In This Issue
I am grateful for the opportunity to rekindle my dormant international and national friendships at the 56th Conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts in Sacramento, California. It has been far too long since my last exchange with distant ceramic friends. Yet, in light of the excitement to reconnect, 6,320 miles to the east of Sacramento, our fellow ceramic artists in Ukraine are fleeing or fighting to protect their friends, family, and children.
For every pleasant NCECA exchange, there are also equal news reports of missile attacks and the bold resistance of the Ukrainian people. This push and pull of ceramic merriment against international conflict has me questioning, once again, where these two mindsets converge. I can't help but look beyond ceramic studio practice and find the artists and writers who summon the talents and strength they inherently carry and transform their practices into purposeful work that lives in contribution to their community.
Our April issue features articles addressing the social issues of war, humanitarian efforts, and the work that goes into finding peace. The art historian in me wants to contextualize and annotate the fine words of our writers this month, but the editor in me wants to convey to you the significance of which ceramics can be the bridge – the bridge to learn from our ancient past and the bridge to social restoration.
"Pottery wasn't made when there were threats of war and bloodshed. When examining ancient sherds and tool marks, one can sense the kind of peace and calm that it took to make long, unwavering parallel lines, to notch the rims with careful repeating indentations, and to spend the time making what was to become more than a simple container. It was a life-providing vessel used to feed the next generations." – Richard Zane Smith
This month, I ask our readers, "What if value was not placed on ceramic objects but on investment in social restoration?" I don't suspect there is a clear answer to this, but I believe the writers and artists in Studio Potter's April issue are just a few, of the great many, who are working towards that.
– Randi O'Brien