Wednesday, August 20, 2008

John Balistreri's Wonder Machine

Here's a link to John's website. He wrote an article that was published in Studio Potter a little while ago. That article is also on his website. They think they have about a year until their research is complete. Everything about rapid prototyping is on the nav bar on the right. There is a slideshow from SIGGRAPH. That's the wicked amazing digital version of NCECA. Imagine NCECA with billionaires and you get SIGGRAPH. Anyway, those huge pieces in on the homepage are sitting in that room right now, drying, waiting to be fired.

(If you look at the blue door in the background, that's my studio door!!)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Time to Breed More Clay Artists in downtown SF

This was a surprise find today:

San Francisco Art Institute Set to Launch New Ceramics Program in Fall 2008

"In the Fall of 2008, SFAI will launch a new program in ceramics. Though ceramics has been comprehensively taught, studied, and practiced in the Sculpture department at SFAI since the 60s (internationally known figures include Richard Shaw, Karen Breschi, Ron Nagle, and Jim Melchert), the new program will dedicate itself to emphasizing and appreciating ceramics as a unique medium of contemporary art practice and theory."

Read the complete press release here:

SFAI is located in the heart of down town San Francisco

handmade consortium

buy hand made

short article about the hand made consortium

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I was rummaging through Facebook and did a search for "ceramics" for fun. Turns out there are a few groups you can join. I noticed some with titles like "Save our XYZ department." Without searching too hard I found the Glasgow School of Art (the last stand in Scotland) and the Ontario College of Art and Design. Here's quote, I imagine from a student's perspective.

"We are an endangered species our numbers are dropping, surely an institution such as the G.S.A should be more interested in saving us and our sanctuary in the hope to breed more potters than leaving us out in the cold for extinction. We are resilient and will not die quietly, they underestimate us at every chance but they do not know who they are messing with!!!"

Sounds like they G.S.A. doesn't want to "breed more potters"... Sound familiar?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I just came across a site that will host a wide variety of documents. Stephanie this might be a solution to your large PDF file. Instead of trying to e-mail it you can host it on this site and just send a link to it.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

2nd try for Jed

I believe I have found the article that Anna posted. I couldn't get the link to work, hopefully this one will. If not search for the title; "Postcards from Nowhere".

Postcards from Nowhere by Jed Pearl

Jed Perl article

I have not even finished reading this article but already I think this is a good one for you to read and consider.  Jed Perl, critic for the New Republic,  writes on some current exhibitions.  I think it is important for us to consider ceramics and crafts in the context of the "art" world in general.  Perhaps the reason ceramics is not taken as seriously is that we often to not place it in this context....

( I could not get the blog to cut and paste so I hope this address works - if not let me know.  

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Charles Lewton - Brain Article: Is it Art? Is it Craft?

