Stephani Stephenson on mon 1 dec 03
If I could also ask for a bit of understanding here all the way round.
Stepping in others' shoes is a good way to understand. I do think you
consider stepping in Lisa's shoes
to understand her work on her project. But I also think a bit of the
reverse is in order.
We are accustomed to people opening the field based on all kinds of
(this is a show based on wheel thrown work, this is a show for pieces
under 6", This is a book on majolica,
or based on a survey of all techniques).
Going all the way back to the playground, you quickly understand you
will be selected or not ,
based on many, many criteria. If there is a psychological difference
in this case, it is that, it feels like,
'I will accept EVERYONE, but you". So that is why it feels
exclusionary versus specialized.
I think that is not too hard to understand.
I felt it useful to sound out just how total this exclusion was on
use of molds, because people who submit
work also go through a certain amount of voluntary work and cost to
submit their images. Better to know if it is fruitless before the
getgo, yes? But also I think it is not a bad thing to question this
exclusion. This is an issue we have discussed many times, outside of
Lisa's calendar. The reason why it comes up is that many participating
members work in these ways.
Also, understand , if you can, that some react because there are still
some inaccuracies imbedded in language
used, which do cut like a knife. For example, in Lisa's clarification,
the word 'mass produced' , is used right next to the word 'mold-made',
as one phrase. This creates an INDELIBLE image (Horrors, not
mass-produced mold made crap!!!) which is hugely pejorative in the eyes
of this audience, even to those who DO use molds in some ways. The
proximity and combination of these two terms is not accurate, or
reflective of some of the work being done, or the processes used. This
phrasing is a slam, or if one begs the point, it looks, sounds and
reads like one. So , how can this phrase go by without response ? It is
also confusing , as many who work with molds are not in any way mass
So we are tryting to get to the crux of the matter. Is it really the
mold? or is the 'mass'? or what is it, really that is the core issue?
Yet also in the clarification, Lisa does say that a piece may in fact
contain SOME moldmade elements, as long as they are not the major
forming method, so , whether you agree or not, that is information that
is somewhat useful.
So it is also in the interests of educating others, promoting
acceptance, understanding, and standing up for good traditions of one's
ways of working, that I say this.I also think it is OK, it is sometimes
very useful, to examine attitudes , because yes, sometimes gaining
acceptance involves changing attitudes. It does not hurt wheelthrown
work in any way to this.
I imagine some of you wish the issue would go away and that the people
who work with molds would go away, but we are contributing members to
the group dialogue, so I guess we are part of the family, even if not
part of the calendar (bit of my humor there). In fact most of us do not
work exclusively with molds, we throw, we handbuild, we mix, we glaze.
And some DO work exclusively with molds, but we are here, we love what
we do, we ask and answer questions just like everyone else.
Discussion is one way prejudices are removed. Which is not to say
that the act of discerning, and judging is removed. It is not, and
never should be. No one questions the quality of work already chosen,
or the quality of the calendar. But I will probably keep knocking at
the door. Not of the calendar , necessarily, (hint: message received
loud and clear), but of the attitude and the issue when I see it in
Divisions abound in our field, and I am not referring to special nature
or focus of shows or collections. At one time, anything functional was
not art, not only in attitude but as legally defined by the customs
department. Potters had to break down barriers to have their hand
thrown works accepted and shown in museums. Some may say ,'who cares'
but many did care , and because of that we can see beautiful
collections of pottery from around the world in our art museums as well
as at our tables. I am sure those potters and pottery lovers were a
At one time, anything that was not representational was not considered
sculpture. Brancusi had a famous legal issue with customs with regard
So I think , in the shared history of potters, they, more than most,
would well remember the sting of doing good work and having a blind
eye turned to it, not because of the work, but because of the method
and because it 'was used' not just 'looked at'. To disqualify something
because it is also useful sounds absurd to a potter, but those who held
the exclusive view had a well documented and entrenched and righteous
views to support their case.
In some schools, all of the art professors were asked to show in the
faculty exhibit, EXCEPT the ceramics professor, or the 'pottery
teacher', (term used to indicate a lesser status).
Would you condemn the 'pottery teachers' for asking why their work was
Now of course,work with molds is accepted in the clay
community,alongside thrown and handbuilt work. and you will also find
it in the same museums, galleries and collections. Much of my work now
is with architectural ceramics and tile, and the history of this part
of the craft is a worthy one with beautiful work in the field. I still
do much of my work as one of, hand carved and modelled panels, and the
like, and I still handbuild, and even throw now and then, often compose
work with a hand carved central panel surrounded by mold pressed tile,
so it is basically a smorgasbord in my clay world. My focus, in
discussion, is not so much the art world but is this list and issues
Just as we ask understanding for Lisa and the work she does,
I would also ask understanding to the questions, and the questioners,
regardless of the answer.
In fact, if this discussion becomes a platform for further division,
then it has not succeeded.
Susan Setley on mon 1 dec 03
In a message dated 12/1/03 3:11:20 PM, mudmistress@EARTHLINK.NET writes:
<< the word 'mass produced' , is used right next to the word 'mold-made',
as one phrase. This creates an INDELIBLE image (Horrors, not
mass-produced mold made crap!!!) >>
It does. However, I took a handbuilding class which included mold-making. One
of the students was an architect and used to getting exactly the results he
expected. He made a mold for one time use only of a wonderful geometric
sculpture. It was an outstanding piece of work and would not look out of place in any
gallery. Yes, he used a mold, but that was so he would have complete control
of the media. The piece was beautiful, and I think it should have a place in
That's why I asked. I know someone who makes a mold each year to make
commorative mugs for an event she participates in every year. But she would never
submit them to an art show. She does other wonderful work without molds.
Geoffrey Gaskell on tue 2 dec 03
I have been following this thread with interest. Several people have put
a fair bit of energy into the discussion of what constitutes mass
production with or without molds etc. I feel like encapsulating it all
in a little aphorism, for it seems to me that the mass/Energy
equivalency implied by Einstein's famous equation E = mc2 (where 2
should be superscripted, of course) is itself a mold that fits nicely.
Anyway, after this little distraction, please, by all means return to
the well-beaten track and carry on.
Carl Finch on tue 2 dec 03
At 07:29 PM 12/2/03 +1300, Geoffrey Gaskell wrote:
>I have been following this thread with interest. Several people have put
>a fair bit of energy into the discussion of what constitutes mass
>production with or without molds etc. I feel like encapsulating it all
>in a little aphorism, for it seems to me that the mass/Energy
>equivalency implied by Einstein's famous equation E = mc2 (where 2
>should be superscripted, of course) is itself a mold that fits nicely.
Well, leave it to you, Geoffrey, to encrapsulate it so
succinctly! Well done!
>Anyway, after this little distraction, please, by all means return to
>the well-beaten track and carry on.
Nah, it ain't over till the fa-- uh, till the Mayor sings.
And to those of you who have NOT been to Geoffrey's web site, you're really
Say no more, say-no-more.
in Medford, Oregon