Sunday, September 26, 2010

Is it still yours????



Why do I always think of the question I wanted to ask when I'm in my car and headed home after the presentation? I drove in on Friday for a guest lecture by Trudy Golley of Red Deer College in Alberta. The lecture was hosted in our plaster room that seems to get used more as a lecture room than plaster room. Trudy showed some very interesting work with attention paid to shadows and reflections or aura's. Trudy and  jeweler husband Paul Leathers have been spending sometime in China. While in China Trudy can have a mold made and a pot fired overnight. It seems a number of ceramic artists are now setting up in China to have professional mold makers, kiln firers, china painters etc etc complete the process after initial design by the artist. This is not unusual in industry it just strikes me as short cutting the process. The questions could then be asked of me- do you dig your own clay? Do you grind your own feldspar? Did you make your Thomas Stuart wheel?  I have always enjoyed the process of making and firing. I somehow am not sure if I would consider it mine if I designed it and turned over the rest of the process to someone else. I wish I had thought of the question on Friday. There is a good answer!

5 comments:

FetishGhost said...

Designer/Artist is an acceptable title for many. The pay is often better.

John Bauman said...

I'm probably going to kick myself for responding. I'm probably going to rear back and kick again for thinking I could say in a sentence or two what I should instead ponder for a while and respond in a dozen paragraphs. Or perhaps ruminate even longer and respond in a well-formed word or two.

But for me, much of it boils down to several considerations:

1. Truth in "advertising". I have made my living for the past 33 years at art fairs. Art fairs are a dying marketing model for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the lack of integity exhibited by the charlatans who know darn well that the strength of that market was built on the the concept of the handmade, the inherent rarity of product made by hand, and the understood value that such rarity implies. But those charlatans brought their mass-manufactured work -- disguised as handmade -- to the shows anyway until they defrauded and jaded an entire generation of buyers.

2. The other side of the coin: The question, once the notion of deceptive advertising (presenting something as something it is not) is ethically satisfied, becomes, "how bold are you? How assured are you that the concept you intend to have manufactured in your stead is worth the risk and expense.....both financially and on your lifestyle choices (do you want to be more of a marketer than a potter?)?

Heck, if recent history has shown us anything, it is that obscene value has been place on manufactured objects -- even when it can be proven that there is little correlation between such value and notions of rarity.

I definitely shade toward the single pot, singly made. I believe I've chosen this life because I

John Bauman said...

Curiousity's got this cat in its grip. I had to revisit this post to see all of what I knew just had to be dozens of comments. This issue is huge.

I'm amazed at the lack of replies. But, then, I suppose it's this very apathy that's making it such a huge issue.

It's a curious thing to be at the tail end of a phenomenon that you never knew existed in the first place.

Anna said...

Ceramic artists are also going to China for the quick turn around of slip cast products. Having cheap technical assistance means more work can be produced in a shorter time and at a lower cost. The risk with tableware etc is the design is quickly copied and larger runs made that then devalue the original.

Kurt Wensmann said...

What I think is funny is that William Morris and John Ruskin built a whole art/crafts movement on rebuffing that manufactured for the handmade and now we are going back on that. As they say in Kiwi Land, "Thats Interesting"