From: IN%"[email protected]" "Ceramic Arts Discussion List" 6-OCT-1992 15:
To: Howard Lawrence <[email protected]>
Subj: RE: grist for the mill

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Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1992 14:03:16 -0400
From: "(Sharlane Gubkin)" <[email protected]>
Subject: RE: grist for the mill
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>From: IN%"[email protected]" "Student Artist Discussions" 24-JUL-1992
> 4:40:56.84
>To: IN%"[email protected]" "Tim Glotzbach", IN%"[email protected]"
> e Molinaro"
>Subj: re. crafts/arts in USA
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>Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1992 10:27:00 EST
>From: Climbing the Wheel <[email protected]>
>Subject: re. crafts/arts in USA
>Sender: Student Artist Discussions <[email protected]>
>To: Tim Glotzbach <[email protected]>, Joe Molinaro <[email protected]>
>Reply-to: Student Artist Discussions <[email protected]>
>Message-id: <[email protected]>
>>There seems to be in the UK a great divide between Art Galleries and Craft
>>Galleries and people rarely show in both - they are either Artists or
>>Craftspeople. The same seems to be true in the Art Colleges that I know. At
>>point in their development students flip into one mode or the other - quite
>>often dependent on their preferred medium (i.e. there aren't many Artist
>>with clay/pottery techniques). Similarly water-colourists seem usually to end
>>as Craftspeople.
>Well, there are not a large number of "craft galleries" around, at least not
>here on the East coast (as far as I've seen). A gallery tends to be for
>the artsy-type stuff, although there is a lot of decorative art that might
>be crossing the line into the craftsy-type stuff.
>The implication of "crafts" (at least here in the Southeastern US) tends more
>to mean "folk-derived" art. Things that the "country" people have done for
>decades. It also tends to cover a whole lot of truly useless knickknackery.
>Thus, the reputation of "crafts" as such is not exactly as prestigious here.
>People go to fairbooths & stuff to find crafts, to a museum or gallery to find
>On the other hand, the medium does not seem to be a divisive factor here.
>I've seen "sculpture" made of pottery, wire, basket-material, etc., etc.,
>all traditional "craftsy" media as well. Water-color tends to be an "artsy"
>medium, though one sees it showing up rarely in the "craftsy" arenas.
>In general, the difference here between the two is almost a class difference-
>the arts tend overall to be more "elite," and less "useful."
>>There's an attendant division between the two groups after college. Art
>>goers are not Craft Gallery goers and vice versa. At least ... I'll go into a
>>Craft Gallery because they're often the only place in town that has any 'art'
>>show at all ... but I usually leave with mixed feelings: (1) unsatisfied by
>>'challenge' but (2) impressed by technique. And often the reverse is true -
>>come out of an Art Gallery feeling 'challenged' (not to say 'mugged'!) but
>>dissapointed by lack of technique (quality of work). Am I approaching here
>>a workable definition of the difference between Art and Craft I wonder? Is the
>>same divide true in your country?
>I would say it sounds like the arts are out-of-hand with that kind of split.
>Zola wrote in a letter to Cezanne that "in the artist are two men, the poet
>and the workman. One is born a poet, one becomes a workman." Many contemp-
>orary artists, it seems to me, are trying to cheat on this.
>I would say the artists of your country, who may have interesting ideas, should
>start paying more attention to the techniques of the craftsmen. I have noticed
>this need among art students here- it's a matter of laziness, really- the
>technique really is the "grunt work" of the artist, but it is so, so necessary.
>If nothing else, perhaps there should be more collaborations between artists
>who know nifty things to do, and craftspeople who know how to do things.
>One medium which combines the two almost irresistibly is printmaking. The
>one makes can be artistic, but the actual medium requires the utmost care and
>knowledge of the craft. Perhaps more artists should start out with it.
>David Nall

The need to understand one's craft is very important to the making of
sound aesthetic statements, however once the craft has been thoroughly
mastered it should be thrown into the garbage can so that the artist can
freely interprete materials and senasations without the encumbrances and
incumbrances of the means to the statement. Without a tossing of a well
learned technique, the artist/craftsman is forever doomed to the mastering
of it at the expense of the work. Thoughts become directed to the how well
is this crafted, how sophisticated can i make this technique mentality
...thus wayward thought becomes misdirected to statements on technique
rather than NATURE. We see this throughout the art world ad naseum. The
emptioness of the thoguht becomes blanketed in beutifully mastered
methodoligies of process. a type of non-existential nothingness
pervades the reason.... and no purpose
for its creation other than to showw off the skill...IT IS MUCH MORE THAN
SKILL. David, you mentioned printmaking... The combination of Ceramics
and Printmsaking is extremely rare and the connnection is most odd yet
entirely has something to do with the timing of ideas and the
formation of these ideas into substantial form, lacking the ephemeral
qualities of the lipserviced, well tongued literal bullshitter. The
committement to the processes, science and alchemy of both subjects quickly
reveals the superficial to the point that they surface quickly in aesthetic
decay like dying fish in a shallow pond filled with mercury/leasd on a hot
summer's day. In art TIME Weeds out the Garden,. Problem: everyone wants
there hybrid without the weeds and comprimise sets in = Mediocrity .
Michael of Ravenna
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