For the last couple of months I haven’t had much time to work. Which means I’ve been dreaming of that faraway between the sea and the mountains, working with local clays to the harmonious melody of birds and waves. Not yet…
There is always much to be excited about in the use of clays. I occasionally read about great masters of the past and present who never got sick of working with clay. There was always so much to learn and so many variables in the process that surprises were emminent in every firing and with every new body of clay, and every new idea. This, coupled with the observation that ceramic artists (and any artist worth their salt) seem hard-wired to experimentation. And when it comes to working with clay, there are a myriad of avenues one can proceed down.
. Perhaps the aim should simply be doing it the best one can, making an effort towards quality. In this I don’t mean perfection, that would imply perfect control of all the variables, perfect understanding inside every second of the process of making. Sincerity in the pursuit of the upper limits of one’s ability translating into authenticity in final product.
The great art and social critic John Ruskin said:
“There is hardly anything in this world that some man cannot make a little worse
and sell a little cheaper, . . . and the people who consider price only are this man’s lawful prey.”
We could easily substitute the word ‘man’ for ‘factory’ in this quote. But for some time now, people have been returning to the handmade. The handmade in all areas of possible craft. Many people are now willing to spend that extra shilling on something which they can see came from someone, rather than only somewhere; where design is only part of the story of a piece; where plates have personality and cups, character; where functionality is a secondary consideration; where objects are bought with the heart, head has to pay for it; where inspiration bounces down a chain of transmission from something, to someone to others…