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colorful slipware trends/handmade wares

updated fri 16 aug 02


vince pitelka on fri 16 aug 02

> Galleries have finally seen the light and are willing to carry
> ceramic sculpture
> and limited edition pieces... but now we can't find the potters. They now
> understand and want "potters pots"... but schools are teaching every
student to
> become a sculptor (2% of the ceramics market)...

Wendy -
I know that many clay programs across the country have turned to sculpture
as a matter of survival. It is an incredibly short-sighted move, when one
views the history of world art, but it is designed to please the art-world
mainstream power structure which controls so many art programs. Money is
tight, and when the department is controlled by painting, drawing,
sculpture, printmaking, and art history, the first things to get cut are
craft media traditionally associated with utility - jewelry/metals, fibers,
and clay. So clay programs have gone sculptural, or have been absorbed into
a generic "3-D" area, in order to survive.

But that is not the case in our clay program and in many other universities
clay programs. Our mission specifically states a commitment to the finest
professional fine craft education. We certainly do not exclude sculptural
approaches, but I am a potter, and the majority of my students are potters.
I have several very strong potters close to graduation, and they will do
well out there. It is good to hear that such work is in high demand.

This could easily evolve into another dialogue defaming or defending
assisted technologies, but that is an inevitable cyclical dialogue anyway.
It is great to hear from Wendy that there are galleries that want genuine
one-of-a-kind handmade pots that are not slip-cast, jiggered, or
ram-pressed. I am supportive of any potter that wants to do high
production, and I do not condemn assisted technologies when the maker is
completely honest about the processes used in the making. But face it,
individually handmade wares are special, and they are a tier above any wares
mass-produced via assisted technologies.
Best wishes -
- Vince

Vince Pitelka
Appalachian Center for Crafts
Tennessee Technological University
1560 Craft Center Drive, Smithville TN 37166
Home -
Work -
615/597-6801 ext. 111, fax 615/597-6803