Pottery has an endless array of subjects to explore, from chemistry to structural proportions to philosophies behind creation. I think the most intriguing part of functional pottery is it’s ability to connect the artist, the material, and the user. The marriage of function and beauty in pottery demands a sincere awareness of and commitment to reality from the artist.
In this vein, Leach is also keen to promote the value in making repeat work, similar to Hans Rookmaaker’s value in perspiration, saying that no art is instant; it comes from long hard work, practice, and repetition. It is not merely 'good genes.' Leach demands a balance both in the artist and in the pot. He demands thought behind every action, analyzing the clay, the foot, the form, and more.
“We are searching for a balanced form of self expression, and potting is one of the few activities today in which a person can use his natural faculties of head, heart, and hand in balance. If the potter is making utensils for use – simple bowls, pitchers, mug and plates – he is doing two things at the same time: he is making ware that may give pleasure in use, which provides one form of satisfaction to the maker, and he is traveling in the never-ending search for perfection of form, which gives a different gratification. As these two activities come together and the potter is at one with the clay, the pot will have life in it.”To use my new arts management lingo, that "pleasure in use" is rather like 'external marketing' or thinking about the user, while the "perfection in form" is like 'internal marketing' or thinking about your personal standards. We can't get stuck on just one or the other. As usual, it is about striking a balance.
|by Sarah Coffin|