"

I think it was just something I thought about given the emphasis he placed on this title.

Is there a hard and fast rule on this designation??

Nelly

#2 Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell

    clay stained since 1988

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,321 posts
  • LocationRaleigh, NC

Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:03 PM

Master Potter ... hmmmm

If you give yourself the title, you're not.
If others do, you might be.
If someone whose work knocks your socks off does ... enjoy!!

Lets see, with the title of Mistress of Potterydom and a dollar I might be able to buy a soda from a vending machine. : - )

p.s. I just Googled it and it is amazing how varied the potters and the quality of the work is ... and I found the Master Potter pub too!

Chris Campbell
Contemporary Fine Colored Porcelain
http://www.ccpottery.com/

https://www.facebook...88317932?ref=hl

TRY ...   FAIL ...  LEARN ...  REPEAT


#3 Nelly

Nelly

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 380 posts

Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:22 PM

Master Potter ... hmmmm

If you give yourself the title, you're not.
If others do, you might be.
If someone whose work knocks your socks off does ... enjoy!!

Lets see, with the title of Mistress of Potterydom and a dollar I might be able to buy a soda from a vending machine. : - )

p.s. I just Googled it and it is amazing how varied the potters and the quality of the work is ... and I found the Master Potter pub too!


Dear Chris,

You make me smile. That is what I thought. It is a title that is somewhat ambiguous. And yes, what about mistress potter. Why do we not use the feminine. We always use the masculine-whether in pottery or academia??

In my work, you could never use the title "master" unless you demonstrated some proficiency in a subject matter or profession. But somehow in pottery there is no similar rules if I get your drift correctly.

It also raises questions about whether there is any need for this title. I mean, does it sell more pots? Do people invite you to more shows? Do people treat you differently??

Nelly

#4 Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell

    clay stained since 1988

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,321 posts
  • LocationRaleigh, NC

Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:30 PM

It also raises questions about whether there is any need for this title. I mean, does it sell more pots? Do people invite you to more shows? Do people treat you differently??

Well Nelly, start calling yourself one and see if it works ... maybe not on friends or relatives though!

Chris Campbell
Contemporary Fine Colored Porcelain
http://www.ccpottery.com/

https://www.facebook...88317932?ref=hl

TRY ...   FAIL ...  LEARN ...  REPEAT


#5 trina

trina

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 437 posts

Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:53 PM

Hi there, in Germany for example, the term meister / master is used in most craftsman type jobs. A carpenter can work as a carpenter but carpenters master, this is the only person who can legally train carpenters. Equally a potter is only a potter. A master is a keramikermeister. Normally a potter master would be teaching in a university or in industry. In the rest of Europe this system doesn't exist in the same way anyone in UK can call himself whatever he wants and open shop. T

#6 JBaymore

JBaymore

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 3,060 posts
  • LocationWilton, NH USA

Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:58 PM

I thought I wonder what this designation means in the pottery or ceramic world?


Absolutely nothing.

Who gets to call themselves a "master potter."


Anyone who decides to do so.


Really it is a totally meaningless term in our society. It is a holdeover from the older European Guild system..... when it did have a meaning. (Apprentice, Journeyman, Master)

best,

..................john
John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#7 Nelly

Nelly

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 380 posts

Posted 25 January 2013 - 03:08 PM

I thought I wonder what this designation means in the pottery or ceramic world?


Absolutely nothing.

Who gets to call themselves a "master potter."


Anyone who decides to do so.


Really it is a totally meaningless term in our society. It is a holdeover from the older European Guild system..... when it did have a meaning. (Apprentice, Journeyman, Master)

best,

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


Dear John,

Ah...now that makes sense. Total sense. Now I get it. At the time I was introduced to this term, I was working as a type of apprentice for a guy in exchange for free clay and use of his studio. I just had to keep the place clean, do some sales and try to make his pots. He called himself a master potter. I remember then thinking...and what makes you think you are one? You did your degree in psychology and you just started potting a short time ago?? The idea of it being a holdeover or hangover from the old Guild system makes total sense. Got it!! In a sense, he could use this term in its truest sense as I was a type of apprentice and he did have a hold over my learning and advancement in his studio.

Nelly

#8 Matt Oz

Matt Oz

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 274 posts
  • LocationMichigan

Posted 25 January 2013 - 04:40 PM

To be a master, you must first create a masterpiece.
No kidding look it up.


