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perspectives on history ; was re: lighting up? what is kef and lili

updated wed 1 feb 06


Lee Love on wed 1 feb 06


On 2006/02/01 1:45:13, Taylor, in Rockport TX ( wrote:

If you simply read what I said Taylor, it is obvious I did not compare
Bauhaus to something else.

> And what the hell does that have to do with Lili's

Which had nothing to do with mine. The story I told was related as I
heard it. It was about how knowledge is more easily shared now in a time
when studio pottery is more established.

>The notion that studio ceramics were just getting started in America
in the
> 1950s is an incorrect statement.

I reported what I heard at the workshop as accurately as I could
remember and I provided some background from Janet Leach that explains
why someone might perceive the state of the studio pottery movement in
America at the time as just begining.

Thinking that the studio pottery movement was just getting starter or
wasn't getting started is not correct or incorrect. They are differing
opinions, according to where you view the topic from.

Here is some more about "back then", from an equally amazing part of the
Smithsonian online. This is from their oral histories section:

check it out:

Here is a short quote:

> MR. MACKENZIE: ... And gradually you built – someone would tell
> someone else about it and you got more people coming, but it was very
> slow at first, very slow.
> MR. SILBERMAN: The '50s.
> MR. MACKENZIE: Fortunately, we didn’t make that many pots either, you
> know. We were not very fast potters at that time....
> MR. SILBERMAN: Maybe we can turn to the university in a moment, but
> when you first came here, were there many other potters in the area?
> MR. MACKENZIE: No, there weren’t. One woman I remember was Martha
> Cutkomp [ph], who is a potter, and she was the only other person that
> I remember as a working potter in this area. Gradually, potters have
> moved in. First of all, some of the people who took classes at the
> university stayed on and became potters when they graduated from
> school, or they went somewhere for graduate work and then came back
> here because they liked the atmosphere in this area.
As Janet Leach states, she was not familiar with many people in England
or America who were studying ceramics in order to work full-time
supporting themselves with the pottery they made in their studios. It is
my working definition of a studio potter. It is not incorrect to think
that what we know as studio pottery today was only getting started back

> The Smithsonian letters are interesting. I doubt that
> Hamada's definition or Janet's definition of "studio pottery" will be
> relevant now looking back.

Of course they are relevant. If they weren't relevant opinions, the
Smithsonian wouldn't be interested in their papers. Don't support your
version of The Truth? That is a totally different issue.

You didn't read what I said in the original post. Hamada didn't say
anything about a definition of "studio pottery." MacKenzie simply
explained why the young woman was hesitant to ask for Hamada's glaze
recipes and everybody was stunned when he asked for a piece a paper to
write them down for her.

Hey, would you like to comment on my agreement with Wildenhain below?
You can find her open letter to Leach here:

Also, there is an open letter from Marguerite Wildenhain to Leach,
disagreeing with his thought that America has no tap root. I think she
is correct and Leach was wrong on this point. America has many "tap
root-lets" that come from around the world and they are not restricted
to European influences.

The letters at the Smithsonian collection feel like pieces of history,
because they are either written in longhand or on a typewriter, with
erasures, crossing outs and writing ins. Seems best to save the graphic
and then enlarge to make them more readable.

Lee Love

"With Humans it's what's here (he points to his heart) that makes the
difference. If you don't have it in the heart, nothing you make will
make a difference."
~~Bernard Leach~~ (As told to Dean Schwarz)