Is it Art? Is it Craft?
Charles Lewton-Brain
Copyright © Charles Lewton-Brain 2004
Published in: MAGazine
A publication of the Metal Arts Guild of Canada, Winter 2005
The Art versus Craft issue is a complex question and one that has bedeviled creators a
great deal in the last fifty years or so.
I once heard a gallery owner say that the difference between an art object and a craft
object is $3000. The American Craft Council's director Carmine Branagan says that the
discussion is unimportant, that the craft/art debate is one of craftspeople talking to
themselves, about issues that do not matter at all to the general public - they do not care
about this particular debate. She holds that if we are educating the culture as makers then
the real issue is getting the work and what it means out and before the public, especially
through galleries, museums and publications, the validators in society.
I personally see art and craft as a very similar activity, that both involve creating,
problem solving, composition and design decisions, pattern recognition, intuition, etc. I
consider things a spectrum of kinds of work, no boundaries or strict edges to things, more
of a blur. It has to do with intent perhaps, what is the intent of the object. That and the
form of the object, the choice to work in a form or within the restrictions of a form.
Examples of forms include a ring, a teapot, a wall mounted painting, a chair. By choosing
an object type (or aesthetic or media restrictions) one defines the skeleton against which
one makes art. Some of these contexts and restrictions are cultural as well as functional,
and here is where we may wander into objects that can clearly be called craft ones.
The Canadian Professional Relations tribunal, after spending months on the question
decided that 'artists self-designate', that for legal purposes you are an artist if you say you
are or a craftsperson if you say you are. I am both, and some of my objects are both at
one time. I see it as a long spectrum where the maker defines what object type it is or
what mode (art/craft) one works in. The issue for me comes in hierarchy, in situations
where people are told, or taught that one thing is better than another (usually art more
'fine', 'high', 'valued') than craft. And that, I think is where the rub lies, with some people
discriminating against practitioners and objects made in a craft context, and as a someone
who willingly chooses that context now and then, it feels bad. The issue of Design is a
large one, and while I think both art and craft objects are designed, to work in the mode
of design is to work in a mode that emphasizes service, function and the user. In the
design world though changes have occurred so that a single object in a 'craft' media can
be shown in a catalog or magazine as a designed object, and the maker has, more or less,
made it in service to their own (artistic) needs rather than to an external problem.
Art and craft are differentiated by customs and border control laws by practical function.
If you can wear it or put peanuts into it is craft. Or if there are more than 49 of them -
prints, both photographic and other done in editions magically turn from fine art into
product if there are 50 or more of them.
Once upon a time (pre-NAFTA) craft work going to the US had a 50% duty on it which
made it just about impossible to think of selling in the states. Fine art however traveled
duty free. You could however, prove you were an artist to the United States government,
which I went through in the hope of being able to circumvent the duty if I was recognized
as a fine artist. This process was complex and circuitous. And you can only apply once in
your life. If they decide you are not an artist you can NEVER apply again. That's it. A
one time decision.
It is administered by the US department of Justice, and one had to submit all the proofs
you could find, posters you were called an artist on, published 'artist's statements' that
used the work artist, and so on. In fact I have made a point of ensuring that the word
'artist' appears in connection with my name in print since this experience. You then
documented a piece of work at all stages, photographs of all the stages in its development
and described and listed all the decision points there were. In my case there were some 28
distinct aesthetic decisions made while making the sample piece. You proved that there
were numerous aesthetic decision points in the work, (not just technical ones). This, with
every other proof you could think of was installed in a large binder. Then you submitted
the whole pile to the Department of Justice. Some time later they get back to you.
They said I was an Artist. Definitely. For sure. But it didn't make any difference, I still
had to pay the duty on my work because it was still functional, you could still wear it or
use it for things other than just looking at.
So, for me it’s a spectrum, and intent, the object, the mode and I determine what it is,
how much art content it may have. Most of the time elements of both, sometimes tilted
more one way than another.
The only problem with the debate is unfair hierarchy which seems to exist in the arts field
and in the culture and the results of discrimination based on such hierarchy, its effects on
fees paid to teachers, salary expectations, grants, university budgets for craft areas and so

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Getting reply comments sent to your e-mail

If you wish to have comments on discussions sent to an e-mail account you can add your address by clicking the "customize" link at the top right. Then click the "settings" tab on the top left, the menu directly below will change, click "comments". at the bottom of this page you can add your e-mail address and all subsequent comments will be forwarded to your account.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

illustrations for Brown's article

I thought it might be helpful to see some of the images of the work Glen Brown writes about in his article on installation


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

trying again

Hi all - I sent a post yesterday but do not see it on the blog so trying again.
Thanks Kristin and Patrick for some interesting additions - would like to see some discussion on the articles you mentioned.
We are all set for Monday at 7 pm - art office conference room.
Be sure to bring articles for consideration for our next meeting.  If you have not given me your critique - bring that along.
Some of you owe me an abstract. 
I will plan to meet with each of you individually after this meeting.
Is everyone out there? Anna

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Del Vecchio on Postmodern Clay

What Postmodernism is not

This is a good article about what Del Vecchio determines to be Postmodern. He has interesting things to say about the use of history and appropriation, the figure and multimedia in relation to ceramics.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Interpreting Ceramics online mag

I came across this site with a number of excellent articles addressing current issues in relation to the ceramics field.

Interpreting Ceramics, Issue 9, has papers presented at the College Art Association in New York, February 2007. "five emerging ceramicists gave presentations about their work" & beyond to "consider the unpredictable and fluid boundaries that the field of ceramics offers to the contemporary artist." This site, out of the UK, also includes audio clips from the speakers.

