This blog is sort of a record of what I’m thinking about and how I’m thinking. Its all there swirling around inside my head, just waiting to come out. But if you’ve been reading these posts for any length of time you will have seen that I often use another person’s questions as a jumping off point for my own discussion.
I am in the midst of organizing a response to a recent post by Richard Jacob, but in the meantime potter/blogger Steven Colby asks for some thoughts on a topic that is related. I thought I’d post the comment I left him just to preview the direction that my thoughts have been heading lately. Here’s what I said:
I’ve been thinking about this issue as well. I like your statement: “the transitive nature of the functional pot”. And it is probably true that a large part of why functional potmakers are looked down on in the fine arts is that we are intending something besides objects of pure contemplation, “intransitive objects”. So what you are doing here is quite ambitious in the context of academia. But this really is the grounds on which pottery needs to be defended. Not just the potential for this “dynamism” but the virtue of BEING dynamic objects.
Do you remember that old Jack Troy article in the back of Ceramics Monthly years ago? The one in which he gamely challenged us to reconcile pottery as a ‘still life’ versus something you can serve your yogurt in? Here’s the link on the internet:
I recently found an interesting article in an old Studio Potter magazine from June of 1985 where the author investigates how art came to have such disdain for function. The article is by Nicholas Wolterstorff, but the whole edition is fascinating and worth a read.
Another interesting tangent just popped up in Richard Jacob’s blog. He’s the collector who wrote those beautiful and informative letters to Christa Assad that were later turned into a book. The topic of his most recent post asks the question of whether potters actually care who ends up with their pots. So its a question about whether we make these objects with specific intentions in mind. As a collector he is interested in showing that what he does in providing a home for over a thousand pieces of pottery is an important fulfillment of these objects lives. The question remains, is it enough for them to be lovingly dusted and looked at, or do functional pots need to have a role in serving and eating food to fulfill their destiny? Here is the link to his post:
I have my own thoughts on this, and I am organizing them into a post for my blog, but I’d love to hear your further thoughts on this issue.”
If any of you all have your own thoughts on these issues I’d love to get your feedback, but I also encourage you to wander on over to Steven’s blog and leave your comments there as well.