Artisan Compared to Corporate Pottery Andrea Janss

What is lost with the mass production of pottery?

Pottery barn on left. My own on right.

This vase on the left was made by the corporation Pottery Barn with a technique that involves a cracking in the glaze, also known as raku. My pot is also raku, but I created it in a classroom at McCallum. I chose to juxtapose these two processes because one is so unique and still an art form while the other process is a cheapening of art and has just become a decoration to put in the corner of a room. Corporate made pottery (Pottery Barn) has become a mass produced commodity and has alienated pottery from being an art.

Pottery barn on left. My own on right.

With the mass production of pot after pot there seems to be less appreciation with this art form. Like I said earlier, it is cheapening pottery, the way people just buy these pots just to fill space in their homes gives no meaning to the art behind them. Pottery barn creates their pottery in mass with the same pattern template done over and over that they just slap on the pots they have created from molds. I have created my pot above on a throwing wheel and used a coiling technique to create my desired height and fired it in a simple kiln in class. I glazed it with handmade glazes by students in class and dipped half in white and half in a color called floating blue. I had no idea how the final outcome would turn out but that's what makes it art and so unique. It has some defects in the glaze and bubbles and pinholes that the glaze didn't reach but it makes the pot different and gives it character unlike a factory made mold.

Pottery barn on top. My own on bottom.

Pottery originated as art with a purpose, typically for storage. The pot above from Pottery barn will most likely be used for putting decorative plants of some sort, or nothing at all. The style of pottery that I have created is made for storing large amounts of food typically, like kimchi. Along with storing food, the purpose for pottery could also be for cooking food, and distributing food as well. For example there is a technique for the lips of pots called a bevel-rim, allowing for easy pouring with no awkward dripping around the lip. There are intentional designs behind pottery, not just decorative features.

Pottery barn on left. My own on right.

Culture is especially involved with the art of pottery. The main style of pottery I create is influenced by Onggi, a style of pottery originating from Korea. They are typically large vessels that are made for storage and are absolutely beautiful. The technique to make them is a long process that involves coiling (how I make my own). Although I don't make them exactly as big, I am greatly inspired by onggi in all of my works. There is a human experience behind every pot potters make. You see the quality of their work and their artistic expression as they are influenced by something to create their piece. Overall you just don't receive the same feeling from a corporate made pot like you do artisan made, you lose the feeling behind it, the culture, the art.

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