Recently, I’ve been thinking about the basic skills that are handed down from generation to generation and I wonder if our domestic skills are getting lost as we become a more consumer-based and service-orientated culture. It also wasn’t that long ago that most people had the skills to tackle any project that they wanted to do, whether it was simple sewing repairs, ironing, canning, or fixing leaky pipes—truth be told, I’ve never really learned to iron or make jam. It used to be that if you had a project you didn’t know how to do, there was almost certainly someone that was either family or a friend who you could turn to to learn the skills you needed. Back then, collective wisdom counted for a lot.
Working on each issue of PMI, I’m continuously reminded of how generous potters are. I have always felt potters, and crafts people alike, not only possess more hands-on skills, but are also more willing to tackle any project they put their minds to. We are more than just consumers, we are also producers of both objects and meaning. Our act of making requires a set of skills strung together to produce meaningful objects. And, our community is robust with talented makers to pass along their knowledge.
With this issue, we are looking forward to the annual National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) conference, held in Providence, Rhode Island, in March and we are tapping into the wealth of skills of East Coast ceramic artists. Yoshi Fujii, from Baltimore, shares his goblet throwing and grid-based carving techniques (pg. 22). Kyla Toomey based in Boston, shows us how to throw plates then add an intricate plaid pattern to the surface (pg. 35). Michelle Swafford, also from Baltimore, demonstrates her take on platter making with sprig decoration (pg. 17). And, Sandi Pierantozzi, potting in Philadelphia, teaches us how to make a well-fitting lid for an oval jar (pg. 6). Also in this issue: pourover coffee sets, mishima surface decoration, darting thrown forms, and vinyl-cut stencils.
While I may not have a well-pressed shirt or any delicious preserves from this year’s harvest, I now know how to use a canvas bat and make my own Japanese cut-off tool. Potters do have their priorities after all. See you in Providence!
–Holly Goring, editor.