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Is Western pottery going through a Dark Ages?

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Old March 13th 04, 10:55 PM
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Default Is Western pottery going through a Dark Ages?

I have consistently noticed upon entering pottery stores
not only in the USA but also in Europe, that many of their
offerings are pretty much the same: low-quality, non-artistic
highfire garbage. The stuff they produce is badly proportioned,
oddly shaped, devised apparently not to aid actual use in some
cases, undecorated except for boring combinations of highfire glazes
or the use of salt glaze, and often unjustifiably expensive
because I know a lot of it is slipcast although for some reason
some potters insist on hand-throwing everything and damaging
thereby their elbows and wrists (a sacrifice without a reason).

When I compare this sort of fare with anything I've seen in
pottery classes, where students are encouraged to be creative,
or even Native American pottery, or Japanese sloppy-on-purpose
raku or other styles, it is clear to me that not a whole lot of
creativity is going into the majority of pots that are sold in
small potter-owned-or-run stores. Nor is tradition being
referenced since I've seen excellent wares produced either by
hand or slipcast during the Roman period of Europe or later,
and those are profoundly superior. Meanwhile I can't help but
notice that many American potters fawn over anything Japanese
(pottery and potters alike), as if to say "we are culturally
inferior, oh we submit to your greatness". It seems quite
ridiculous to watch.

My questions thus a

1. are potters in the West not largely going through a Dark Ages,
excepting of course those who exhibit their works as Fine Art?

2. what are the causes of this malaise? Was it the hideous
influence of modernism that not only ruined architecture but
also cleaned the slate in the area of pottery, leaving a vacuum?

3. is mass consumption and capitalism the cause, and if so
how could this be, since consumers so often buy pottery because
they want something different from Mikasa slipcastware?
Old March 14th 04, 03:22 AM
Brad Sondahl
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Although I hate to overgeneralize, as I think you have done, it's
impossible to argue questions of taste.
I think your taste and mine would differ.

Brad Sondahl
For original art, music, pottery, and literature, visit my homepage

To reply to me directly, don't forget to take out the "garbage" from my


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