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listening to teachers

updated fri 17 may 02

 

Jeff Tsai on wed 15 may 02


Hey Janet,

I find your ideas intriguing, and I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter,
but seriously, I do agree with you mostly. I know it's an important lesson
to
learn, especially for people seeking to work in a lifetime of pottery
making.
I guess I approach things differently, not better, just differently.

I still don't see any problem with her fixing the piece if she really likes
it. In the end, it might just sit on a shelf and not get used in her home.
Hell, I've seen potters using teapots for all sorts of non-tea, non-water
related things. I know it's just one pot, but I don't see the harm in
indulging her desire for this piece to remain functional.

Yes, I agree, just making another is easier and faster. Yes, I agree, you
can
learn from not fixing it. But she could do both. fix and make another. Learn
from both experiences. She can, inevitably, do whatever she pleases, but I
won't make the assumption that she wants to be a potter for the rest of her
life and therefore deny her one solution because I think it's better for
her
to learn another. I always liked the way my professor answered my
questions...though sometimes I wish he'd stop answering at some points. I'd
pose simple, seemingly simple anyway, questions, and he would rattle off
anywhere from 2 to 15 possibilities. He'd tell me the likeliest one to work
in his view, but he left the decision to me in the end. THat's how I
appraoched this question. I suggested how she could fix the pot...but I also
said, and while it's being rebisqued, throw another one. I try not to limit
suggestions because that's what I like in answers (maybe that's a bit
imposing of myself on the wants and likes of others) but it's what I do.

Anyway, I know what your saying Janet. And, for this situation, your
suggestion is actually the one I'd follow. But it isn't my pot.

-jeff

Janet Kaiser on wed 15 may 02


As you have noticed, all the advice fell into two categories, Jeff.
Possible repair methods or simple chuck it posts. Given the three
points of the original question: cracked teapot, critique coming up
shortly and advice sought and received from teacher, the advice given
by various Clayarters, including your good self, were either the wish
to appease the student in the short term (repair) or a long term
lesson in what is sensible behaviour for a serious potter (start
again).
Fiddling around repairing a reproducible functional piece is not good
time management, apart from other considerations.

After stating "I am making teapots" (plural), it would also appear
that there are other pots, so why waste time on this one? The best of
the bunch? Well, get going and make a better one! Stretch yourself,
beat eggs with a big stick and don't cry over spilt milk! Learn from
mistakes. Ask why the pot cracked and avoid the same mistake. It is
not a lost pot in that it helped the learning curve. It can still be
used as a reference or starting point for work on another pot or whole
new series. Isn't that new "technical knowledge" enough?

No repair method is guaranteed and a teapot of all things is not a
good candidate for repair, given its intended final use. In fine art
ceramics, the wholeness of the piece is not necessarily the
be-all-and-end-all, but in a functional piece it is part of the raison
d'Ítre. Had it been a sculptural work, I am sure the number of repair
methods would have been in the majority and not vice versa. As the
archives will show, there are hundreds of similar questions and
answers.

There are certainly situations which call for questioning a teacher
and trying to find one's own way around problems, however this was not
(from the limited information given) one of those times. The teachers
on this list and elsewhere presume that beginners are aiming towards a
life-time of making pots, possibly as a full-time career. There is
more depth to an answer than is usually written in words and appears
to the superficial reader. One very important lesson we all learned
early on, was not to be precious about a single pot. Throwing away or
hammering a pot teaches us to move on, something far more important
than a quick fix, which only produces a bodged pot of neither use nor
ornament. As students there is all the time in the world to make and
learn new techniques, but one first has to learn when behaviour is
appropriate and when it is not. Patching pots is simply a waste of
valuable time when each and every maker potentially has hundreds of
thousands of pots "inside" wanting to get out. Why stop the creative
flow by tutting around a malformed pot like a mother hen? It is just a
pot for goodness sake!

Janet Kaiser
The Chapel of Art / Capel Celfyddyd
Home of The International Potters' Path
8 Marine Crescent : Criccieth : GB-Wales
URL: http://www.the-coa.org.uk
postbox@the-coa.org.uk
----- Original Message -----

> I've been reading through the posts for fixing bisque cracks, and I
had a
> couple responses, not to suggestions on fixing the piece, but to
responses of
> other kinds.

Jim Bob Salazar on thu 16 may 02


the whole broken pot issue can go on forever. do i fix it do i put it in
the slip
bucket or the trash. not everything we make is so precious that it cannot
be made
again, it's clay. as a professor i teach to put the cracked pot in the slip
bucket
and recycle it rather than firing it and having a "cracked" or "repaired"
pot that
will be here on our earth forever cracked and signed by the "artist". if
you want
to keep it take a slide of it and look at every now and then. make another
pot
using what you learned about the last one and have one you will be proud to
have
your name on and proud for someone to own. just make another one!

jim bob

islandplace on thu 16 may 02


Nicholas Virgette was head of the ceramics department when I was in school
and after watching me continually labor over reworking a pot, he asked me to
bring him my best piece, which I did. He then said ,"now break it". I
learned that nothing is sacred and everything replaceable.
Mike
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jim Bob Salazar"
To:
Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2002 11:53 AM
Subject: Re: listening to teachers


> the whole broken pot issue can go on forever. do i fix it do i put it in
the slip
> bucket or the trash. not everything we make is so precious that it cannot
be made
> again, it's clay. as a professor i teach to put the cracked pot in the
slip bucket
> and recycle it rather than firing it and having a "cracked" or "repaired"
pot that
> will be here on our earth forever cracked and signed by the "artist". if
you want
> to keep it take a slide of it and look at every now and then. make
another pot
> using what you learned about the last one and have one you will be proud
to have
> your name on and proud for someone to own. just make another one!
>
> jim bob
>
>
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