On handles, with Eric Botbyl

Eric Botbyl posted this on facebook:

eric botbyl handles

“The last handle in a very long day of handle making. There is no rushing this part of the process. I resolved long ago that good handles take time and quicky handles are dumb. How’s that for poetry.”

I have an awesome pitcher of Eric’s with one of these handles. He and I had talked about how he arrived at this unique solution to making handles and we both agree that making good handles is hard work, takes long practice, but also that its too easy to settle for less.

Here is how I responded to his post on fb:

Pottery is definitely a language, but too many potters make the equivalent of a grunting noise when it comes to handles. They could express things with more sophistication, more attention and consideration, and with more articulation of nuance and character. Unfortunately it seems this part of the language has gone neglected in many cases and the handles seem treated as a necessary evil worth only the least amount of effort and perfunctorily slapped together. What that communicates is precisely the lack of interest and intelligence brought to bear as was put into making them. If you care, if you put that extra effort into making each and every utterance something worth listening to, then the people who are looking for more than grunts will see your dedication and appreciate it. Your handles fascinate me, personally. Its a conversation I am happy to have. Its not something I could ever set aside without responding to. Its just too interesting not to be considered and tested against my expectations, learned from, and then incorporated into how I look out at the world and all my future conversations. Your handles add to MY sophistication. Thanks for taking the time! Thanks for making us think! Thanks for the conversation! 🙂

Happy potting!

Make beauty real!


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.
This entry was posted in Art, Arts education, Beauty, Ceramics, Clay, Creativity, Imagination, Pottery. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to On handles, with Eric Botbyl

  1. Pingback: Clay Blog Review: November 2015 - Pottery Making Info

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.