[Clayart] automation

Robert Harris robertgharris at gmail.com
Thu Sep 9 15:37:18 UTC 2021

And as a final thought on this subject.

I have seen potters whose work is, for all intents and purposes exactly the
same as the stuff they were making in the 70s and 80s. I'm not suggesting
they should be following the Zeitgeist, but we all change as we grow older
... if their pots are not changing,  as they themselves change, how is
their "handmade" pottery truly meaningful?

And I also have a good friend who is into his 80s, and in the 7 years I
have known him, his work has changed from bright low fired glossy pots
(slab built) with almost watercoloresque decoration, to more earth toned
terra sig with a few bright streaks, to a little bit in between. (And his
forms have also changed somewhat though still recognizably his).  All of
which is different from the wheel thrown stoneware he made in the 1970s. He
is constantly pushing himself. He doesn't just sit down and turn himself
into a one man factory.

On Wed, Sep 8, 2021, 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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