We love it when the coverage on CFile provokes feedback from our readers, so this week we’re highlighting some of the comments that caught our unblinking ceramic eye over the past few issues. Reader quotes for this piece were pulled from our comment sections and from our Facebook group (which you should definitely join if you’re not a member already). Some of these have been edited for length and grammar. Many thanks to our readers!
Above image: Theaster Gates shaping clay.
“This article was meant for me! I so hear Hess’ concern — and you know what I have faced in critiques as I trek through art graduate school… Most of the grads have been incredibly positive – thus my hope is that a new generation of artists emerge. We will change the state of art discourse in the next ten years.” by Kelly Ingleright Telgenhoff via Facebook.
“You can’t express yourself if you don’t have the skills to create an object, painting or installation. Your ability to bring your ideas to fruition will be governed by and limited to your ability to actually create them. We need to teach our students skills, as well as the skill of seeking out and learning new skills when needed.” by Linda Speranza via Facebook.
“Learn the skills, the trade and the craft. Then when you’ve mastered your art skills you move on. Not to say that you shouldn’t express yourself well while you’re learning.” by Pat Koschen Larkin via Facebook.
“Ah wealth, you never fail to freak me the fuck out.” by Michael Robison via Facebook.
“I would totally drink from it. Once.” by Ulysses Dietz via Facebook.
“Please don’t drop it!” by Tom Wither via Facebook.
“Hmmm… Too regular. Not much soul, great if irregularity makes you uneasy. One of my favorite parts about ceramics is the hand and eye can achieve a perfection that is not sterile, machine driven, and cold.
“I get the repeatable aspect and that these tools eliminate the need for developing skill with the hands and eyes, but it will take genus and/or time to create a mature art form digitally that has some innate humanity.
“Digital media seem to have a “flatness” about them. As CDs lack something that vinyl records contain, and the artists restoring the original 1954 Godzilla discovered analog art has information that digital art does not.” by Rick Mahaffey via Facebook.
“I currently work at an R&D lab doing ceramic stereolithography (the laser sintering described above). Scale is certainly an issue as the laser has to slowly scan the entire surface of each layer. There are new technologies and machines coming out that we are looking into to speed up the process. Basically, we are filling a plastic resin with ceramic powder and burn out all the organic compounds after building. However, it can be very difficult to properly disperse actual flat, disc clay particles. I’ve heard the biggest problem with the extrusion technique is getting the final product to have a reasonable low porosity. Even though it takes a lot of work to get here, 3d printing is just another tool that can help you with your bigger concept. I’m a trained artist currently working with engineers.” by Kayleigh via our comments section.
“The running joke in the workshop is to scratch everything we are doing and buy the domain name bongsanddongs.com but it seems as though we’ve been beat to market. DAMN!” by Alex Matisse via our comments section.
“The rush to embrace these advances in making objects without really understanding what the technologies can do is misplaced energy, time, and even perhaps wasted money. Just because it is possible to use a CNC machine to create a model, use a digital printer to make the plate if equipped with ceramic printing media, is not a substitute for sound design principles, methodologies, or techniques. Use of a handmade brush and then having a computer create a design with a jet black glaze has little or no content. It is only using technology for technologies’ sake, and nothing more.
“In contrast, a recent cfile article presented Olivier van Herpt’s printed ceramic vessels. This artist totally understands the technology that he is working with. Not only has designed and built a 3D printer for these large forms, but the forms exploit the technology. Herpt “gets it”. I am sorry to say that Chau does not.” by Jonathan Kaplan via our comments section.
“I enjoy Staley’s sensitivity and listening to him talk, but I’m not sure he addressed the basic premise of “can we TEACH creativity.” He gave a couple of examples of possibly creative acts but skipped any thoughts as to if, when, and how they may be taught. I agree with his premise that creativity is stifled by FEAR but he neglected to explain how one can overcome that fear or how a “teacher” can minimize that fear in a student.” by Rimas VisGirda via our comments section.
“While Douglas Dawson has done a wonderful job in introducing a generation of collectors to the diversity and cultural depth of African ceramics, I must strongly object to the statement that there will “in two decades” be no traditional pottery in production.
“There are families of African potters producing work today that is critical to domestic, ceremonial, and aesthetic use. I am an expert of Zulu ceramics and can speak to the continued importance of Zulu wares in the practice of serving guests at social functions and in presenting beer to one’s ancestors. Another type of container simply won’t do for the majority of people honoring their ancestors in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
“But more importantly, even artists who are producing work for galleries and continuing the bonfired traditions of their culture in a more financially viable way are often imprinting their social, religious, and personal. Contemporary earthenware pots produced with multiple buyers in mind, from global collectors to local families, are not ’empty vessels.'” by Elizabeth Perrill via our comments section.
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