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3.01.2011

Open 4 Discussion: The Importance of Process


I found this nice little ceramist spot with Elephant Ceramics on Design*Sponge, just now during my morning coffee blog stroll. I have a slightly tilted reaction to work like this. In my ceramic-traditionalist brain I'm thinking 'those are just slabs thrown over a hump mold with the edges chopped off and the texture hasn't even been removed." Okay, then I remind myself to think about whether I like it before I critique how it's made (which I know little to nothing about actually). I ask myself, "Is it pretty?" And surprisingly I answer YES! I like it. I know not everyone is as fond of rustic aesthetics as me but I love the unrefined. This little moment made me consider why we think process is so essential to art. I'm learning about this now in contemporary art history. And to me, the process isn't essential to the work, as long as the work can stand on it's own. Now I'm not saying that this collection represents the best of contemporary ceramic art... I don't think that's what the potter is attempting here. I guess its a means and ends question.... Does anyone else ever consider this?

How important do you think process is to the value of the finished work?

(image via artist's website)

8 comments:

Tasha said...

I think the texture is linen and not canvas. I think if it was a different texture I'd be more fond of the unfinished look. To a potter, it just looks like they were lazy.

Tracey Broome said...

I saw these the other day and had pretty much the same reaction as you. But I stepped back for a minute and looked at them from a shoppers point of view and I like them. The general public doesn't know how a piece of pottery is made and many don't care, they want it because it speaks to them. I also don't think it's lazy to make slab plates. I make plates like this and I take great care rolling the slab, smoothing it, smoothing the edges, forming them on the mold, glazing, firing, there is just as much work involved if not more than a thrown plate. I think these are easier to learn to make but they are original, and good for her for her marketing skills!

FetishGhost said...

I have to feel connection to a work or a body of work before process even comes into play. Process isn't a trump card that validates, it's icing on the cake.

Linda Starr said...

I was immediately drawn to these plates because they remind me of the color of levis which is such a big part daily lives, then I was curious to look further at their texture, some of which looks like levi to me.

I agree with what Tracey and Zygote said, and then again sometimes the cake doesn't need any icing.

becky said...

I think process can sometimes BE the work. Without process, there is no work. While it may not matter to the "consumer of the product," what the process is, it can matter greatly to the artist. In the Fine Art world, I have seen shows where it is ALL about the process. Good food for thought...
I've enjoyed perusing your blog... such a great example of so many wonderful ceramicists work (and what fun workshops you've been attending!)

Crone said...

I do enjoy your blog. I wrote of how important the process is to the artist on my own blog, (alchemyofclay.blogspot.com) which posting also included the therapeutic aspect of the process of clay creations. We artists in clay need to keep ourselves centered (in both ways). Sure the product is what can be seen in the photo, and handled if functional, but no products would exist without our processes!

Alexis L., The Studioist said...

Interesting question. I'm not an artist and don't consider myself art-literate but there is, for me, when I can't see technique, the art does seem diminished. I can't help but feel that Basquiat and Pollack had infinitely less painterly talent than any of the old masters, though their art was important in conceptual ways.

virtuevision said...

I think its more about technical skill and attention to details, regardless of how simple the idea is.
sloppy work ALWAYS looks bad...

clay is like dance, a ballet dancer makes it look simple, but you can bet they trained for years to appear light as a feather.

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