[Clayart] old statue found

vpitelka at dtccom.net vpitelka at dtccom.net
Sat Aug 6 03:26:29 UTC 2022

Hi Snail - 
You are always eloquent in your writing, and I know from experience in your in-person speech as well.  I don't think anyone here is implying that handmade is aesthetically or functionally better than slip-cast or ram-pressed.  But there is a level of achievement and satisfaction in having mastered the skills to make fine handmade craft objects.  My wish is that craftspeople be truthful about the processes they use in creating their craft, and that we all work to perpetuate the continuity of truly handmade fine craft. 
- 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: Friday, August 5, 2022 6:20 PM
To: Clayart international pottery discussion forum <clayart at lists.clayartworld.com>
Subject: Re: [Clayart] old statue found

> On Aug 5, 2022, at 1:14 PM, paul gerhold <gerholdclay at gmail.com> wrote:
> I usually agree with Snail on most posts but what this post is saying is that definition and by extension integrity in the pottery profession does not matter. 

I did not mean to sound as if I was soapboxing that position, so much as exploring the ramifications of our topic. Definition matters a great deal to me, but I question whether that concern can be brought into the public sphere in any useful way. Trade groups in some industries have thrown substantial cash into clarifying their terms for public understanding, but in the absence of such resources, can we effect change in perception, or merely be affected by it and adjust our work accordingly? (or not.)

I'd also like to discuss the question of ‘integrity’ in this context.  It seems to be at the crux of the high feelings on this topic. 

I use the word to mean an ethical congruence between how something is represented and its actuality. If the meaning of the word ‘handmade' is ambiguous, can there be an 'integrity gap’ if a usage is still consistent with the vernacular? Or must it be deliberate obfuscation or misrepresentation? Deliberate lies are clearly unacceptable, but how do we judge the grey area of interpretation? The law defines what materials can be called ‘chocolate’, for instance, and what processes can be called 'drop-forged’, but who defines ‘handmade’ in ceramics? Do we really want a governing board of terminology?

Is ‘handmade’ morally or ethically superior to other forms of production? Is its benefit to the end user equivalent, or at least linked, to the maker’s experience, fundamentally different, or fully decoupled? What makes ‘handmade’ a thing that matters to anyone but the maker? I know what it means to me - I gave up architecture because I needed to be the person manipulating the materials, not just directing the design. But what is it to you? or to the user? 

Let’s discuss!


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