Intros by: Walter McConnell, Mary Drach McInnes.
On Function and Content, by Sanam Emami;
Courting Risk, by Linda Sormin;
Conspicuous Consumption, by John Byrd;
Functional Languages, by Anders Ruhwald;
Towards Incongruence, by Michael Jones McKean


Monday, June 2, 2008

American Craft article about the Handmade

In the June/July issue of American Craft, Jed Perl, a painter who's been contributing to magazines including Vogue and The New Republic, calls attention to the need for the handmade. He calls it the Artisanal Urge. When he was talking about Jeff Koons I was reminded of a conversation I recently had with a WARP student who said, "Jeff Koons isn't an artist, he cheats."

Here's the link for the article:

Jeff Koons' Hanging Heart

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Nude model tells why she bared all

I came across this video on  It brings up a valuable point about the price and value of fine art.  Where does pricing ceramics fall into the trend.  

Check the link:   

Thursday, May 1, 2008

follow up

Hi all - I am following up on our meeting.  I did notice not all are on the blog - can I ask TJ to nudge those not on to sign on?

Kristin should pop in to see me soon to run through some things especially the individual project.

Closest deadline is a short 100 - 200 max abstract outlining your individual project.  I hope to touch base with each of you on that - either in person or via email so you can be on your merry way with that while I am gone. 


Monday, April 28, 2008


Just want to be sure my message will get there - trouble with my pass word...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Alt-craft vs. Old Guard Craft

I have come across a great discussion about the DIY/alt-craft movement. The discussion began as a response to a presentation that Bruce Metcalf (jeweler and prolific writer of the arts and crafts) and Andrew Wagner (editor-in-chief of American Craft Magazine) gave at the SNAG Conference (society of north american goldsmiths). The discussion is blogged on a website,
"imogene is a little family business run by me (annie), steve, and our muse, joey the pit bull bananas. from our little rowhome in baltimore, we communicate directly with the designers featured, maintain this website (designed and built by steve), and ship away all the goodies to you. "
There is a lot of back and forth discussion about this subject some of it pertinent, some unneeded digressions. Both Wagner and Metcalf enter the discussion to further clarify their presentations. Metcalf's speech has been transcribed at posted
Metcalf's Speech

the back and forth is posted here:
Blog posts

Saturday, April 19, 2008

checking in

Hi all - I am on - thanks TJ for getting this set up.  Let's do  little checking this week about how to get readings on here.

Is everyone on that needs to be?

And Patrick - my favorite ceramics stereo type is when people assume you are working at that ceramics place where you make molded christmas trees you can put lights on...
and when I went to school it was the ash tray that everyone mentioned when you said ceramics (I have a good ashtray story when we get together...)  Anyway - a good way to start the discussion.

Recalled another critic/writer to check out Paul Greenhalgh - I have a book of his - The Persistence of Craft I can share when we meet.

Images would be good - but I like this idea of Patrick's too.  A picture of something we see as society's idea of ceramics....  can we do both?

Did not receive 100% confirmation - we are on for my house August 28th -- Monday, 7 pm.  I will provide dessert - right?


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Admin Privileges

I gave everyone admin privileges.  You should be able to go to the blog site and make changes to the page as needed.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Images of Work

I would like to add images of our work to the blog, does anyone not want their work displayed on the blog?  I will probably use flicker, is that cool?

Also any ideas about posting readings?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Why this Blog

This blog is intended for our ceramics theory and criticism class this summer.  It is a work in progress and any advise would be appreciated, in fact I just popped my blog cherry.  

It is I

It is I, Thaddeus, who started this shiznit.  Why are you showing your undergrad work?

who, what, where and when?

Good idea who ever started this.

I would like to discus my favorite piece of ceramic art (see picture below) and why it is a seminal work of art that will act as a clarion of aesthetic taste for generations to come.

Seriously though, how will ceramics ever be viewed with even a modicum of dignity if the first thing people think of is the movie Ghost and their frame of reference of what a ceramic object looks like is usually my aforementioned favorite piece of ceramics (see the shite above).