Emoticons not working

#9 Idaho Potter

Idaho Potter

    Learning all the time

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 400 posts
  • LocationBoise, Idaho

Posted 25 January 2013 - 04:59 PM

I think I'll go with John on this. Just as our electricians and plumbers go through apprentice, journeyman, master, so did the guilds of old. Back in the day, there were guilds for everything, from candlemaking to sculpture; from carpentry to weaving; from bookbinding to printing. That was how people learned the skills needed to work their way up the social and economic ladders. As an apprentice, you became familiar with the tools of the trade (usually by having to clean up after the master) and would occasionally get to help a journeyman on small jobs. As a journeyman you were given jobs to do with limited supervision and a final check to make sure it was done properly. As a master you taught and had the final say on work done under your guidance.

Next time I hear someone call themselves a master (whatever), I'll ask with whom they apprenticed.

Shirley

#10 Lucille Oka

Lucille Oka

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 756 posts
  • LocationCalifornia

Posted 26 January 2013 - 01:09 AM

I don't mean to go against the grain here but we know that there are Master Potters. It is the ease and expertise by which they create their work and the dedication to perfection about what they do. They are the experts. We neophytes are currently doing what they have done.

Some Master Potter’s have written accurate books on techniques to share their acquired knowledge. The Master Potter if pressed, will have a simple philosophy about what he or she does and can relay what is technical in laymen’s terms.

I am sure there are some folks who would like to be called a Master Potter and they try to do everything except the work so that they can achieve that status, but they can be seen through. They begin to believe their own press after awhile. But their work suffers because the focus is not on the work but on achieving fame.

And somewhere along the time line of history the Master Potters will be remembered for the work they have done and what they have contributed that is long lasting for the profession.




John 3:16
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life".

#11 OffCenter

OffCenter

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,372 posts

Posted 26 January 2013 - 08:12 AM

I don't mean to go against the grain here but we know that there are Master Potters. It is the ease and expertise by which they create their work and the dedication to perfection about what they do. They are the experts. We neophytes are currently doing what they have done.

Some Master Potter’s have written accurate books on techniques to share their acquired knowledge. The Master Potter if pressed, will have a simple philosophy about what he or she does and can relay what is technical in laymen’s terms.

I am sure there are some folks who would like to be called a Master Potter and they try to do everything except the work so that they can achieve that status, but they can be seen through. They begin to believe their own press after awhile. But their work suffers because the focus is not on the work but on achieving fame.

And somewhere along the time line of history the Master Potters will be remembered for the work they have done and what they have contributed that is long lasting for the profession.





The above just goes to further prove that you can give the term "Master Potter" any definition you want which makes it meaningless. One person's master potter is another person's belly laugh.

Jim
E pur si muove.

"But it does move," said Galileo under his breath.

#12 Pres

Pres

    Retired Art Teacher

  • Moderators
  • 2,113 posts
  • LocationCentral, PA

Posted 26 January 2013 - 10:42 AM


I don't mean to go against the grain here but we know that there are Master Potters. It is the ease and expertise by which they create their work and the dedication to perfection about what they do. They are the experts. We neophytes are currently doing what they have done.

Some Master Potter’s have written accurate books on techniques to share their acquired knowledge. The Master Potter if pressed, will have a simple philosophy about what he or she does and can relay what is technical in laymen’s terms.

I am sure there are some folks who would like to be called a Master Potter and they try to do everything except the work so that they can achieve that status, but they can be seen through. They begin to believe their own press after awhile. But their work suffers because the focus is not on the work but on achieving fame.

And somewhere along the time line of history the Master Potters will be remembered for the work they have done and what they have contributed that is long lasting for the profession.





The above just goes to further prove that you can give the term "Master Potter" any definition you want which makes it meaningless. One person's master potter is another person's belly laugh.

Jim


I am doomed to be a jack of all trades, but a master of none. At the same time, damn I am sooo happy in what I do do.

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


#13 Benzine

Benzine

    Socratic Potter

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,773 posts
  • LocationThe Hawkeye State

Posted 26 January 2013 - 08:28 PM



I don't mean to go against the grain here but we know that there are Master Potters. It is the ease and expertise by which they create their work and the dedication to perfection about what they do. They are the experts. We neophytes are currently doing what they have done.

Some Master Potter’s have written accurate books on techniques to share their acquired knowledge. The Master Potter if pressed, will have a simple philosophy about what he or she does and can relay what is technical in laymen’s terms.

I am sure there are some folks who would like to be called a Master Potter and they try to do everything except the work so that they can achieve that status, but they can be seen through. They begin to believe their own press after awhile. But their work suffers because the focus is not on the work but on achieving fame.

And somewhere along the time line of history the Master Potters will be remembered for the work they have done and what they have contributed that is long lasting for the profession.





The above just goes to further prove that you can give the term "Master Potter" any definition you want which makes it meaningless. One person's master potter is another person's belly laugh.

Jim


I am doomed to be a jack of all trades, but a master of none. At the same time, damn I am sooo happy in what I do do.


