[Clayart] automation

Robert Harris robertgharris at gmail.com
Thu Sep 9 14:50:56 UTC 2021

For many of the pots that came out of his "Atelier", Hamada would only
touch them at the end, adding decoration, either with brush or ladle. (He
didn't even do the base glaze). Of course those pots were still handmade by
his apprentices, and they were probably sold as "Workshop" pots, not his

And Ken Matsuzaki's apprentices make pot bodies for him, which he then

And what would we call the great Imperial kilns of the Ming and Qing
dynasties? Everything was (+/-) handmade, because they didn't have much in
the way of machinery, on the other hand they were probably the first
"factories" because everything was made on a production line. Or more
specifically, each piece of the process was done by a different person, who
specialised. The throwers, the turners, the decorators etc. (The most
senior and best paid employee was the Kiln Master!). The same was true of
Wedgewood (which is why there was a specific person that was the Saggar
Maker's bottom knocker).

Let us be more concerned with the spirit of handmade than the precise

And going back to my first post ... truly personal design is the start! I
cannot draw. Really, truly. So design does not mean sitting with a CAD
program (which some potters like Del Harrow do), or even sitting and
sketching. To me it merely means thinking about making the look and feel of
your pot truly personal. Through thought, not just instinct or subconcious.


On Thu, 9 Sept 2021 at 08:34, paul gerhold <gerholdclay at gmail.com> wrote:

> Sure, right after you define the terms " master crafter" and what you mean
> by " the master had to touch the object throughout the creative process"
> And you might want to also define your use of the word " crafter". Without
> boundaries on your terms you can basically call anything made in a factory
> handmade as long as the piece is not mechanically moved from one machine to
> another.
> A simpler definition of handmade might be " An object  where the maker
> performs every step of the creation  from conception to the selection of
> the base components  ( which must be changed during making)  to the
> finished piece".
> Paul
> Sent from my iPad
> > On Sep 8, 2021, at 10:07 PM, Terry Lazaroff <terrylazaroff at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >
> > Paul; Can you elaborate.
> > Terry
> >
> > Sent from my iPad
> >
> >> On Sep 8, 2021, at 5:40 PM, paul gerhold <gerholdclay at gmail.com> wrote:
> >>
> >> You know that is just an attempt at justifying mass produced crap as
> art. Just go full factory and stop trying to make excuses for making more
> money than you could do actually making art.
> >>
> >> Paul
> >>
> >> Sent from my iPad
> >>
> >>>> On Sep 8, 2021, at 4:07 PM, Terry Lazaroff <terrylazaroff at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> Mel, I believe we should not focus on the term, “Hand Made.”  There
> are just too many exclusions or exceptions to the purity of your idea.
> >>>
> >>> In place we should be promoting the concept of “Crafts.”  In French it
> is, “Metiers d’arts.”
> >>>
> >>> One could establish some basic tenants to be required in order for an
> object to be called, craft by a crafter.  I am throwing my ideas out there,
> for further discussion and additions.
> >>>
> >>> 1.   The object created must come from an establishment that consisted
> of the master crafter, and, possibly an apprentice.
> >>>
> >>> 2.   The master had to touch the object throughout the creative
> process.
> >>>
> >>> 3.   The master could use any tools and machines necessary to create
> the object, however, one machine could not feed another machine, thus the
> crafter was required to manipulate the object at every step of the way.
> >>>
> >>> 4.    Materials used to create the object must undergo transformation
> from the original state, to becoming an element in the object.
> >>>
> >>> 5.    All elements in the object had to be  fabricated by the crafter.
> >>>
> >>> 6.   The crafter was required to show his/her mark within the object
> design.
> >>>
> >>> 7.   The work place could engage non crafters to carry out tasks such
> as: packers, accountants,  sales person,  and more.  These workers were not
> a participant  in the creation process.
> >>>
> >>> Just in passing Etsy defines Hand Made as combining two items together
> to arrive at a new object.   So I could purchase a blank ceramic cup, from
> one source, and a flower decal, from another source,  then put the decal on
> the cup,  and sell it as my creation.
> >>>
> >>> Food for thought.  Don’t shoot the messenger.
> >>> Terry
> >>>
> >>> Sent from my iPad
> >>>
> >>>>> On Sep 8, 2021, at 2:48 PM, mel jacobson <melpots at mail.com> wrote:
> >>>> I have argued for years that we must stop
> >>>> adding automation to a hand craft.  That is
> >>>> my sole story to the next generation of potters
> >>>> and clay artists.  That is my sole story.
> >>>>
> >>>> Every step you allow others to control is one
> >>>> more dagger in the heart of hand made ceramics.
> >>>>
> >>>> I work very hard to keep my work "hand made" or
> >>>> as much as I can.
> >>>>
> >>>> I just wish all of you could take a day from your
> >>>> life and visit David Hendley.  His house is hand made.
> >>>> His studio is hand made. His big wood kiln is hand made
> >>>> and he fires it himself most of the time.
> >>>>
> >>>> His glazes are hand made, and of course all the pots
> >>>> are hand made.  One of his passions is the love of
> >>>> the craft. And, I will never stop trying to protect
> >>>> the history of "hand made clay".
> >>>> mel
> >>>>
> >>>> website: www.melpots.com
> >>>> www.melpots.com/CLAYART.HTML
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