Thursday, June 26, 2014
1001POTS Val David, Quebec. Canada
This was the opening address given by me at the 2013 1001POTS Opening.
Welcome to 1001POTS 2013 edition.
This is a special event in that 1001Pots is celebrating its 25th anniversary. A big milestone such as this provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the past 25 years, especially for those of us who were here at the start.
A common question among potters who have participated in 1001POTS tends to be:
Why do we create with clay?
Depending on the person, there are many answers to this question. But before I give you my reason, I want to take you back to the beginning of 1001Pots and look at how the world we know has changed.
The first year of 1001POTS was the year that the Berlin wall came down.
*There were the pro-democracy demonstrations and student massacres in Tiananmen Square.
*The Soviet Union began the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, and Nintendo Game Boy went on sale and
*A group of 53 potters gathered at a small village called Val David. It was located about 100 kilometers north of Montreal, Quebec, The reason of the gathering was to host a pottery and ceramic exhibition and sale.
Kinya Ishakawa was the gentleman responsible for organizing the event.
In the years that followed
*the internet was something very new and technical, and was used mostly by the military.
*The World Wide Web was established in 1990.
*Computers were gaining in popularity, but personal data storage was limited to large floppy disks that held a mere 64k of information, today we can hold 64 gig on a little device called a USB.
*The Hubble telescope was put into space the same year.
*Global positioning became feasible in 1993.
*DVDs were developed in 1995.
*Mammal cloning happened in 1997 and in this year we gained the MP3 player. We no longer had to carry around large box radios on our shoulder.
*Google joined the lineup in 1998 followed by the DVR. Now we could copy those songs by the thousands. Intellectual property became the buzz word in the legal world. Napster followed, where peer to peer communication allowed the sharing of music.
*The Human Genome Project was launched in 2000.
*We were given the first AbioCar artificial heart in 2001.
*In 2003 the first visit to mars by the Mars Exploration Rover took place.
I mention these events today, to show that technology made massive advancements during the past 25 years, yet, we as potters, ceramicists and artists, continued to create art and craft, using a medium that accompanied man and his world for thousands of years. We have continued to follow a traditional art form, that of working with clay.
The potters before us took dry earth found on the banks of a river or stream, added some water, mixed the two together and form that malleable substance that we call stoneware, porcelain and clay.
They then used this soft malleable mixture to create a volume; a vessel to hold water, to store grain and in some instances, hold human remains.
They created forms of man, women, animals, fauna, and dwellings.
They use these forms as three dimensional canvases that allow images to be carved, drawn and painted upon.
They created cups from which to drink and bowls from which to eat. They created forms that represented their emotions and their feelings; forms that inspire the potters of today.
They then transformed these clay objects through the use of fire.
When we compare working with clay to the technology of the last 25 years, it is clear to see that clay transformation was in its self, a monumental, technical advancement that has served mankind through civilization.
The ceramics from the past remind us that, the objects we create today will become icons of our culture in the future.They will be the markers of our history and our cultures.
They will serve us water, tea, spirits, and food.
The objects we create will also serve our desire to have items of beauty enter into our daily lives. They will be looked at, fondled, used and cared for so that future generations will benefit from our artistic desire.
So why do we do clayart?
I quote J.M Thornton; “we get no greater pleasure than showing each other our mud pies.”
I hope I have given all of you here today something to think about over the next 25 years of 1001POTs.