Speech: Towards a Standard

Giving the 3min speech on Towards a Standard today… What is your response?:

I have to say how hard it is to just have three minuets. Every time I read this chapter I am in awe of how progressive Leach can be and aggravated at how inaccurate he has been proven.

In in reading Leach analyses the Westerners’ deficiency of an accepted standard of pottery in the 1940‘s. and with this deficiency he deems Sung wares the ultimate achievement of beauty in function and form and advocates it as the accepted standard. He fears the defragmentation of culture and thinks bad pots and bad taste will perpetuate with a lack common ideals. By establishing a means in which the public may judge good pottery he aims to promote traditions in which ceramics may thrive/survive.

In WWII it must have seemed impossible Crafts or any high luxury would exists again for a general populace. I too feel Craft is in a struggle for survival. I the deficiencies that Leach felt.

I disagree in thinking an assimilated, albeit superb, example from antiquity is needed to revitalize the integrity of studio pottery.  In the event of globalization and the information age, aka the world wide culture Leach hypothesized would solve the potter’s problems, today’s potters indeed seek validation in various cultural traditions but refuse Sung wares as a standard.

This book turned out many successful baby boomer potters, who made good pots, who took on apprentices, who believed Leach. Ironically rather than Sung pots becoming the new standard Leach became the new standard. He created his own esthetic cult. Still our problem today is much the same as in his; a populace with little physical experience using good pots. Museums, galleries, blogs and books have shown us exceptional pottery in the 21st century but we have not extensively used them daily in our domestic environments. Physical engagement and emotional investment from a populace is currently needed to revitalize craft, not an academic standard.

Now the absence of beauty in our objects must as Leach says, “be intolerable to both maker and consumer. We desire not only food but the enjoyable zest of eating.” Today we have new sense of value in our objects because we live on a world stage that realizes recourses are finite and disposable isn’t really a thing.

Now we use the power of consumerism, or lack there of, to make choices that define our cultures and futures- one right choice is unique and beautiful craft.

How can we make and insert good handcrafted pottery into the daily lives of say Canadians and is that a solution?


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