Can you tell me which of these pictures of pitchers is CRAP and which is entirely handmade by Gary, from clay to pitcher form to painted flowers?
(painting flowers Monday on those vases which were fired to 2200 degrees Tuesday and now you see it Thursday)
People really have no idea what we do. Let me define a couple of things, according to my understanding:
studio potter or simply POTTER: we design and decorate and fire and sell the pot, in short, we do EVERYTHING from clay to finished piece (I am so PROUD to be a studio potter)
sculptor: forms clay into figures or shapes by hand (I am so proud of being a sculptor, too!)
ceramist: I don't know where the f!!k this word came from in recent years, but it is some kind of fancy new age term for somebody who works in clay (sculptor or potter)--it is a term for people who think it is embarrassing or lowbrow to be a POTTER
ceramic designer: draws a picture of a vase in NY city and has a factory in China produce it by workers making 2 dollars a day, a ceramic designer might just be a millionaire....
crap: crap is the moldmade stuff that little kids paint glaze on at birthday parties, it is also the vast majority of stuff made by ceramic designers and factories
China: as in, fancy clay pieces designed by a ceramic designer and made in a factory--some of it may look nice, but it is still mostly crap
"pottery": my quotes--there is a lot of stuff out there that people call pottery, but it is, in fact, factory made and ceramic designer produced, and MOST PEOPLE can't seem to tell the difference between what I do and what is made in a factory, GAWDAMMIT!
It must be a failure of the school systems.
The questions I get at fairs "you made this yourself?" "do you use molds?" "do you paint on the decoration or just print the patterns?" COULD drive you nuts, but actually, it is a chance to politely explain what I do, which surprises people. They have a lot of assumptions, and with a pleasant chat I can educate most people about what a potter does....
It’s always nice to educate the public when they want to know what we do.
Oh, shucks. I was waiting for a picture of crap.
It seems that many endeavors (like liberal arts education, spiritual care) require more interpreting for the broader public. Years ago a real live potter said to me (a hobbyist) "you are a potter even if you don't sell work because you do the work and continue to learn (about the clay, the processes all of it). I think I understand why you are proud to be called a potter and to do the work.
We've all been asked those same questions, so many times! It seems that it often depends on the type of show, just how many of the questions come up. The more carnival type food vendors, the more dumb questions. Rarely a dumb question at the League of NH Craftsmen's Fair. I guess if you are dishing out $12 to get into the show, you know the difference between crap and fine craft.
Just last week I had someone message me, asking where their customized piggy bank was... they had ordered it 5 days prior.
"The difference is that this was made with love, piece by piece by piece." Perhaps that could be your final sentence after explaining all of the hard work that goes into one?
In a corner of your stand you could display a few pictures of the work in progress, from shapeless clay to finished product. Or a small collection of pieces gone wrong, to make them realize the hard work behind your beautiful pottery.
It hardly seems fair that the ceramic designer is the one with the financial reward. Do they get the same buzz opening the shipping container as we do opening the kiln? Do they step back and look at the work with wonder thinking..."I made that"
Post a Comment