I'm with you Pres. I don't know if it's just me, or if that's all part of being a high school art teacher. We teach so many subjects, that it's very difficult to focus on one. I will say however, the students probably think we are "Masters".
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#14 Pres

Pres

    Retired Art Teacher

  • Moderators
  • 2,113 posts
  • LocationCentral, PA

Posted 27 January 2013 - 08:51 AM




I don't mean to go against the grain here but we know that there are Master Potters. It is the ease and expertise by which they create their work and the dedication to perfection about what they do. They are the experts. We neophytes are currently doing what they have done.

Some Master Potter’s have written accurate books on techniques to share their acquired knowledge. The Master Potter if pressed, will have a simple philosophy about what he or she does and can relay what is technical in laymen’s terms.

I am sure there are some folks who would like to be called a Master Potter and they try to do everything except the work so that they can achieve that status, but they can be seen through. They begin to believe their own press after awhile. But their work suffers because the focus is not on the work but on achieving fame.

And somewhere along the time line of history the Master Potters will be remembered for the work they have done and what they have contributed that is long lasting for the profession.





The above just goes to further prove that you can give the term "Master Potter" any definition you want which makes it meaningless. One person's master potter is another person's belly laugh.

Jim


I am doomed to be a jack of all trades, but a master of none. At the same time, damn I am sooo happy in what I do do.


I'm with you Pres. I don't know if it's just me, or if that's all part of being a high school art teacher. We teach so many subjects, that it's very difficult to focus on one. I will say however, the students probably think we are "Masters".


That could be in a good sense or in a bad sense! Owners of slaves were called "masters" too!

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


#15 Benzine

Benzine

    Socratic Potter

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,773 posts
  • LocationThe Hawkeye State

Posted 27 January 2013 - 10:20 AM





I don't mean to go against the grain here but we know that there are Master Potters. It is the ease and expertise by which they create their work and the dedication to perfection about what they do. They are the experts. We neophytes are currently doing what they have done.

Some Master Potter’s have written accurate books on techniques to share their acquired knowledge. The Master Potter if pressed, will have a simple philosophy about what he or she does and can relay what is technical in laymen’s terms.

I am sure there are some folks who would like to be called a Master Potter and they try to do everything except the work so that they can achieve that status, but they can be seen through. They begin to believe their own press after awhile. But their work suffers because the focus is not on the work but on achieving fame.

And somewhere along the time line of history the Master Potters will be remembered for the work they have done and what they have contributed that is long lasting for the profession.





The above just goes to further prove that you can give the term "Master Potter" any definition you want which makes it meaningless. One person's master potter is another person's belly laugh.

Jim


I am doomed to be a jack of all trades, but a master of none. At the same time, damn I am sooo happy in what I do do.


I'm with you Pres. I don't know if it's just me, or if that's all part of being a high school art teacher. We teach so many subjects, that it's very difficult to focus on one. I will say however, the students probably think we are "Masters".


That could be in a good sense or in a bad sense! Owners of slaves were called "masters" too!


I guess it depends on which students of mine, you ask. Do you know, that I have the gall, to ask my students, to clean up after themselves?! That's right, I make them do physical labor, in order to return my room and associated equipment, back in the condition it was in, prior to their class.

Some of my students, are also under the assumption, that my room is a democracy, especially in regards to what music I have on the radio. I tell them, that it is a dictatorship, or at very least a monarchy. They are in the room for part of their day, I am there all day. So, when it comes to the music, and room temperature, I'm open to suggestions for changes to either, but there's a good chance I'll just stick with what is more comfortable for me.
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#16 JBaymore

JBaymore

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 3,060 posts
  • LocationWilton, NH USA

Posted 27 January 2013 - 10:46 AM

That's right, I make them do physical labor, in order to return my room and associated equipment, back in the condition it was in, prior to their class


Cruel and unusual punishment. It should be illegal! ;)src="http://ceramicartsda...ault/wink.gif">


best,

...................john
John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#17 Pres

Pres

    Retired Art Teacher

  • Moderators
  • 2,113 posts
  • LocationCentral, PA

Posted 27 January 2013 - 11:09 AM

That's right, I make them do physical labor, in order to return my room and associated equipment, back in the condition it was in, prior to their class


Cruel and unusual punishment. It should be illegal! ;)src="http://ceramicartsda...ault/wink.gif">


best,

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


Physical labor, dictatorship, you own your room! I know where you are at. At the end of every period there were 5 jobs that had to be completed. These jobs rotated from table to table. I had 6 workbench type tables, and 5 jobs, so some weeks they would have no job. My jobs were done after their own tables were cleared of working tools and materials. Jobs included Tables, Floor, Sink, Tools, and Glazing area. I know that today the floors with a broom are a no no, but as we did it every period, not much dust. floor was mopped every night by the maintenance staff. Tables were washed with bucket after spray on of water/pinesol solution. Tools was to make certain the peg board of tools was organized correctly with shadowed peg areas to proper tool and all were there. Other areas are pretty self explanatory.

