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Chris Campbell

When can you call yourself a potter?| Dec 26, 2011

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I agree that there are very talented people out there who don't bother with tags.

But the question of this thread did state branding oneself with a tag and there is a history of

apprenticing and accomplishment.

Were we all suckered into responding to a branding system? I call myself an artist more comfortably than potter. As an artist I have my work in museums and galleries and collections in many places around the globe

so I think that qualifies.

And I call myself an educator after 40+ years of teaching. I find it necessary to use a label when I introduce myself in a new community after relocating after a lifetime in Montana. I have found it to be a very closed community here and very little in the area concerning pottery or potters.

 

Marcia

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Someone once told me that a "writer" really isn't a writer until published. Does that mean that to be a potter one must sell their work? I don't think so, there seem to be many who are working diligently at the craft and yet haven't sold anything. The fact that your head heart and hands are stuck in the mud may be enough for the title.

 

I am working to improve my own "take" on pottery. Sharing my knowledge and experience with others and they--in turn--sharing with me is pure pleasure. Even with more than 25 years of working in clay, there's always more to learn. I don't think any of us will master the craft the way we'd like, so why get hung up on words? Does it matter if you call yourself a potter, how you reached the point of calling yourself a potter, or whether others call you a potter?

 

Clay can be taken in so many different directions--sculpture, architecture, decorative vessels, functional vessels--does the term potter cover all of these? If ceramics are items made of baked clay, maybe a better term would be ceramist, or--as Marcia says--an artist working in clay. But, if your heart says you're a potter, perhaps you are.

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I have been making pots for 37 years now. I graduated from art school in 1975 and have been involved in making pottery in one way or another since then. I teach art. I have a studio where I throw pots every weekend, but I still feel that I haven't done it all. I can't make those thrown and coil pots called Ongi that the Koreans make. I sell everything I make. I test glazes, I make my own glazes. I work in earthenware, stoneware and porcelain.

I guess I'm a potter.

TJR.

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When can you call yourself a potter?

 

After you wear your finger prints off.

 

 

Or if you've ever superglued cracks on your fingertips so you can keep throwing.

 

 

wow Shirley..that is hard core!!!!!I'll call you a potter any day!

Marcia

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When can you call yourself a potter?

 

After you wear your finger prints off.

 

 

Or if you've ever superglued cracks on your fingertips so you can keep throwing.

 

 

wow Shirley..that is hard core!!!!!I'll call you a potter any day!

Marcia

 

 

How about cut your hands to pieces with a metal rib someone left in the clay before it went through the pug mill, and then finished out the semester!

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When can you call yourself a potter?

 

After you wear your finger prints off.

 

 

Or if you've ever superglued cracks on your fingertips so you can keep throwing.

 

 

wow Shirley..that is hard core!!!!!I'll call you a potter any day!

Marcia

 

 

How about cut your hands to pieces with a metal rib someone left in the clay before it went through the pug mill, and then finished out the semester!

 

 

OWWWWW! You win!

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I'm a studio potter

after 40 years making pots and 38 years selling them full time-thats what I am

I think everyone has a different take on what Potter is

When in collage I thought I was a potter but looking back I was a clay student more

When that became my means of support I felt I was a studio potter

 

Now I realize there are many hobbists with clay who call themselves potters and thats just fine

as the terminology is all semantics for me

Mark

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I do not know how this is defined in US, but here in Croatia we have things sorted like this:

 

a. potter ("loncar" in croatian language) is a pearson who makes potts on a wheel, mainly tableware etc.

 

b. ceramic artist is a pearson who creates objects functional or nonfunctional out of clay, on a wheel, handbuilt etc

 

So, after finishing my 4 years at School for art and design I got a diploma saying that I am Ceramic designer. During this 4 years of education we had to learn every tecnique (wheel, handbilding, slip casting, glazing, firing, but also complete technology theory, design theory, history of art, history of cermaics.....) Therefore I am officaly Ceramic designer, but I did not use this title until I have started working with clay.

 

When I relaized that I cut my fingernails every 3-4 days, that most important is that I am not out of clay insted out of bread in house, when I started taking care that I do not fire kiln if there is a storm comming and my pots might stay in kiln for few hours without heat, when most of my make up is slip on my face I relaized that that I have started living clay, and that now I can say I am ceramic designer.

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I was reading this topic on a Friday after the students have all gone home. There are the flip answers-cracked fingers, no finger prints etc. There are the hierachical answers-I was at the Bray, I went to this grad school etc. I scrolled down reading peoples' answers, and was surprised that I had already commented.My wife was asked; "What's it like living with an artist?"

