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10 Cool Trends In Contemporary Ceramics

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Truly am sorry for sounding a bit condescending  Stellaria. My only point was that crafts like this only survive as long as the next generation has interest in it. Sure things might be beautiful and great craftsmanship but that doesnt mean it grabs their interest. Things like drawing, graffitit, painting, etc...  will always stay relevant because they have easy access to them  compared to kilns and clay. The perception of beauty has changed to them, its not classical forms or craftsman ship but unique, grunge-ish, and  slightly gore-ish  (even rebellious in nature such as those pieces that looked like they were smashed and destroyed) 

 
 

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So long as there are people who love the simplicity if solid workmanship and are interested in the history of it, there will always be somebody who wants to learn it. Trendy fly-by-night experimentalists will come and go with little lasting impact, as they have in the past and will continue to do. Plus, we now have the field of experimental archaeology to add to it - not only do we have current traditions and knowledge to keep moving forward with, but an active research community working backwards to figure out the practicalities of how things were BEFORE and underlying the traditions we have.

 

I apologize if I sounded harsh. I'm quite aware that my tastes in pottery are quite narrow and low on originality and artsiness, so I'm sure that prejudice bled through heavily.

 

But seriously - I did see a vase on etsy that the "artist" was trying to sell for a stupid amount of money that looked like a kindergartener's interpretation of a pile of rainbow poo covered in donut glaze. The listing was chock full of glorification of the rarity of the tinted clays used, etc. IMO, it doesn't matter how much work goes into it, who made it, or what rare materials are used - ugly pots is ugly pots, and if a big name guy can get thousands for a stepped-on pinch pot with a face on it, the third-grader down the street's work should be worth the same. The fact that it's not says that something is amiss.

 

(I am of the grunge/graffiti/all must be unique generation, so I do seriously reject the notion that those trends are universal and engulfing. The traditions will survive the trends. No question.)

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The  face jugs in the article were of a different style than what the potters of NC & SC make.

Traditional face jugs are ash glazed using fired cones for the teeth and porcelain shards for eyes.

Now if we look at the cultural history of the face jug, we find it's use as a way to keep the social group, morally aware of the consequences of doing evil to one another.

When a person died, a face jug was placed on the grave. If the person were a good person in the community, the face jug would remain intact for a year, then broken to let the soul rise to heaven.

If they were evil in the sight of the group, the jug was broken before the year was up and this condemned their soul to hell.

Folk potters, trying to get a leg up on the competition, decorated the whiskey jugs in distorted faces to attract more jug sales.

Contemporary potters saw that the older pieces were being collected as art, so they began making their own collectible versions and so on....

Most collector in this area, want the traditional style ash glazed face jugs.I doubt if the ones featured in Artnews would sell here but if this were to be a worthy trend, I'm sure some potters here would take note.

As in the "Garlic Plate" thread, if people want them, we'll make them.

The question becomes,what  percentage of ourselves are we, potters for ourselves or potters for the marketplace.

Wyndham

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Kind of off topic but since I mentioned it here earlier. I juried in to that gallery I was stressing about! We shall see if sales follow the prestige it has in the area.

 

On another note it has the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia as part of their complex and they have some of the Old Face Jugs and such. The old ones are different than the modern ones I think it's the glaze they used like you mentioned. I personally don't care for them but a lot of potters make their own versions around here and people seem to eat them up. I don't think I qualify as a folk potter my work isn't folksy enough, it's not completely traditional either, nor is it abstract... Gee I got no idea what style of pottery I do!

 

I'm just glad I have another venue to try and sell my pottery in. This gallery makes #4 in the area, #5 I am working on. Slowly but surely I am getting places I don't have to be at personally in order to make a sale. I am up to 6 festivals in the area for the year as well. The goal is 10 different galleries/shops to carry my work and to do up to 12 festivals a year. These are all small local places and I don't expect to sell a million at any of the places but a trickle becomes a flood and that adds up to real money.

 

Terry

I have attached images of 3 of the pieces I submitted. The 4th I don't have a picture of on my iPad.

post-22921-0-81621900-1402699824_thumb.jpg

post-22921-0-02599600-1402699837_thumb.jpg

post-22921-0-19756300-1402699847_thumb.jpg

post-22921-0-81621900-1402699824_thumb.jpg

post-22921-0-02599600-1402699837_thumb.jpg

post-22921-0-19756300-1402699847_thumb.jpg

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Kind of off topic but since I mentioned it here earlier. I juried in to that gallery I was stressing about! We shall see if sales follow the prestige it has in the area.

