Wednesday, March 25, 2015


The term "Masterwork" gets discussed on occasion among my friends and co-artists.  I find the idea of such a thing fairly subjective within the ceramic field.  Things that look super difficult (or really fancy) within the clay arts, aren't always the case depending on what technique is used.  Something that non-potters are impressed over is not the same thing a fellow potter would swoon over.

Within my experience, whenever I have explained to someone how easy something is, there is a disbelieving attitude.  I'm not trying to diminish someone else's work, but to explain that there is a lot of smoke and mirrors within the clay arts.

What do I mean?  Can you use a pencil and then erase it later with no harm to the piece?  Can you use tracing paper and set down decoration? Are you doing a lot of the same images or decorative elements with little variation? Are the materials you are using > 90% non-reactive and 9 times out of 10, come out close to perfect?  If the answer is yes to these, then you are probably not doing something that needs someone to be a master in order to accomplish.

At least for me, I find the decorating aspect of clay work not as difficult as the fabricating of the piece. I do, however, respect those that spend many hours decorating one object.  But I have an even larger respect for these people that are using their own formulated glazes, underglazes and slips.  Clay chemistry is more difficult than buying and using pre-made and pre-tested glazes. Most of the issues are tested and solved when using the wide variety of glazes.

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