[Clayart] more handmade

David Hendley farmpots at eastex.net
Sat Aug 6 22:47:32 UTC 2022

On 8/6/2022 3:01 PM, ronroy at ca.inter.net wrote:
> I can remember in the 60's having the same discussions about hand 
> made. There were some who maintained that pots made with a wheel we 
> not hand made. They were the hand builders of course.
> Needless to say that I considered all the pots and installations I 
> made were all hand made.
> But let me ask this. During the Sung dynasty labor in the pottery 
> factories was divided - one person made the clay, another made the 
> glaze, another did the throwing, another the trimming and yet another 
> the firing. All done by hand except for the limited use of machinery 
> but mostly by hand. Do we think of those pots as hand made?
In a word, yes, division of labor is not really the same discussion as 
'handmade' or not.
Let me reiterate that 'handmade' does not mean 'good' or artistic, and 
vice versa.
It's the process.
Great cast ceramic work, done by a true artist, and displayed in a 
museum is wonderful,
but the description should read 'slip cast ceramic', just a the tag for 
a photograph
should, and usually does, disclose the type of print, and the tag for a 
print describes
the process.

I recently watched a YouTube video of a pottery factory in India. It was 
about 15
minutes long, but held my attention because the division of labor was so 
extreme it
became amusing.
One person put the clay on the wheel, the potter threw it, and another 
person took
it off the wheel, another carried it to a drying rack, et cetera, et cetra.
When it came to glazing, one person applied glaze #1 to the piece, then 
the next
applied glaze #2. Another glazed only the lids.
Finally, when the huge kiln was being unloaded, there was a line of 
about 20 folks,
and the pots were passed from and to hand, from the kiln to the shipping 
I wouldn't be surprised if 100 people were involved in turning the raw 
clay into a
finished pot!

David Hendley
david at farmpots.com

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