 

 

Congrats Terry! That's awesome! It's nice to see your hard work is being recognized.   :)

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Just wondering about the semantics of trend and trendy

 

My own perception of trendy  has a negative connotation or something with out substance. Hollywood/California trendy is a warning on my radar.

Trend on the other hand seems to be used by more thoughtful writers with discussions on more weighty matters.

 

In general, art never seems to get attention unless something absurd happens such as extreme high price or destruction art.

Wyndham

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Sergei Isopov is a very successful artist with great craftsmanship and a really good speaker.

 

He will be doing a lecture at our college this fall.

 

Regarding the apparent "Appropriate  Path" in ceramics that some seem to hold dear here ......... "Not all that wander are lost".

 

best,

 

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

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He wanted them to think. Not all aesthetic prose are pseudo intellectual.

 

Another 'amen' is due right there.  

 

The very CORE of our college department's ceramics curriculum is to get students to THINK.  We stress a heavily traditional route to develop that thinking...... but developing an understanding of their own work and how that "fits into the world" is very important.  It you want to go off and be "irreverant" and "non-traditional" then you better then be able to eloquently articulate the reasoning and route that lead you to that point. If you want to make "highly traditional work", you better be able to support that approach with the same level of analysis and impact.  You can work sculpturally, you can work functionally... but you can't work without actively THINKING.

 

BTW... I basically "ban" the oh-so-easy words "I like" from critiques.  I don't really care if a student likes or dislikes a particular work.  I want to know things like what the student actually sees in the piece being considered (ande hence what they may be missing), I want to know how the visual elements and principles of design are handled, I want to know what specicic feelings the work might produce (deeper than the usless "like" comment), if it is functional...... how has function been adressed and is it successful to those ends, I want to know what choices were made in the forming and decorating processes and why those particular choices were made, I want to know what historical references might have been researched to arrive at the work, and so on.

 

Anti-intellectualism is a trend itself here in the USA of late. Terribly sad.

 

I would strongly suggest that those that are having serious difficulty with this particular article..... go get a couple of books on ceramic art history and read up.

 

best,

 

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

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 John, I feel that I need to defend my position on the article in question.


 

Anti-intellectualism is a trend itself here in the USA of late. Terribly sad.

 

I would strongly suggest that those that are having serious difficulty with this particular article..... go get a couple of books on ceramic art history and read up.

 

best,

 

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

 

I have studied art history in general  through out my life and  delved into ceramic history, the 28 years of being a potter.

Though some of the pieces in the article were technically well done, most gave me, the impression of sloppy work.

As i make a living from the pottery I produce, I have learned what people expect when paying for a handmade product.

 

There has to be critical thinking in determining whether something is groundbreaking or "The emperor's new Clothes".

 

I may have a narrow POV about who sets the trends in fashion and art. If it is the Hollywood red carpet crowd or others of that ilk , that sets the taste for art, fashion, politics and morality, that is unacceptable in my value system.

 

This is not anti-intellectualism, on the contrary, intellectual discourse is the meat of enlightenment, it's the critical evaluation of society that allows a society to flourish.

 

 

 

BTW... I basically "ban" the oh-so-easy words "I like" from critiques.  I don't really care if a student likes or dislikes a particular work.  I want to know things like what the student actually sees in the piece being considered (ande hence what they may be missing), I want to know how the visual elements and principles of design are handled, I want to know what specicic feelings the work might produce (deeper than the usless "like" comment), if it is functional...... how has function been adressed and is it successful to those ends, I want to know what choices were made in the forming and decorating processes and why those particular choices were made, I want to know what historical references might have been researched to arrive at the work, and so on.

 

I agree whole heartily.

What you have set as a critical examination is a lone candle in the night.

 

You may have seen something different in the photo's in the article than I, if so , fine.

If your standards were put in place for the ceramics in the article,what would you have said?

 

Wyndham

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Sergei Isopov is a very successful artist with great craftsmanship and a really good speaker.

 

He will be doing a lecture at our college this fall.

