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Lessons Learned At Nc Potters Conference

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#1 Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell

    clay stained since 1988

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 11:09 AM

Like Pres, I have just returned from the ice storm challenged NC Potters Conference.




One benefit of the delays was there were a lot more opportunities for conversations about pots and a potters life with both the attendees and the presenters. Here are a few things I learned.


All the presenters agreed that while they enjoy making pottery, they do not consider it "FUN" ... it's work. The famous "Inspiration is for amateurs, pros go to work" line resounded with them as well as with many of the attendees.


They all experiment and consider learning what does not work as important as finding out what does. It all leads to intimate knowledge of materials. Michelle Erickson has probably spent most of her career experimenting and "failing" as she tries to duplicate the decorative surfaces of historical pots ... trying to discover how these potters made their marks means trying all the ways to make marks.


Even though John Gill's pots look very simple and easy to make ... he is an incredible hand builder. You have to have tried some of the things he was doing to appreciate how easy he made difficult things look. A novice would have thought they could just go home and do it. I enjoyed hearing him call stoneware a "dumb clay" that just lets you do stuff to it. Considering trading in my diva porcelain. <_<


Another aspect of pottery they all shared was an awareness of the historic importance of pottery ... that shapes and surfaces tie a pot back to its origins and often define the people who used them.


I encourage everyone to attend or start a local clay conference ... discover the joys of spending time in the company of other potters. It is truly wonderful to be in a place where no one wonders why you chose a life in clay. :D


Attached Files

Chris Campbell Pottery
Contemporary Fine Colored Porcelain


" If a sufficient number of people are different, no one has to be normal "

Fredrick Bachman

#2 Pres


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Posted 10 March 2014 - 02:39 PM

I was affected by several under tows about the use of everyday pottery, and personal connections to it. Dwight Holland, who says he is a not a collector, lives in a house of pottery, more of a museum of 20th century pottery. He says he loves pots, and he knows all of the names and history behind the pots he owns and the potters. We discussed their use, and he felt that they functioned just fine on the shelf, to be handled, touched, seen enjoyed. I asked if he had used any of them for tea, or serving food, and he said yes on occasion, but he enjoyed them all whether in actual use, or on the shelf.


I talked with Mark Shapiro a bit about the same idea, especially after his comments during his demonstration that people did not have an everyday connection to pots, that he wanted to make pots that people would connect to and use.


Interesting ideas, that bring in interesting questions. One I would ask is when does a pot become so precious because of value that it is no longer useful in its everyday function and just sits on a shelf, not even to be touched? Is this the dividing line between craft and art? Or functional and non functional?


Great conference with much to think about.

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

#3 Wyndham


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Posted 10 March 2014 - 09:01 PM

Every now and then when someone talks to me about not using their pottery for the purpose intended, I compare that to puttings one's life on a shelf.

We can either use our life or those things in our lives or put them on a shelf.

Some get it some don't.


#4 Pres


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Posted 10 March 2014 - 10:09 PM

Then there is someone like Dwight H. with so much of his life on the shelf saying "I have lived". I am truly humbled in his presence not for what his pots are, or his paintings but his life and the way he has surrounded himself with it and how so many others benefit now and when he is gone.

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

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