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copy of: changing opinions - giffin grip

updated fri 16 oct 98


John Baymore on thu 15 oct 98

This too fell into =22bit heaven=22 somehow. Apologies if it is a repost.

---------- Forwarded Message ----------

From: John Baymore, 76506,3102
TO: Clayart,
DATE: 10/11/98 11:59 AM

RE: Copy of: changing opinions - Giffin Grip

Similarly this go around most of the Giffin Grip responses are positive and
yet last time there were a lot of admonitions to learn to trim the =
way before taking a shortcut.

I still have no place in my studio for a 'Giffen Grip', and I know several
of my Clayart buddies feel the same way.I guess we are just tired of
swimming against the current and don't care to be swept away.

And yes, you students, I still think that even if there is a grip in your
ceramics classroom you would be better served to not touch it for a couple
of years.

This subject was hashed out a short while ago and I presume, it is in the
archives. For me it is not an issue of being (want to use a quote mark
here....but can't) swept away (unquote). I just know I have to pick and
choose things to post about ....what with having to make a living being a
potter and all (g). It would be easy to spend all my time here on CLAYART.

So since I had put some input into this subject on the last go around, it
just didn't seem like it was important enough an issue to readdress right
now. If you are interested in more detail about my (and others) opinion on
this one, please see the archives. Lots of info there for perusal and
thought. To sumarize a bit:

I too feel that this tool is over-hyped and overused. As has been
mentioned by others, I think other methods are at LEAST as good, if not
better. But they are only as good or better IF you take the time to learn
to do them. Time is the operant word here.

The Grip will allow someone to re-center a piece and hold it on the wheel
(within certain constraints) with no major skilled input from the user. It
does this pretty well.

What the Grip DOES do therefore, is allow someone to shortcut some skill
development issues. This instant gratification certainly fits our culture,
where the PRODUCT is the goal.... not including the process of getting
there and the learning involved as having any importance to the process at

It is possible that the skills learned in trimming things the other ways
are valuable in being a handcraft potter. Maybe not. I happen to think
so. As Hamada Shoji said in Art of the Potter..........=22Clay and =
good teacher.=22

If one is not already skilled in trimming things in many other ways, how
can that person make a reasonable judgement as to the appropriatness of the
use of this tool? Or WHEN it becomes appropriate to use it?

If you haven't trimmed with various types of cutting tools, how can you
evaluate one over another? If you haven't thrown on many types of wheels,
how can you decide which is better for you? If you haven't used numerous
kilns, how do you effectively compare them? This list of things requiring
some concrete EXPERIENCE base goes on and on.

Opinions from others are valuable.... but no substitute for actual
knowledge. The more the experience base when making a comparison or
evaluation, the more the validity of the final decision for the individual.

In this regard I'd like to quote (might be a tad off.... I don't have the
prayer book here) the opening of a piece from the high holiday services
from Judaism:

Birth is a beginning.
Death, a destination.
And life is a journey.

For me the learning process is an important part of the journey to be
savored, not avoided. I've been doiong this for about 30 years and I am
still learning incredible amounts. Hope to continue that until I die.
Someday, I hope that I will feel that I have become somewhat proficient in
this crazy field. There is SO much to learn. If I endeavor to learn...
maybe someday I will know.

I had a wonderful participant in my summer woodfiring workshop this summer
who it turned out, is studying clay at an art center with a teacher that so
happens to be a former student of mine (god.... am I getting old or what?).
Using sort of a hunting analogy, she quoted him as saying =22Pots are bird
dung. Aim at the bird.=22 Not sure if that is his or he was quoting =




John Baymore
River Bend Pottery
22 Riverbend Way
Wilton, NH 03086 USA