In This Issue

Oct 1, 2020

There is a book I used when I was teaching foundations of art called A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger von Oech. It’s a book full of exercises to unlock creativity, to help you get out of your own way and quiet your brain while achieving flow in your process. One of my favorite exercises, one that I employ in my own practice (and life) focuses on consulting an oracle by letting a random piece of information guide you.

We put meaning onto everything we encounter, but how much do we listen to the lessons those interpretations are delivering to us?

The concept is not so different from the truth many of us learned in our art rearing: the interpretation of an art object reveals more about the viewer, or the user in the case of functional objects, than the maker. If we tune our ears and our hearts toward listening to the metaphors and parallels arising from our observations and, more specifically, from the stories in this month’s issue of Studio Potter, what will we learn to help us navigate, not only our studio practices this month, but the increasingly complicated landscape we are living in?

I don’t want to become prescriptive, but I will share that I personally saw many lessons revealed as the October stories were crafted. Some lessons are more evident than others, and some might be cautionary tales, while some are a comfort, but I believe they are there. Let’s say that the October issue has become organized around the theme of EMBEDDED LESSONS. Whatever level you find yourself gleaning from reading them, I hope you enjoy the journey.

The journey is really all we have.

In this issue:

Theatre of the Domestic: The Works of Martina Lantin and Zimra Beiner

By Amy Gogarty and Mireille Perron

“Their ceramic objects serve as repositories of technique, mobility, potential, and function, enhancing our understanding and appreciation of situations afforded by domestic environments. Creating meaningful relationships with objects enables us to envision more sustainable worlds with fewer, but, better, things.” A critical consideration of the installation A Better Understanding, by Martina Lantin and Zimra Beiner.

Navel of the Universe

By Mary Ellen Greenwood

An excerpt from Women, Surrealism & Abstraction – The Poetry Project, at the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art on the Utah State University campus in Logan, Utah – poem inspired by Eva Kwong’s work.

A Cluttered History

By Matt Mitros

“...the stimuli that catch our attention in a moment in time are not actually ‘things’ but rather the emotional and psychological association that the thing has triggered.”

Mitros endeavors to address the questions posed in the survey response, “I would be interested in an article about Matt Mitros’s recent work in comparison to studio pottery and how or if it fits in. Does it need to fit in? Does it make sense to make studio pottery anymore? Is the act of repeating the same thing over and over important? Is this watering down content, does Mitros’s work have content? Is a firing style content?” 

The Evolution of Failure

By Caleb Buckler

Studio Potter gave free access to the online journal to 387 educational institutions, supporting their unexpected transition to remote learning in the spring of 2020. We invited educators, from all classrooms, regardless of how “classroom” was defined, to give their students a writing assignment and send us the top three for publication consideration. Alex Kraft, associate professor at the University of North Georgia, Dahlonega, asked her students to write comparative essays based on resources from the Studio Potter archives. Buckler took the cue to explore the usefulness of failure, arriving at the conclusion that COVID-19 has provided us with an opportunity to, “…...take leaps of faith to experiment, during this time while no one is around to watch.

A Quarantine Meditation: A Feminist Celebration

By Rebecca Sive

In the year of the suffragette centennial, a passionate collector lifts up women ceramists and considers the aesthetics of her holdings against the backdrop of her quarantine garden, "As often as I have the opportunity, I proclaim it  time to aggressively advocate for the commitment of art institutions, collectors, schools, and professional associations to support women clay artists..."

Deconstructing Assumptions

By Heather Nameth Bren

Are you a circular thinker or a linear thinker or something between the two? “Fueled by a curiosity about the limits of clay explored throughout human history, I know that everything I make exists within a larger context.”

Be well and thanks for reading,

Jill Foote-Hutton, editor

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