A rant is coming and it isn't for the faint of heart.
Spending most of my Spring on the road and neglecting my usual Spring activities I've had the opportunity to see LOTS of pottery, art and exhibits. Still in the full "art" pilgrimage mode, we started Friday night at the Lakeland May Show. There were a few stand out pieces; Michael Romanik's "Oriole and Poplar" was drop dead gorgeous! Loved Diana Bjel's pieces; "Horse" and "Coca Cola Virgin". Loved Anthony Mitri's "Corn"! If I had $5,000 I would have bought it but then I just heard somebody in Zephyrhills, Florida won over half a BILLION dollars and alas, I live in Paine Falls, Ohio. Nuts! Loved Bette Drake's; "Bowl" too. Why did I love these pieces? They were extremely well made and they had integrity! There were over 400 pieces juried for this show, I believe 80+ were juried in. I saw the rooms, yes rooms of "ART". As my dear friend observed recently; "I wouldn't hit a running dog in the ass with that work!" Don't tell me it's subjective either. Crap is Crap! I may put that on bumper sticker or tattoo it on my forehead. If you're going to claim you make "ART" make it well, make it with integrity. Maybe we need a juror just for 3 dimensional work? Dunno........
Left the May Show and worked our way over to 78th Street Studios........ First stop Tregoning Gallery. Interesting show, a few wanders, wouldn't call it packed. We got a glass of wine and toured the exhibit. Did not rock my world but was well executed. I had a chance to talk to Mr Tregoning, lovely man. We were introduced via the bartender; a chatty guy as any bartender should be and asked if we were artists. Nope, a potter, whence enters Mr MP and asked; what does one need to do to show work in the gallery. Ok, he is director of operations in the world of construction and he not one to beat around the bush. If you do beat around the bush in the world of construction it can cost millions and sometimes billions. So lay it out there and I do love that...... but wait this is my world! And this is just not done! One makes an appointment and follows up! But again...... alas, the door was flung open I was in, up to my neck. The very nice man asked what I did. I responded Ceramic Art, I knew pottery was not going to fly. He rolled his head back, looking skyward and said: DECORATIVE ART IS DEAD, I NEVER TOUCH IT! Well OKEY DOKEY...... moving on as I never pick up dog poop either. Note to self, GOT IT! Then I was given a lecture on; Cleveland is now the hot bed of the art world and hundreds, yes, hundreds of artists are moving back to Cleveland because there are so many venues to show work. Well knock me over and show me the door boyfriend, I believe I have my big girl panties on backwards and I will leave you your illusions. But, Hey, you are clearly making a living off your gallery so party on, without me!
I had had enough and looked for Mr. MP who was just pouring another glass of wine and having a lovely chat with the bartender...... still. I walked over and said I've had a lovely chat and was now educated on the Cleveland art scene and I was ready to retreat to Paine Fall and my flock of chickens.
He gulped his wine, saying telling the bartender; Wow, tell this guy he missed a great opportunity. And that is why I love him as he carries his pom pom's everywhere and right out there where you can see them....... and he is my biggest fan!
We walked out and into the studio scene of W78th. We wandered through studio after studio looking for something, anything that screamed; 'I AM ART!" We returned home to watch Harry Potter and drink bourbon out of my Will Swanson shino yunomi. I rolled it in my hands and relished the weight, the glaze, the caress of the edge on my lip, the finished bottom....... swoon and gulp!
I worked in the studio all day yesterday and rolled this stuff around in my head. I keep thinking I am getting old because my work takes so long to complete but NO! I strive to make every piece like Will Swanson's yunomi. Pieces with integrity, well made, make me go weak in the knees and that takes a long time. I will spend a day carving one teapot, yeah I know I'm not going to make much money on that teapot but when it's done I gonna be happy! The weaving is going to compliment the pot or it gets hammered.
Is taking this much time worth the effort? Maybe I'm the idiot and should just start slapping stuff out with quirky names to make a living. Maybe it's time to go back to functional and just get stuff out there.
After Boston, I know the paradigm has shifted in our world of shows and fine craft. Can I afford an expensive show and take a loss or is there a better way to present functional art and non functional art? Stuff well made that makes you swoon and gulp!
so again......... Crap is Crap and beauty is not in the eye of the beholder!
Yup, the emperor is wearing new clothes ........ again!