Bridget Fairbank: A potter’s manifesto

Bridget graciously allowed me to repost her great entry from her blog:

“I would like you to look at the world a new way. I’d like my pots to help you change your perspective. To see beauty in humanity, to respect your food, love your faults and cherish your ways. I’d like you to read in between the lines. I’d like you to open your eyes. You and I may have a difference in philosophy, a difference of esthetics. My pots are no cookie cutters, they are not bland, nor uniform or ill-thought through items. Quite the opposite, each line and finger print and burl and gnarl and lush section and curve and color is created and left, united and purposeful. I am sick of stale beauty, I am tired of our ill fated conventions. I am ashamed of our misconceptions. I am exasperated by this homogeny. I will not allow over processed un-passionate drudgery blemish my pottery. I expect you to see beauty in the estranged. I will not let the clay lie to you, not let you become too removed from process. I will not let you lie to yourself. How is it that Art has drifted so far from our tables? How is it that pottery has drifted so far from our food? How is it that food has drifted to far from humanity? And humanity so far from nature? With our preconceptions and mandates and laws regulating connections with ubiquitous continuity all in hopes of a unified existence, we have become fragmented, cut off and disconnected from a kind of beauty. We somehow fail to respect that on the fringes, that which questions us, that where in so much beauty lies.

Is my craft so astringent? Are my thoughts so ill-suited? My practices so unacceptable?

It is with items quite comfortable, quite tangible, a mug, a bowl, a plate, I pose these questions. I expect you in this instance to apprehend the true nature of the thing.

It may not be your cup of tea.”

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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2 Responses to Bridget Fairbank: A potter’s manifesto

  1. Scott Cooper says:

    Beyond the boilerplate “I make beautiful objects for everyday use, blah blah blah”, this might very well be the best potter’s “artist statement” I’ve ever read.

    • I thought so too! None of the crowd pleasing platitudes for the masses or the big word obscurity for the academics: This one was honest and straight from the heart, take it or leave it. Gotta admire what it says and where its coming from.

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