Sunday, March 15, 2009

Journey Workshop Mar 16 to - 20 The foot fits the pot

I have been thinking about Alex Solla's comment to my Jan 20 - Feb 20 blog. It was about a show years ago that Steven Hill had juried in California. Alex had a pot in it, and he still remembers Steven's comment about it - that the foot related (or not) to the pot and lid. I have been mulling over that comment and have been looking at my pots trying to analyze the feet in relationship to the rest of the pot. I have trouble with feet. It finally hit me when I was polishing the bottom foot of my large stamped fish platter. The rim was nice and thick. The foot was also quite deep, and set off the platter nicely but in cross section was not very wide - so it really did not look like it went with that pot. You would think that it would be obvious - but not to me.

Well after the disappointment of not making it into the Masterworks East Show hosted by the Ontario Craft Council, I decided to enter 4 pots (maximum entries)into the Ottawa Guild of Potters - I had joined them last summer as I wanted to get exposure to other potters. All 4 were accepted - which was fantastic, including the piece pictured called "Our Fragile Earth" (homeage to James Lovelock's 1970's theory of Gaia) and the platter with the weak foot. I guess Steven was not the juror! As 3 of the 4 pieces that I entered were very different in style I wonder if the juror thought they were picking three different people?

While in Ottawa I visited Octopus books - to see if they had any pottery books but quickly learned what a wonderful store it was - it labels itself as a different book store specializing in books that encourage analytical thinking on politics, the environment and society. I ended up buying two books - both of which I will find inspirational for my pottery work. The first was a short picture book "Revolution" - pictures done in red, black and white and simple figures done with paper - cut out and torn. The other book I have just started reading and found that I am having a hard time putting it down. It is called Dark Ages America. Very depressing - and perhaps sensationalist and extremely anti American - but lots of good points being made about the future of our society.

We had another pot session at the Guild - this time looking at cups and how they functioned. Definitely no consensus about what handle works best! However handles must feel smooth and several handles had rough edges - definitely would not make it into the favorite category. Same with the lip - some just lacked that slight indent at the lip to make sipping a little more comfortable. Almost all the cups had flat bottoms - no holding pools of water in the dishwasher that way!

To see a slide show of the Masterworks Show -

1 comment:

Alex Solla said...

Your post today made me smile. I remember about 5 years ago when someone at a show commented on my deep footrings holding water after going through the dishwasher. They wanted me to change my bowl style to suit their dishwasher. Mind you, I believe that listening to your customers is crucial, but I have admit, I dont have a dishwasher. I wash stuff by hand. Water still collects there but it doesnt make me want to stop making deep feet.

As for mugs... I think mug feet are probably the most overlooked part of mugs. Everyone obsesses over handles, and rightfully so. But feet and lips dont get nearly as much care as they deserve.

I think if you were to anthropomorphize your average mug, its casual and oftentimes less-than-considered foot would give it a look akin to a couch potato having dinner in front of the TV. No poise, no grace. It may work, sure. Flip-flops work too. But if you're claybody looks hairy or has the visual equivalent of chipped nail polish...maybe skipping the flipflops is a good idea. Sneakers are okay. Crocs are fine. Mugs dont necessarily call for Manolo Blahniks.

I understand that mugs are made with a sense of economy. They are the cheapest thing most of us make. Yet I also see them as something all my customers refer to... as in MY favorite mug. They love our bowls, plates, and pitchers, but mugs are so personal.

Suffice to say, I have strong feelings about the functionality of pots.

I'll save my thoughts on lips on mugs for another day.