Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Ingenuity.......Australian craft in and out of the studio

There are many potters who have an ingenious do-it -yourself streak. They work in studios they have cobbled together out of a few bent nails and some wood salvaged from the local tip, they make their own machinery from washing machine engines they found by the side of the road and brew their own evil beer from secret forest ingredients. I am not one of those potters.

But I admire ingenuity and building skills. I love getting glimpses into other people's work places to see the solutions they have come up with and the more whimsical the materials they use the more delightful and funny it is. This reminds me a show that these sort of potters would love. The Bush Mechanics followed the exploits of a group of aboriginal guys from the Warlpiri tribe as they made their way around the Outback in a series of old bombs. As the cars slowly disintegrated these guys would replace parts with anything they could scavenge- I remember one episode when the wheels fell off and were replaced by bits of wood acting more or less as skis attached to the rear axle!

The flip side to the Ingenious Potter of course is the Smug Luddite Potter who stands up at conferences and speaks in an insufferably superior tone about the intellectual and artistic moral turpitude of potters who "buy clay in bags". You might also hear this boring type raving on about how the "public" is woefully ignorant of ceramic technique and needs to be "educated" so they can see the immense cultural and spiritual value of the Smug Potter's own work!


Ruth Quibell said...

This made me laugh. I've never seen or heard a Smug Luddite Potter before, but I'm sure I've come across his/her kin in other worlds!

Michael Kline said...

Love the video.

I've always been mechanically challenged but that doesn't keep me from trying. There is a satisfaction in DIY, unfortunately there's no money in it for me because of the time it takes to learn something I may never have to do again. But then, it may just keep my brain alive!


I must say... "I am not one of those potters" either...I am definitely "resourceful"...but more along the lines of figuring out how to do things if I don't know how...or surfing on line for the info or to BUY something. I won't be digging my own clay... The best I can do is make my own glazes...AND generally, I find it painful.

I think we should all be able to live in peace together. Right???

Janet K @ Manly Gallery said...

Very funny series, wonderfully directed! how about a little photo from your studio Shannon! hope all is well.