She replied- "Well, you never get to pick paint colours, You never get to pick furniture,or garden plants or.. on and on.

I didn't realize that it was do hard for her. I am pretty particular about what I surround myself with. I do call myself an artist, and I do make functional pottery. My back also hurts from sitting at my wheel. Can I be in the club?

TJR.

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I was reading this topic on a Friday after the students have all gone home. There are the flip answers-cracked fingers, no finger prints etc. There are the hierachical answers-I was at the Bray, I went to this grad school etc. I scrolled down reading peoples' answers, and was surprised that I had already commented.My wife was asked; "What's it like living with an artist?"

She replied- "Well, you never get to pick paint colours, You never get to pick furniture,or garden plants or.. on and on.

I didn't realize that it was do hard for her. I am pretty particular about what I surround myself with. I do call myself an artist, and I do make functional pottery. My back also hurts from sitting at my wheel. Can I be in the club?

TJR.

 

 

OK but don't say you haven't been warned eh? Trina

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TJR - Sounds like your more in the club than I am. :)

 

 

On the main topic, I would actually go more for: When can you call yourself a ceramic artist.

I only took a few semesters of wheel throwing, my interests lie elsewhere. Ceramics is not my main source of income (even though I keep telling everyone that's my plan), I still consider myself an accomplished ceramic artist. As far as the layman is concerned though, I'm a potter, it's just easier that way. I think when they see someone that makes objects out of clay that is reasonably skilled at it, they consider that person a potter.

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I was reading this topic on a Friday after the students have all gone home. There are the flip answers-cracked fingers, no finger prints etc. There are the hierachical answers-I was at the Bray, I went to this grad school etc. I scrolled down reading peoples' answers, and was surprised that I had already commented.My wife was asked; "What's it like living with an artist?"

She replied- "Well, you never get to pick paint colours, You never get to pick furniture,or garden plants or.. on and on.

I didn't realize that it was do hard for her. I am pretty particular about what I surround myself with. I do call myself an artist, and I do make functional pottery. My back also hurts from sitting at my wheel. Can I be in the club?

TJR.

 

 

OK but don't say you haven't been warned eh? Trina

 

 

Made me laugh! You know I am from Canada,eh? Most of us don't say "eh" all the time. We do say "oot and aboot." Can't help it. It's our dipthong talking, eh?

TJR

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I was reading this topic on a Friday after the students have all gone home. There are the flip answers-cracked fingers, no finger prints etc. There are the hierachical answers-I was at the Bray, I went to this grad school etc. I scrolled down reading peoples' answers, and was surprised that I had already commented.My wife was asked; "What's it like living with an artist?"

She replied- "Well, you never get to pick paint colours, You never get to pick furniture,or garden plants or.. on and on.

I didn't realize that it was do hard for her. I am pretty particular about what I surround myself with. I do call myself an artist, and I do make functional pottery. My back also hurts from sitting at my wheel. Can I be in the club?

TJR.

 

 

OK but don't say you haven't been warned eh? Trina

 

 

Made me laugh! You know I am from Canada,eh? Most of us don't say "eh" all the time. We do say "oot and aboot." Can't help it. It's our dipthong talking, eh?

TJR

 

 

I am a great white norther myself, hense the salt and pepper shakers in my profile picture. Trina

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It takes about 10,000 hours to master anything. Once one spends this amount of time doing something they should be able to press the outer limits of the field. However I believe that you can call yourself a potter if you are currently practicing pottery, whether you are a master or a novice. When you make your first real investment in the tools and materials to make pots and then use those tools to turn the materials into pottery, you're a potter.

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You have learned to center clay on the potter's wheel and have thrown over 1,000+ pots, and you know how to wedge clay. You fire pots in your much beloved kiln, you decorate pots, load them in the kiln again. After that firing you put them on a shelf, and have to figure out a way to clear the shelves and decide to sell the pots and you buy more shelves for more pots. You are buying more clay and plaster for making molds and lumber for cottle boxes. You buy more wood modeling tools because you can never have enough of those. You think silk sponges are beautiful. You have recently purchased supplies for more clay work instead of some much needed personal items. You see regular household purchases in terms of how much clay you can get instead. You are fascinated by Home Depot, Lowes and hardware stores. You are obsessed with brushes and will spend $50.36 for one camel hair mop for applying glaze (which is very beautiful by the way) but complain about the price of bread.

You are called a potter.

 

I haven't been potting all that long, but by your definition, I'm a potter and that is how I discribe myself to others. ~Laurel~

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