Thursday, June 30, 2016

Social Media Shaping Art

There's an article in the LA Times this week, by Carolina Miranda, about the influence of social media on the ways people make and present art. I think immediately how this may refer to pottery.

Some of it doesn't much relate to pots  -- for example the built-in censorship of pictures of nude people. Or Instagram as a medium in itself  for art.

Some does. Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest are places to display art, to get people to see it,  to discuss it. Pots too.

But  -- here is where it gets interesting  -- each medium shapes what can be presented effectively in it.
"social media can be a difficult space for artists to present ideas or images that lie outside of the gauzy universe of sunsets and cappuccinos". If that's true, why?

 Some of it is the custom, what we expect to see, and find acceptable in this sort of conversation  -- fairly safe stuff often. Sure, pottery is mostly safe and public.

Some of it is the self-presentation of the artist, trying to manage the conversation about his/her art, by weird things like creating and presenting a brand of oneself.

Some of it is the scale and form of pictures online. I've put some pictures of my pots on Facebook; they look dull and distant. Is it my photos? Is it the space Facebook offers for photos? And are photos appropriate at all for grasping 3 dimensional anything? We have habits to help; we are accustomed to looking at photos of people, landscapes, and other real, 3 dimensional, and moving things. Maybe video helps  -- you could walk around a sculpture, or turn a pot.

I put pictures in these blog posts. Do you get much connection with the objects from this?

The pictures might emphasize different qualities than a personal encounter with the real piece of art. "...some of these services...may be quietly shaping the way art is produced and shown, perhaps even motivating artists and art institutions to feature work that looks attractive on digital platforms, even if it feels flimsy in real life." Certainly it's all visual. And there's an emphasis in a lot of social media on quick approval.

And what about the real"feel"? Functional pottery especially is meant to be handled, lived with. It's a tactile medium. We haven't yet got that in any kind of recording. Etsy, the website for handmade products, encourages people setting up shops on Etsy to include multiple photos of each object, from all angles. Here's an example of mine.

I think that helps, but it's not touch, texture, weight, or use.

 This is one of the reasons I like art shows and craft sales; people can engage in multiple senses with the pots I'm offering, and I get to participate.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Patience It Takes

I keep trying new forms, of course; there is no end to the possibilities of clay. Usually I feel fairly competent at making pots, have been doing it for a while now.

But every new thing requires more learning.

The idea comes from this cake stand, seen at a fund-raising party while I was in the kitchen, and from the enthusiasm of a collector of cake stands. Why can't I make some?

I've been trying. The first two, handbuilt from slabs of clay imprinted with wood patterns (fun idea, huh?) never held together, and are in the trash. This worked, sort of, but warped in the kiln.

Hmm, looks ok from the top. Anything with that overhang risks warping, so I'll make them at low-fire kiln temperatures, cone 05.

Ah, better.

But still a bit uneven.

OK, this is the general idea, but there are mysteries remaining. Another cake stand, drying flat, warped drastically while drying, and is recycled. Maybe the plates may stay flatter when made on a wheel, rather than as a slab? Not sure. And finding little advice online. Do you know how to do this?

Perhaps because the inspiring pot is so bright (yes, I should have gotten the hint there that it is low-fired), I am invited to glaze wilder than I generally think or choose. Fun. And a new direction.