A lot has changed as far as the needs of ceramics. We have cheap and plentiful, but mostly soulless, daily use pottery. I think that because we have so much mass produced ware that it has given us a desire and a fantastic opportunity to breathe new life into ceramics. We are a connected world but we are so often missing those intimate connections. What is more intimate than a cup or a bowl and an offering of food or drink to a friend or a family member?
It occurred to me, a while back, that eating together is a very intimate act. Eating with a stranger is a primal and meaningful act that allows people to come together. You learn a lot just by partaking in this simple action and the inevitable conversation that comes with it.
Using a cup or bowl also involves the maker. If you drink from a cup made by someone you know, they are with you in a way. Even if you dont know the maker personally you know that the intention is there. If it is an honest vessel it comes not only with the clay and glaze but also with the intention of that connection. Clay is a way to connect with your fellow human beings in a way that no other medium allows you to achieve.
I have just finished a fantastic autobiography of Shiho Kanzaki called – Voice of Fire, Voice of Earth. It’s only available in ebook format and the $3.00 I spent on it was well worth it. I love this man’s work and his philosophy on life. A true potter who understands that pottery is not just about pots, its about life. As you shape the pots and participate in the process, the process shapes you!
Very few of the older generation potters are computer savvy but Shiho Kanzaki is on Facebook as well!
Just a massive amount of variety to the simple plate. The plate is something we use daily and most of us don’t ever give it a second thought. As humans we need, in order of importance –
The vessels that we use to drink with and to eat with are very meaningful when you think about it. It’s just part of the routine, the ritual of staying alive and thriving. They are so ubiquitous that they are virtually ignored beyond the initial reactions of “Oh these plates are cool lets get this set!” or the oh so often “I am really tired of washing dishes!”.
Give your dishes a second look next time you sit down for a nice meal. Do they just do their job or do they give you something beyond that? A connection with the maker perhaps? A symbiosis with your food or drink? A reminder of someone or some time in your life? Food for thought I guess. Have a great day!