 

Regarding the apparent "Appropriate  Path" in ceramics that some seem to hold dear here ......... "Not all that wander are lost".

 

best,

 

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

 

Yes John,

Voice from the wilderness here, to misquote, "Not all that are lost wander"

Threre is a difficulty I experience when presented by one piece of an artist's work, and ignorance of the artist. I can appreciate the work more exquisitely if I see it in context,or in a well curated exhibition.

No idea if it's a trend or trendy unless I get a deeper picture, don't need to like it to appreciate it.

The like /dislike is a superficial instant reaction which I think takes place before the self takes in what the reactive eye is seeing.

For example, I have mistaken a large coil of sisal as my dog! Even chastised it for being inside the shed on such a fine day!

Then when i actually saw what was there, I picked it up and put it on a shelf, just incase I was fooled again!

Then wnet to kick the dog! :)

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I looked up a number of the artist and enjoyed looking at other work they have done, maybe some of you would like some of their other work.

 

Some of these artist simply work with clay as a medium and have not and probably will never will work on making beautiful dinnerware or other functional pottery. I like all kinds of ceramic art as well as beautifully crafted functional ware but I think there is such little synergy between the work in this article and functional ware that it is extremely hard to compare them. 

 

Plenty of room for both.

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Benzine's comments on page one of this thread took me back a few (nay, much more than a few) years.  Back in the 1950's when I was trying to learn something about technique in painting, I took a class at San Francisco State in oil painting.  I'd been fortunate to have a really great teacher in high school that taught me composition; challenged my imagination; inspired me; and made me work at art because he believed that to produce art you at least needed an idea of where you wanted to end up.  Not so, the college instructor.  

 

The class was entitled, Techniques of Oil Painting.  I wanted to learn technique--the application of paint to canvas--whether using a brush, knife, forearm, my nose, or any means necessary.  Regrettably, the class I'd signed for ended up more about painting large swathes of paint next to equally large areas of paint with no thought as to application, color, composition or anything else.  When the instructor kept referring to his work as "abstract", I finally spoke up and asked what was he abstracting.  His response was to shout he didn't need to explain himself to a "child" ( I was almost 20 and he was probably about 30). I said if he couldn't explain what his subject matter was, then it wasn't an abstract, but merely planes of color arranged in some manner that suited him.  

 

I got bounced out of that class so quick!  Had a heck of a time getting my tuition fees returned, too.

 

That episode did two things. (1) Made me rethink taking classes in higher learning.  (2) Made me realize that if you throw cow poop at a barn wall and end up framing it , it's still cow poop!  

 

Before you rag on me, let me state that I like Jackson Pollock, Mondrian, Picasso and a whole slew of other non-traditionalist artists.  BUT, their early work shows that they studied and then departed from traditional aspects, but with an idea of where/what they wanted to achieve.  No art speak, just a view of where the work would end.

 

I'm sure all of you have experienced throwing a pot early in your career and having it collapse in a strange way or fold in on itself.  Sometimes it even looks good enough to keep.  However, those happy accidents are few and far between.  Students would ask if they could keep it.  I would say, can you produce another?  Most often, the answer was no.  We work hard and every once in awhile serendipity gives us a gift.  Most often, the gifts come about by perfecting our techniques to the point where we no longer have to rely on happy accidents or serendipity.

 

my two cents,

 

Shirley

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Shirley,

 

I had some questionable instructors in college, but none that bad.

 

I had a Painting I and II teacher, who students either loved or hated.  He didn't really teach technique.  He assigned a lot of paintings every couple weeks, but never had a required size.  So a lot of students ended up doing a bunch of small (like note card small) paintings, while slowly working on a large-scale one.  By having to do all the paintings, I found myself experimenting a lot more with numerous styles and techniques.

 

Like I said, not every student liked that.  But in my opinion, he did get us to think.  Also, at the end of each class, we had to hand in a piece of paper asking him a question, and telling him something. It could be about anything.  He took the time to read and answer all of them.  Another little thinking exercise.

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I can't say the article is wrong.

 

 First it is contemporary 'ceramics' not contemporary function pottery.

 

 I have seen works that would fit each group just fine. I think they left out 'cabbage leafs', seems certain types of vegetable leafs are popular to recreate these days.

