[Clayart] Ceramic programs… my take…

vpitelka at dtccom.net vpitelka at dtccom.net
Mon Apr 25 23:38:23 UTC 2022

Hi Snail - 
I like Mel's response, and I agree with him.  Anyone going into chemistry must learn all the tools, materials, and processes of chemistry - essentially the craftsmanship of chemistry, and they teach those tools, materials, and processes in any university chemistry program.  Anyone going into medicine must learn the craftsmanship of whatever branch of medicine - same thing.  I don't see how you can approach studio art from a completely different point of view.  Whatever branch of studio art, you have to learn the tools, materials, and processes, the craftsmanship of the particular branch of art, in order to make art effectively.  You can't even hire people to make your art effectively unless you are thoroughly familiar with the tools, materials, and processes of the medium. 

Once you accept that premise, then a high level of proficiency in tools, materials, and processes can be effectively employed to realize the artists conceptual intent, and it makes little difference whether you are talking about art that happens to be utilitarian objects like pottery, or art featuring 2-D imagery that elicits psychological and emotional response, or art that fills a huge gallery with porcelain sunflower seeds.  
- Vince

Vince Pitelka
Potter, Writer, Teacher
Chapel Hill, NC
vpitelka at dtccom.net

-----Original Message-----
From: Clayart <clayart-bounces at lists.clayartworld.com> On Behalf Of Snail Scott
Sent: Monday, April 25, 2022 3:19 PM
To: Clayart international pottery discussion forum <clayart at lists.clayartworld.com>
Subject: Re: [Clayart] Ceramic programs… my take…

I know I have had this argument with Vince quite a few times, but I still believe that the academic environment of a college or university is not the ideal setting to learn to be a craft potter, or for such instruction to occur. This is not to say it has not been accomplished well in many colleges, but usually in spite of the academic environment, not because of it. Why expect anything but academic-style art to arise from the academic environment? Art that takes advantage of that intellectual milieu, draws on other disciplines and fields of knowledge, and expects the same from its viewers, is a natural fit for a college art program. Production craft is not. This is not denigrating the value of that craft in any way, but I don’t go to a seafood stand for good steak, or a symphony hall for a foot-stompin' barn dance. Condemning a university for not being a trade school is equally absurd, and devalues both.


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