[Clayart] moral judgment

mel jacobson melpots2 at visi.com
Fri Jul 15 14:33:36 EDT 2016

i told joe koons one day that in my life, people would say that
`hamada is irrelevant` .  the fact is,  that hamada and leach gave us 
studio ceramics, that would spread to thousands of americans and then 
the world.  we should all say thank you from time to time.  the world 
did not start the year you were born. and,  we do not copy hamada and 
leach, we thank them for
the joy of making things from clay.

 a major movement began with them.  many do not understand that they are 
still a part of
that movement. and, will be for your entire life. but, there are forces 
out there that want all of that destroyed, beaten to death...all for the
sake of `do it a new way`.  but, i have seen repeated art form that 
folks feel are unique and all theirs....not true at all.  all you
need do is go to shows.  open cm. when it all looks the same, we are in 

we all make very important judgments every day.
i am always hopeful that judgments are made with experience, education 
and powerful opinions that are honest and helpful.  everyone of you
on this list trust judgments all the time.  you send your work to be 
`judged`,  if the judgement is in your favor you praise the
wonderful judge as being smart and really with it. if you are rejected 
you probably think they are awful people and stupid as hell. it has 
become politically correct to reject making judgments, yet we all do it 
all the time. we pretend we are open and non critical.  that is as stupid as
can be.....it is human nature to judge others,  and in art...we look at 
the books and magazines, visit the shows and decide if we are going to 
like it, reject it, or copy it.  we all take bits and pieces of what we 
see and experience. that is `human judgment.`

 i have referred several times to conversations i had with uchida, leach 
and hamada...they all, to the man said that my `experiences in the japanese
studio should be accepted, but not copied`. `you are an american 
norwegian potter from minnesota...go home and be that.  you can never be 
japanese.`  i have tried to do that in my work.  i want it to have my 
own stamp on it, not others. i have never been a part of the
`minnesota mingei` system` that so many made fun of.  that is why i 
alter clay, make my own glazes, fire to cone 11+...it was my life long 
quest for black shino.

all one has to do is turn on the radio, the tv, the internet and people 
are shouting `moral judgments` at you
24/7.  why do you accept one as total truth,  and reject the other????  
because those moral judgments are probably close to your own.  it is 
human nature too  believe what you hear from others, but is really your 

 to plagiarize is illegal and a moral disease.  as artists,  it should 
be at the front of our minds all the time.  we should
be able to accept technique, recipes, and ideas without `taking`.   all 
of that is for you, free for the using.  we share and teach
`how to`...we do not teach `there is only one way`.   we are sponges of 
visual learning in most cases.  we see, we ingest, we stir it around and 
out it comes. i have never made uchica white on white stoneware...i 
avoid his forms. but, i sure know how to manipulate clay as a professional
potter.  that was learned.  it is why i went to japan.  i cannot 
remember a time that uchida gave me  `moral
he taught me to make my pots, my way.  but for sure, he had some very 
important aesthetic ideas that he made me aware of, and think through in
my own life. to study aesthetics is not about moral judgments....it is 
about acceptance and rejection.  it is about `what do you
believe in?  you then own it. 

from: minnetonka, mn
website: www.melpots.com
clayart:  www.melpots.com/clayart.html
melpots2 at visi.com

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