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


#18 Stephen Robison

Stephen Robison

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 154 posts

Posted 27 January 2013 - 12:00 PM

It is just so silly. Titles are I guess at times ok, for instance I am a professor and I do profess. And I do know allot about art and the media of ceramics, technically, conceptually and historically and therefore I do profess on all of it, but I also continually add to my knowledge. But as John said these titles are old designations and may have had their place in a time when the master was the boss. So in a contemporary sense we are masters of our work, but quite often our work shows a specific level of skill in manipulation of the material and knowledge about the contemporary and historical use of the media and yes peers and people who have more knowledge can analyze this critically. How our work may represent and convey social constructs, or achieve a certain aesthetic value, or how the work may serve its utilitarian purpose and how well it does that, or all of the above can be analyzed and may show a lack of skill in a technique or may be redundant, trendy, weak or contrived in the expression and or aesthetic of the piece, or the desired conceptual concerns are unclear, too vague or to trite, or un-researched and ill-informed. So, value of the work we do can be critically analyzed and this can be done through objective and non-objective observations. But who is deemed the authority to title an artist as a master? Certainly not the artist, he or she who claims they themselves are masters are maybe only trying to inflate their egos or the value of their work.



I think calling yourself a master is somewhat pretentious and being called one to me is almost embarrassing. Yes I have my Masters of Fine Arts, which is no small matter, but that piece of paper does not make me a master. I recall a moment about 15 years ago when I was doing demonstrationsfor a big event at the Bray and the signs leading people to my demonstration said Master Potter Stephen Robison and arrows point people the way, ###### I was only out of grad school a year at that time and I was not even close to the skill based or conceptual level I am at now and I would again by no means declare myself a master presently,,, or ever for that matter. I did go around and change the signs by the way. So maybe when I reach 92 I may get close to mastering the media but I doubt it. Maybe the title is not even useful in this day and age as John pointed out. However again, I think it is important to point out there are levels of skill that some people in ceramics have not reached, nor may ever reach, while some others have reached both a level of skill and communication with their work that is at the top of our field. I hasten to say that people at the top of their game search for that next level and are challenging themselves all the time, and generally don't feel they are "Masters".
STEPHEN ROBISON
Head of Ceramics, Central Washington University
Ellensburg WA

http://stiffyguss.blogspot.com/
http://liquidceramics.blogspot.com/
http://teapotspitchers.blogspot.com/
http://woodkilns.blogspot.com/
http://jomonhaniwa.blogspot.com/
http://stephensrobison.blogspot.com/
http://www.flickr.co...ffpottery/sets/

CWU offers; BA, BFA, and MFA Degrees, (Post Baccalaureate also available). Images of CWU Ceramics studio can be seen at

http://www.flickr.co...57623735313670/

#19 Benzine

Benzine

    Socratic Potter

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,773 posts
  • LocationThe Hawkeye State

Posted 27 January 2013 - 12:13 PM

This talk of "Master Artisans" makes me think of the educational concept of Mastery Learning. Each class/ unit has a set of concepts the students, have to master before they move on. Many districts have gone towards this, and my own district is considering it as well. It seems like a good idea in theory, but like I've said to some of my colleagues, "How can I expect my students to master a concept/ skill, that I haven't even mastered?"
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#20 JBaymore

JBaymore

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 3,060 posts
  • LocationWilton, NH USA

Posted 27 January 2013 - 12:49 PM

Stephen,

That is an absolutely (if I might say it ;)src="http://ceramicartsda...ault/wink.gif"> ) "masterful" posting on the subject above. Articulate and clear.

I deliberately waited until I was 60 years old before scheduling a solo exhibition in Japan. That age is basically the point in Japan when a craftsperson is felt to possibly have acquired enough skills and experience to "know what he/she is doing". It is the beginning of your second time around the Zodiac cycle also...so is a "big deal"; you are conceptually re-born. I was very glad that I did so.

It is only in the past few years that I feel that I am finally getting a grip on this crazy craft...... and I have been working basically full time with clay since the mid-60's. And I too would not call myself a "Master" yet. The more I work and explore in this field...... the more I realize that there is to "master", and know, and to try. Sometimes it seems that the "goal posts" keep moving further and further away. But that is what keeps us involved, creative, and alive, isn't it?

The infinte truth of that old saying becomes clearer and clearer: "Clay is long. Life is short."

best,


......................john
John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users