Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Latest on Ceramics World Domination

I posted links to some of my blogs on the forum which serves a mainly American audience and was BLOWN AWAY by the responses, here is a link to the full thread, I will break it down a bit and take out some of the suggestions and ideas put forward. There appears to be wide spread recognition by those that contributed to the thread that Ceramics is in a state on flux and is largely on the down turn. University courses are closing, not just in the UK (any info about any other countries would be absolutely brilliant) Ceramics is not being taught on any thing other than a superficial level in schools. I am a secondary school art teacher and I have been involved with the firing up project with the crafts council in the UK in a drive to raise the profile of ceramics in a education. I see it with my own eyes in almost every school I go to. So if there is no one learning it now what it the future of ceramics?

If you type Ceramics into google trends it is plain to see that the amount the Ceramics has been 'Googled' over the past 7 years all over the world is in a steady decline. And is only just starting to Plateau . How do we make this rise? How do we increase general interest.

I will put forward some of the ideas suggested by other Ceramists. I have my own agenda whether I fully realise it or not and these quotes are taken to explore a point that I have seen. I recommend that you take a look at the whole thread to see if you think I am chatting utter rubbish, I have taken the points out of context and it would be wort seeing them in their original place.

Chris Cambell past president of the Potters Council who put forward this suggestion

'The best thing that could happen right now is for potters to hitch their wagons to the "Buy Local" movement. If we could get into that frame of reference marketing we would be golden. You want to buy local food, well how about serving it in local wares'

There has been an enormous rise in the desire for locally made, I link this with the down turn of the economy and the onslaught of the technical revolution in the 1980s. With every move away from what is deemed 'natural', 'organic', 'traditional' or comfortable and familiar there is a counter movement putting us in touch with our roots. It could be likened to the advent of the Arts and Crafts in the 1800 during Industrialisation. People realise that in a global community we need to invest in our locality. Tescos, Starbucks and all these mammoth organisations do little for local communities and take the money and business else where. There is general recognition that in order to keep our communities as communities we need to invest in them, with time and money, or they will whither and die. No body wants to live in a no mans land town which I am sure we have all seen, no matter where in the western world you live. The big multi nationals have taken the business to the industrial estate out of town and all that can be found on the high street is boarded up shops and the proverbial tumble weed. 

Can Ceramics be part of this local revolution? I do see this as a way forward. One of many ways, it should form part of the ceramics revolution, it is a solution but not the situation. We need local makers feeding the local community (which lets face it is quite an old school romantic leachesque idea). But we also need something else something forward looking and innovative, something different, outside of the comfort zone of the old school potter. Dare I adopt the rhetoric of the multi nationals and say a rebranding!!

I am looking for a way to bring ALL of these threads and ideas together. If ANYONE has ANYTHING they are doing which is another way forward. PLEASE comment or send a link.

I have much more to say on this and there is more that I would like to pull from that thread on Ceramic Arts Daily and reflect on. HOWEVER I only have two ceramics days a week (yes you guessed it teaching part time) and I am trying to stick to and hour and a half out of each of those days for blogs/emails etc and I have already gone over today. So I have to stop.....NOW.

One more thing, if you have a reflection or thought. I don't care if you hate my ideas, or you just saw something on the weekend, what ever. PLEASE post a comment here. That way I can gather everything in one place. I am starting to think PHD, and could this be the basis of some sort of research of the current state of ceramics. Just a thought at the moment. 

And finally on a personal note I fired my new kiln for the first time this weekend (£150 it cost, what a bargain). And this is the moment of the first opening of the first bisque....



Phill Schmidt said...

I like reading your blog! I don't think you need to worry about where ceramics is going. It has been around forever and won't be going anywhere. I do like that you blog about functional pots sometimes though.

Just so you know, you have grammar errors that make it hard to follow sometimes. You have incomplete sentences and a lack of punctuation that makes it less fun/easy to read.

Anne Castano said...

Hi Phill, thank you for your comments. I will check my punctuation and grammar in future. You see, I am so passionate and get into such a frenzy when I write, that all of those comers, false stops float off the screen and out the window! I really enjoy writing, often spending way longer on it than I planned. I know that I need to polish it up a bit. I need a proof reader!

What do you do? Are you potty? You are right that ceramics won't disappear. I was in the British Museum the other day looking at Cycladic pots from 1500 years BC. It blew my mind. Many of the methods I use are largely unchanged from all that time ago. It was like being confronted, in a positive way, by a long lost relative!

Please keep reading and commenting, it's great to know that there are people out there through the pc screen...

Phill Schmidt said...

Haha I know what you mean about being in a frenzy when writing. I am a potter from Minnesota, but currently am working in Boston (temporarily). I like your blog and will keep reading, no worries Anne!