This is coffee! (1961)

(Post #100, if you can believe it. I thought I’d celebrate by offering up a bit more reader friendly content than the usual insipid droning on this blog is known for. Hope you enjoy!)

If mugs are the backbone of many studio potters’ industry it helps to know what they’re good for….. Why, coffee of course!

Set the Wayback Machine to 1961, Sherman. Here’s a little something from the Coffee Brewing Institute:

About Carter Gillies

I am an active potter and sometime pottery instructor who is fascinated by the philosophical side of making pots, teaching these skills, and issues of the artistic life in general. I seem to have a lot to say on this blog, but I don't insist that I'm right. I'm always trying to figure stuff out, and part of that involves admitting that I am almost always wrong in important ways. If you are up for it, please help me out by steering my thoughts in new and interesting directions. I always appreciate the challenge of learning what other people think.
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11 Responses to This is coffee! (1961)

  1. linda says:

    Congrats, Carter on reaching the first mountain top! here’s to much more scaling of mountains!

  2. Way to go! You’ve added so much to the stream of art/pottery dialog! Thanks for taking the time to expand our conversation! just a little more coffee, please!

  3. juana says:

    I loved the little video! Thanks for sharing it. Being from the coffee lands, I am glad to see a reminder that coffee is actually a handmade product. The price of coffee drives the economy of my country and the livelihood of many, many people. If, according to this, coffee’s ingredients are water, coffee, time, and care, it has three common ingredients with the cups we make to drink it. Replace coffee with clay, and there you have it! That is why they get along so well.

    If only they knew then that a good cup of coffee tastes much better in a handmade cup…

    happy 100th!

  4. Scott Cooper says:

    Congrats on making it to #100! I’m happy to report that I’ve followed along from the beginning and read every one. Collectively, they’ve had a big impact on my thinking about potting, pots, and an array of other interesting topics.

    If there’s a 10,000 Hour Rule equivalent for blogging, I’d arbitrarily set it at around two years or 100 posts, whichever comes first (and depending on how meaty the average post is; yours are downright carnivorous!). And so, at least according to the Gladwellian 10K interpretation I subscribe to, you’re now amongst the elite. How’s that for a fairy dream come true?

    • Thanks Scott!

      But where would I be without without Dr Cooper there to help keep me on the straight and narrow (at least as much as I manage to stay on it)? I think you get the majority of credit for anything positive I contribute. A big partial at the very least. My lunatic excursions I can’t blame on anyone but myself. Connecting dots that don’t belong together is my specialty. Misunderstanding plain facts is my bread and butter. Reimagining tested truths is the air I breathe. And if any remotely interesting insight can be teased from this miscegnated architecture, then its usually still a mystery to me. I often don’t remember the path I just trod to get there.

      Its something like casting a line into the water, and its a gift from the gods whether hook a fish. But the line can sit there for long hours, and you sometimes forget how it got there. Sometimes the current can carry the bait off in unpredictable directions. And sometimes you feel a nibble on the hook. And sometimes the fish is so big it snaps the line. Sometimes the fish on the end tangles the line in the reeds, or sinks to the bottom. Sometimes it plays ‘dead’, and you don’t realize you’ve hooked anything. And sometimes you’ve got too many lines in the water at the same time and they become confused and snarled together.

      So if anyone else has been able to land their own fish from watching my misadventures, I am surprised and delighted. I’m just glad I invested in the Cooper line of tackle and reel. Without your support I’d just be fishing with a string made from the yarn of my sock tied to a finger, with a hook made from toenail clippings baited with a bit of lint from my belly button. Not sure how much I’d catch with that set up…. So thank YOU, Scott!

      • Scott Cooper says:

        Pardon my French, but I call bullshit on this one. And not to go all Mutual Admiration Society on you, but I think that giving even partial credit to me is giving yourself way too little credit. I may have goaded you into thinking that writing a blog would actually be fun and somehow rewarding enough to be worth the effort — e.g. Try my patented brand of line and tackle! — but since then it’s been all you.

        Oh, and I’d like to revise my 10K hours for blogging comment above. Apparently, one can post all they want, but without some initial amount of talent (whatever the hell that means), hard repetition alone ain’t enough to make a great pottery blogger. So you must have had a ton of talent to begin with, because this one is certainly great.

        • And now you’ve got ME defending Gladwell against you! If he does get one thing right its that circumstances and opportunity matter a great deal. The illusion of the self-made man that he is attacking had been so overplayed in our society that the mythology has become, frankly, ludicrous.

          So I will give credit where credit is due, and I’m humble enough to admit that all the trying I might have done on my own would not have amounted to much without such a great sounding board and, yes, inspiration that you provide.

          And I guess this is just part of my world view. For instance, I don’t sign my pots because I feel wrong about claiming all the credit on my own ( you can read that story here:

          I just worry that our world lacks for humility at times, and that we have evolved a culture that spends too much time taking credit (and denying responsibility when things go wrong).

          One of the big ideas I’m trying to get across is that the success of potters everywhere is not just up to individual potters, but that its a group effort. That pottery as a livelihood depends on so many things lining up, and that it is in our interest to work toward a common goal.

          The chest beating credit mongers who mostly sit at the top of the food chain justify their glorious position (and the rest of our lives beneath their heels) by accusing us of not having tried hard enough. Its not that the world is set up to promote some people and suppress others. They were self made, and so too can you be. As if we all start from a level playing field. Isn’t that the American dream…? Is it any wonder so many poor people play the lottery rather than confronting, examining, and contesting the inequities that keep them firmly on the bottom? Is it any wonder so few poor people vote in elections? That we’ve lost the sense of working together to achieve great goals? The myth that if I fail it must be my fault? It just seems that the longer we operate this way the wider the gap between the haves and the have nots. I can’t help but feeling that “united we stand. Divided we fall”….

          So I’ll happily thank you for the encouragement. I’ll accept that I did some serious work on my own. But I will also vehemently deny that you had no part in the direction or progress of my efforts. CGPB relies on a community of contributors. What comes out may be getting channeled through my finger tips, but those finger tips have a lot of help. Take your g– d— bow Cooper!

      • Scott Cooper says:

        [bows, somewhat sheepishly]

        I but stand on the shoulders of giants: Philbeck, Murphy, The War Against Silence, Izzle Pfaff!, Kottke.

        (Also, you’re still wrong about R.E.M.)

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