The Golden Hollow Pottery features the hand-made pottery of Tad Crisp and is dedicated to both the art and utility of the wheel-thrown pottery form. Tad believes that life is too short and way too dull if one fills it with things designed to be adequate, but having no aesthetics, value or meaning. The things we use daily should be the best things we can get, from our morning
coffee cups to the tea or wine pitcher from which we serve our evening beverages. The household items we use, whether a simple flower vase to a more complicated tobacco humidor should be both functional and beautiful. There is no merit in having something that everyone else has. Pottery gives people an opportunity to be as expressive with their utility items as they are with their clothing. Why live a dull or ordinary life when we can easily and inexpensively fill it with both truth and beauty to it.
A Theory of Aesthetics in Functional Pottery
Clay The third category (and most contested) is that of functional pottery.
The key element to all three of these uses of clay is that of design. The application of the mind of the artist to solve both visual and special problems for each item it the thing which distinguishes a piece of art from a simple craft or manufactured item. I make pottery using porcelain, yet I am very thankful for the many non-art forms, made from the same substance, that I use every day.
All clay works made by artists and artisans fall into the broad category of Ceramics. The significant difference between the different genres is at issue when you speak of art and aesthetics. Some items are simply not made by ceramic artists. This category would include stove and furnace parts, commodes and electrical resisters. What is clay art and what is the difference between clay art and simple utilitarian items made out of clay. For example, an art potter might make a cup and retail it for $20-$50. A Chinese sweatshop of equally gifted craftsmen might make a similar (and sometimes even a superior) cup, mass produce it for the lucrative American department store market, some selling it for $15, some for $5 and finally the Dollar Tree selling the same item for $1. What is the difference? Can the product of the Chinese pottery not be considered clay art as well as that of the American artist? No. It the same way that a mass produces knockoff lithographic poster print cannot be considered on the same level as a serialized and signed print by the original artist. The key to this consideration is that one piece is being made by the artist/designer, whereas the other is being manufactured to nearly identical specifications for a mass market. The same consideration is true in various clay forms including decorative ware, tableware bathroom accessories et all. Tile work, bas relief sculpture and other forms of flat wall type work is usually classified in the same category as sculpture.