He showed us some images of his thought-provoking work during the morning session. I was struck by the way he referenced the fragility of working with clay by way of his placing large pieces on fragile (plywood?) plinths; thus incorporating the plinth into the overall sculptural form. There is always this plinth debate at the heart of ceramic discourse, and I always welcome subversive responses/ conclusions. The plinth & lack of use of mixed media, I think, accurately displays the disparity between ceramics and its teachings under Fine Art and Art & Design respectively.
In the afternoon he further expounded his ideas through a lecture, recently delivered in Australia, entitled, if my notes serve me well, Future Directions: Is there hope for ceramics? I approved of his non-production stance. His discussion of short term market driven economics and the ethos of quantative production certainly sat well in my general thinking. When asked, towards the end, why he made in clay, he responded 'to grow' - and he meant in the most holistic of ways, as a useful citizen on this crowded, polluted earth. There was a mindfulness about him. Rare in the arts world of inflated egos and cool-cat cliches.
The thing he said that particularly caught my imagination was his notion of ceramics going into a refuge.
I wonder if this thinking is what he considers to be 'the poetics' of the medium. I have decided to write to him and ask for more information regarding his thinking and his relevant source material. He was generally, very reassuring re the path of the maker through clay, and I think all of us who were sitting absorbing his words benefited from that thought.
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