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info sharing/ leaching/safety/future/

updated sat 6 may 00


Liz Gowen on fri 5 may 00

This is one area of pottery that always used to frustrate me so. I used to
work in both pottery and medicine/science. With science research was
constantly being done and the results published so the other doctors or
scientist could use it and move on to the next part of the ladder to conquer
the unknown. These discoveries were not hidden for generations but
published, put their name on the technique, be proud of what you discovered
and share it with the world. There was a bit of this in the pottery world
with the journal articles but was generally a minority. I think clayart is
where it is really opening up. The closer to real time factor lets things
happen faster, and progress faster, this is great. We must be careful of the
review board for the articles like the journals have to maintain their
reputations. Only each person protecting their own reputation, and there are
many on here with excellent bio's. This is not in any way trying to slow
down all the" try this way type of messages, works for me" they are
invaluable . Just know as said numerous times before that not every glaze
will work in every kiln with every potter the same way. Some folks are
trying to narrow this down a bit, why and why not. Experiment , record
keeping and reporting will move this forward. Enough for today.
Liz Gowen NJ USA
-----Original Message-----
From: mel jacobson
Date: Thursday, May 04, 2000 3:23 PM
Subject: leaching/safety/future

----------------------------Original message----------------------------
one of the greatest legacies that clayart will give to the future
of the pottery world will be the information that is given truthfully
about the safety of ceramics in the home and school.

the biggest myth about clay and glaze is: it is totally safe and fun.
just mess with the earth, mud pies. and we can bake it.

our discussion about leaching, the work of ron, john and others in building
totally safe glazes, the information of monona and others as to the
toxic qualities of ceramics and the control of such elements in our studios
is one of our most important learning tools.

teaching, giving, and learning is what will make clayart stronger and
the dissemination of quality information, or as we hope, the truth,
what will guarantee our future as a force in our chosen avocation or

when we discuss what articles will do for us, let us turn that around
and say.....`what will the giving of good information do for ceramics?`
we all know how we hate reading the `chest pounding` articles
in any magazine. `hey, look at me, i am wonderful, the best pots
ever made in the history of the world`...usually bullshit.

what most of us like best is the receiving of good information that we
can put into practice in our own studios. how often have we peeked
behind the photos in cm, just to see what sits on the shelves, or
under the cupboards in the potters studio being featured? we all crave
a new idea, recipe, formula that will help make our pots better. when
truthful information is passed, it helps everyone. good science is going
to be the future of ceramics, we have to have the correct information.
not myth. what we do with that information will create the great myths
of the next generations. we have made a difference.

i have talked to tom buck about the need for more ceramic engineers
that will concentrate on ceramic pottery rather than `super conductivity`
or materials science. others at nceca have agreed, and are trying to
make a difference. there is a small movement going on to find young
people that may want to be clay people in a different way.

the balance of good art, science, technique, skills and mastery is what
will give the future a good start. these funny computers that we all have
that give us the ability to interact is a great gift. we have to make
it work for us. it is one of my jobs as moderator to see that junk, breast
beating and ego driven information stays off the cyber ways. i am going
to give that my best shot. and you will all help by debunking the junk.

i have some new ideas that i will be bringing you soon. i did not
want to get involved in the `gift` thing...but, we will be able to
honor our best one day soon. the best gift of all. honor and respect.

what we do every day is important. we must believe that. we are not
children playing with clay. we are a part of the worlds oldest craft,
a part of the great science of clay that has changed the world.

written from the farm in wisconsin