[Clayart] automation

Robert Harris robertgharris at gmail.com
Thu Sep 9 14:35:02 UTC 2021

I completely agree with all Snail's points!
How I wished we had better design than simply better "craftsmanship".
Making things by hand allows all sorts of design possibilities that would
be simply too hard with automation, and it's that, that should allow an end
user to appreciate the item they're using, not the simple moral superiority
that it's handmade. If your pots are practically indistinguishable from
something that "could" be handmade, why bother.

I make precise (i.e. not wabi-sabi!) porcelain pots (Mel would probably
hate them). Something you might think is closer to machine made (I've had
lots of people ask why I am not "looser", it's simply not my personality),
but because of the detailing in lip/rim, and the footrings and even the
curves of the body, they'd probably be extremely hard to make by machine.
Recently I've been trying to tie together a design style for mugs, bowls,
jugs, teapots etc so that there is a true bond of form, not just
decoration, between them.

Everyone should think about the design of their pots!

I'm trying to use instagram more but I seem to end up posting more errors
and glaze tests than pots, but you can see them @robertharrisporcelain.

On Wed, 8 Sept 2021 at 20:07, Snail Scott <claywork at flying-snail.com> wrote:

> Making something by hand doesn’t intrinsically make it better. Neither
> does making it mechanically. Making it _better_ makes it better. Some
> things ought to be made by hand, and gain some merit through either the
> evidence of the process, or its pragmatic or intangible benefits. And some
> things should not be made by hand, especially when precision, replication,
> or economies of scale are important.
> The benefits of handwork to the maker are very real, but they are not
> shared by the end user, except vicariously. A claim of moral superiority or
> spiritual connection does not improve either design or quality of
> execution. Not does efficiency or economy, or perfect duplication.
> A handmade garment is a marvelous thing when done right…perfectly fitted
> to its end user in form and style, using construction methods that improve
> the quality, methods which are simply not replicable by machine processes.
> A car is a terrible thing to make by hand! The cost of hand-forming the
> body panels alone would be astronomical, and some desirable parts (circuit
> boards? LED’s?) simply cannot be made by hand at all. Without machine
> assistance, and no part could be replaceable without precision custom
> machining…(machining! ;) )
> A badly-designed or badly-made object is not improved by its method of
> making. Nor devalued thereby. Only the quality of the item matters, and
> whether or not the means of making contributed to it.
> When we demand that the end user appreciate the fact that something is
> handmade, we assume that this knowledge will add value in their perception.
> But if they didn’t like it for itself, that demand will mean nothing. Make
> good work. Make it by the most appropriate means. Take joy in the making,
> or pride, or sustenance. Or all of these...
> -Snail
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