 

 But you also can't discredit 'graffitti' art or culture as a passing fad. Times are changing and the world I grew up in and my influences are completely different than my parents. Though classics are still a strong influence there is desire to go beyond, create new stuff with new visions.

 

 I agree though that technique is still required. Just slapping stuff together as opposed to thoughtful and technical work will result in different work. Slapped together stuff can often fool those who know no better but the same item finely crafted will be recognized as such.

 

 For example, Face jugs have always been hideous imo. Though I can appreciate the history of them. But without the history making them now is just copying an old culture. Judge that how you will. The face jugs in the article imo are also hideous but don't really represent the origins. I don't think they even look finely crafted, but that's also hard to say looking at small pictures.

 On the other hand face jugs could inspire finely crafted ceramics that are marketable. Take for instance 'thebigduluth'.

http://thebigduluth.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=0

minor_head_trauma_jug__wip_by_thebigdulu

 He has set his own standard in face jugs, is very creative, a great sculptor and artist.

 

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I have been riding along this post for several days, thinking about various viewpoints. ...what makes a trend, who defines what, the role in art criticism that provides verbal skill as a stand in for pieces being able to speak by themselves without linguistic interpretation....

 

Then, I thought about how many art/ceramic students I've met over time, and how I am frequently amazed by their profound lack of technical skill, and simultaneously dumbfounded by their gift of opinionated description. To date, I have met three technically skilled individuals: two trained at Alfred, the other ignored all advice until given the degree that allowed them to go make and sell pottery. These thoughts are not unique.

 

Today it occurred to me: this stuff does represent a trend, perhaps. People who graduate from art schools are not learning solid technical skills. They are taught how to wax on verbally about "eh" work.

 

I understand the place for verbal skill. After all, the art critic of Artnews needs a job. But the abstraction of "pointed, political edge" from the work highlighted in the "anti ceramic mush" section seems to prove my point of b.s. making the art have a story that a nonverbal viewer would NEVER create themselves. I realize that story sells the art, but doesn't it seem reasonable that skilled artists strive to make technically proficient art that can stand without the artist or critic explaining it for the viewer?

 

Thus my proposed trend: language substitutes for skill in ceramic arts?

 

(Water buckets ready ;o)

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People who graduate from art schools are not learning solid technical skills. They are taught how to wax on verbally about "eh" work.

 

Painting with a very broad brush there, Dr..  ;)

 

I invite you to visit our college.

 

best,

 

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

 

PS:  You are correct that SOME programs are (or already have been) headed in that direction.

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People who graduate from art schools are not learning solid technical skills. They are taught how to wax on verbally about "eh" work.

 

Painting with a very broad brush there, Dr..  ;)

 

I invite you to visit our college.

 

best,

 

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

 

PS:  You are correct that SOME programs are (or already have been) headed in that direction.

 

 

This is another discussion entirely. But honestly, one can get as much or as little out of a collegiate program as desired. A BFA is only a BFA. Even at Alfred, the BFA is in Art and Design, there is no option to declare ceramics.

 

Another point, paraphrasing a discussion with Chris Gustin, the talent today is scary. Perhaps you're in different circles...

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Painting with a very broad brush there, Dr..  ;) -snip-

 

PS:  You are correct that SOME programs are (or already have been) headed in that direction.

I was theorizing, not trying to generalize, my pardon. If my theory is correct, does this explain the void between the skill displayed and the trendiness of the work? Why would an artist care to make the distinction that they are not ceramic artists, but artists working in clay? (To see this you need to drill down into a previous article at the top of this clip.) is clay so base that one needs to distinguish them selves as not "a part of" but still able to work without skill?

 

These questions baffle me. I do not have the answers. It seems like a fragile place to exist. Why would any institution foster this mindset in a student? Wouldn't it set them up for a world of hurt and/or disappointment when they leave to work as artists? I agree to some extent that everything yields what you put into it. However,I think there's something here that explains why such poor technical work represents hot trends. ?

 

Thank you for the compliment on my brush work, too. Here I thought I wasn't good at painting ;).

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Another point, paraphrasing a discussion with Chris Gustin, the talent today is scary. Perhaps you're in different circles...

 

 

No doubt there.  One just needs to watch some Youtube videos, or fall into that alternate, time sucking dimension, that is Pinterest to realize how much talent is indeed out there.

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