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Does It Matter What We Call Our Work?


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#1 Babs

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 01:30 AM

Just come in from dropping off "pots" at a local gallery.

A customer drew me into conversation as she had just bought one of my products!

She asked what the difference was between a pot and a vessel!

I was about to get philosophical, hmm, or at least talk about semantics ;) , but she replied for me,  $2,000.00! :D

I then remembered when I first became  interested in working with clay there were a lot of receptacles written about.

So, when you speak about your work, how do you name it?



#2 High Bridge Pottery

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 09:16 AM

So you mean pots are a tool and a vessel is art?



#3 JBaymore

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 09:44 AM

Whether we like it or not, choices of words often matter a lot...... that is why authors, editors, and in particular copy writers, ad agencies, and advertisers agonize over that stuff.

 

Your customer was right. ;)

 

There is a saying that has been gooing around the clay community for years........ (stated a bit more "coarsley" using a slightly more crude word for urination and adjusted here for more G type rated forum)........ that kind of addresses this preception issue:

 

"If you can pee on it, it is art. If you can pee in it, it is craft".

 

And in our society, "art" is percieved to be more valuable than "craft".

 

A "vessel" goes on a pedestal with a spotlight to be admired for it's beauty. A "pot" goes in the sink, covered with the evening's remaining spagetti sauce. B)

 

best,

 

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

 

PS: And to beat this horse to death........ I don't PLAY with clay. :D


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#4 Pres

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 10:45 AM

I'm always such a mess, I only look like I do. . . .


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#5 Chris Campbell

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 11:00 AM

Same for platters ... if it goes on the kitchen table, one price ... if you hang it on a wall double it.

 

The name matters to potter and customer but not in the same way ... and I don't think most of us 'get' it ... keep selling the process, not the emotion.

First ... no one but another potter cares how you fired it ... or what clay you used ... or what the glaze is called.

They can see it's a platter or a bowl or a mug ... just like the ones on the mall ...sorta.

Handmade? They might like the idea, but don't really care who or where the handmade came from.

 

So ... you have to do the hardest part which is to share your story ... share a part of you. Why you chose the color, why you like this particular form, why they will love it more and more each time they use it because it is well designed. Give them a bit of your life to take home.

 

Everyone who has done shows and has shared their story has the experience of listening to that person tell it to someone else almost immediately.

It matters more than what you call the form.


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#6 Pres

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 11:54 AM

For the naive, but interested individual the process that Chris describes is of great importance. When I would describe preparing the clay, throwing, trimming, decorating, firing, glazing and decorating, and firing again, I would usually get "All of that for one pot?" Then I could say yes, but some for many like firing the loading and firing the kiln, unloading and sorting/grinding/cleaning up pieces. This would bring further questions about form, function and why I would take so much work for such a piece. From there, the sale was often easy.


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


#7 Steven Branfman

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 12:49 PM

Oh boy,,,,,,I remember the agony and frustration over the craft vs art debate in the early 70's as an art student. It continued with nuclear power through the 80's and then thankfully diminished. I refer to my work as vessels, not to raise them to a higher aesthetic or financial status, but because of my dedication to the vessel as an object and a form. Granted, I make non functional, decorative ware, but this doesn't affect how I see clay work and how I try to educate others. A pitcher, bowl,  plate,  platter,  teapot, decorative vessel. They are all pots and should be appreciated and valued for their aesthetic and crafted quality.

 

John, I like your comments. Note this one: A "vessel" goes on a pedestal with a spotlight to be admired for it's beauty. "A "pot" goes in the sink, covered with the evening's remaining spagetti sauce." We have some of John's work. When it's not being used it is on display in our home with the rest of our collection. When it's being used it's on our dinner table. Before it goes back on display it goes into the sink to be washed!

 

Part and parcel of this topic is how do you see your own work? What  are your intentions in making work? What do you call yourself? Potter, ceramic artist, clay worker, ceramist, sculptor?


Steven Branfman
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#8 Babs

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 05:57 PM

Chris is dead right, as i laughed with this lady, she asked more about my "stuff" and when I told of the Glossy Black cockatoos and how these vessels were inspired by the tails of male, she purchased another one.. felt kinda guilty.

John, I see play as being  of and for itself, occurring in a vaccuum as it were. Yes, working in clay is pleasurable, sometimes :unsure:,  ands that is indeed what playing feels like or we wouldn't be playing, but I continue to work with it for more than just that.  $$ too!

Find a glaze you love, other potters love, people don't buy the vessels with that particular glaze, what do you do?



#9 Benzine

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 09:51 PM

Pottery, artwork you can eat off of!
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#10 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 08:04 AM

Right now I have been completely sucked in to a new adventure researching color potential
of chemicals in foil saggars. I am approaching the half century mark of working with the wonders of ceramics, and I found something new to engage my direction. I am throwing orbs. I look back over my career and noticed that I return time and again to this form as a blank canvas for experimenting with glazes or surfaces.
crystalline glazes 1971-1975
crater glazes 80s
pit firing 80s 90s
raku, stoneware and porcelain 60s--present
90 - present saggar firing
So, I call myself all types of things: potter, ceramic artist, artist, it depends on the audience.Not sure I want to know what others call me!


Marcia

#11 Rebekah Krieger

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 09:18 AM

Right now I have been completely sucked in to a new adventure researching color potential
of chemicals in foil saggars. I am approaching the half century mark of working with the wonders of ceramics, and I found something new to engage my direction. I am throwing orbs. I look back over my career and noticed that I return time and again to this form as a blank canvas for experimenting with glazes or surfaces.
crystalline glazes 1971-1975
crater glazes 80s
pit firing 80s 90s
stoneware and porcelain 60s--present
90 - present saggar firing
So, I call myself all types of things: potter, ceramic artist, artist, it depends on the audience.Not sure I want to know what others call me!


Marcia

us "others" call you amazing! 


Learning On my Kick wheel with my vintage Paragon (from the late 1960's)

#12 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 10:02 AM

You are kind, Rebecca. I'll look for you at NCECA. Maybe we can have a Shotzi at the Old German Beer Hall!
I have been attending NCECA since 1971. I go to keep in touch with old friends and keep up to date with what is happening, enjoy the talks, demos and shows. There have been many loses this year.Seems that continues to happen.So looking forward to seeing new friends.

Marcia

#13 High Bridge Pottery

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 06:40 PM

I am now calling myself an Oxide Composer.

 

Thank you



#14 Chilly

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 02:12 PM

Hummpph.  Maker of shards for gardens.  Shardener?


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#15 Babs

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 04:26 PM

Hummpph.  Maker of shards for gardens.  Shardener?

Chardonnay Go have a glass or three! :D

Then back to the shed to create more perfected mugs!

Orders  that's the hex that was on you!






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