Friday, May 11, 2007

Tinker, tailor, potter, designer....

I am in an exhibition called Queensland New Design which opened last night at Craft Queensland in the Valley in Brisbane. As an artist I am really pleased to be part of this exhibition . It is often overlooked that artist are designers. In the art world good design is spoken about in terms of composition, color , line and form. The artist combines all of these elements , refining the concept until, with these simple ingredients the finished piece articulates the idea in the clearest way possible.

“This first-time event marks the great ‘unearthing’ of our State’s design wealth and the future of innovative design in Queensland,” Craft Queensland Executive Director Chetana Andary says. Highlighting new designs and tapping into the hottest local design talent, the QND program is set to showcase eleven ‘best of the best’ hand-made objects from the state’s simmering design scene."

This is the publicity blurb for this event and it is kind of a funny place for my work to be as it highlights design particularly the type of design which heads towards being manufactured in bulk. When I went to the judging for the shortlist one of the judges asked me" if I had considered getting my works manufactured in China." At the time I was so shocked I just said that was not where I saw my practice going but what I really meant was I think it is unethical to get your work manufactured in another country simply because the people there will work for very low wages. It is also environmentally and socially unsustainable to ship work across the world and back again.

Manufacturing my work in the community I live in strengthens the both the community and the artist. I buy my clay from a local business and, should I ever become prosperous enough I will be able to employ local people. I think it is really important for artists to manufacture within their communities, it leads to a greater understanding of what artists do and makes a rich, textured community where productivity leads directly to local products and local profits.

Am I an artist or a designer? A potter or a ceramicist or a ceramist!? What do we call ourselves and how does it define us?


annadee said...

Hear hear! How strange that they use the term 'hand made' in their publicity material yet the selection panel have an interest in mass production off shore.

My bugbear is the use of 'hot' to describe designers. It sounds like fashion magazine terminology which makes me think design may be hot today but what about tomorrow?

I try to avoid definitions. It can get you in trouble!

(ps the links to your images appear broken but that might be a problem at my end)

Rebecca-the-Wrecker said...

here, here! thanks shannon for this post. what do you think about the term 'designer-maker'?

annadee said...

Ooops, is it 'here, here!' I always forget. what a dummy, or should that be dumby?!

I say 'contemporary jeweller' even though I also make things that aren't jewellery. Contemporary Craftsperson would be good if it just didn't sound so clumsy.

Anonymous said...

Dear Shannon
i found your entry, ceramics lookimng for info on Dab Horgan. Just like to say they look incredibly beautiful and i hope you have continued success with your art.

Mel Robson said...

I just had the same uncertainty about "hear hear" or "here here" when I wrote it the other day! I thought it was "here here" as in me too, yep here I am, same here....but it could also be "hear hear" as in I hear ya!

Congrats on the show Shannon. Your work looked beautiful....I mean 'hot'....! And yes, the blurb and the show didn't really match...a little disappointing really...there was so little handmade work in it, but I'm glad you at least were flying the flag!