I recently acquired a copy of pottery form which is a beautiful book by Daniel Rhodes which is a great introduction to pottery, containing information on technique as well as history around the medium.
I found some great quotes within this book..
“The Chinese seemed to have had little tolerance for the accidental. Pieces which were warped, crooked, or glaze-flawed were mostly broken at the kiln site. However, many pieces which had slight defects, or for one reason or another did not come up to the prevailing standard, were exported to Indonesia or the Phillipines. There, one can still find many Chinese pots which vary from the typical and are yet superb examples of the work of gifted Chinese craftsmen.”
I have always found beauty in the rawness of pottery. The way that every action by the hands is imprinted in the final outcome. I am not a potter myself, but as a photographer I enjoy the contrasts and similarities of the two mediums.
One of the most valuable things you learn at art school is to learn to appreciate or at least consider your first and second attempts at something. These beginning stages of a project is where one develops interesting research based on these experiences.
Many skilled potters have played up this idea of imperfection which really interests me. Birgit Severin is one of them. She exhibited some of her works in ‘Lifetimes,’ an exhibition held at DMY gallery in Berlin. The forms displayed appear to have been crafted to perfection and then dropped, still with function but visually imperfect. The vases have been created with rubber rotation casting using a 3D printed mould. Those which turn out successfully are allowed to harden while those with an imperfection are “either deformed by hand, so endued with dents, folds, and imperfections in a controlled process or are allowed to slowly slump into themselves creating a crotesque, random object that still functions, yet which bears no physical resemblance to the idealised image” (DMY design gallery). A beautiful reflection of the genre and it’s history.
Another more commercial image I quite enjoy reveals the beauty in Martin Azua’s work.
These vases have been similarly crafted to perfection but instead of being intentionally deformed when a fault has been found, these appear to be perfect forms, altered by a stone being dropped on top on completion. There is something quite captivating about the weight of a rock falling and altering the function of these vases, similarly to Severin’s vases being allowed to cave in on themselves.
I am currently pursuing a project based on these simple actions and the joys others find in their own mediums or crafts. I am interested in how others see, how others perceive their immediate environment through their chosen medium.
DMY Design gallery: https://www.smow.com/blog/2014/02/birgit-severin-lifetimes-at-the-dmy-design-gallery-berlin/
Martin Azua: http://www.martinazua.com/product/vase-with-stone/
Rhodes, D. (2010). Pottery Form. Dover publications. Mineola, New York.