Journal

A Muddy Start

Welcome to my Pottery Blog! Well almost it starts in earnest on Tuesday.

Pinch pot eggs with layered underglazes

I came to pottery late in life but took to it (second time round) straight away, as I’ll explain later. My very first sight of pottery equipment was at Secondary School where it was gathering dust in a classroom that was seldom used. Indeed in my 6 years there I only saw one potter’s wheel in action once. A teacher was making a trophy for a school prize though what for, I can’t recall. My interest was kindled and given my school was a recent response to the local grammar school that my siblings attended closing, I remain puzzled as to why pottery wasn’t on the menu.

My evening classes were in the main at a school and over the years I’ve had to travel further and further to do any. I once had a gap of two years as I just couldn’t get booked on a course for demand was that high. In addition to this, City and Guilds qualifications saw fit to abandon offering pottery as an option and all adult learning craft skills seem to have followed the same fate. It’s little wonder that practical abilities and crafts have seen a marked decline which I feel does not bode well for the future. Am I the very last generation to have been taught any, I wonder?   

Miniature geometric slab pots with underglazes

Studying Maths, Sciences, English and latterly Technology, (though not available in my day) are all very useful too but without practical skills and crafts I fear were heading for a dumbing down of skills that not only are useful to have for things that can save you money at home but also broader employment opportunities in lean times.    

Car repairs are a good example as modern cars come with sealed units that force you to go back to manufacturer even for something as simple as a loose wire which you could tighten yourself or get a mechanic to do thereby putting their independent livelihoods at risk. Old units are not cost effective to recycle so just get dumbed making the whole process costly, inefficient and downright irresponsible for the huge greed monster companies behind these initiatives in all aspects of our lives.     

You don’t need to be a genius to work out that it will lead to great levels of unemployment, greater division of society between those who are exceptionally well educated and those who are not and ultimately a day when they can’t do it anymore because all the resources will be used up and the majority of the world won’t be able to afford high tech stuff anyway. Maybe we’ve arrived there already.

A tile with glass inclusions

It’s a very bleak prospect and one I think worthy of mentioning for readers to think about to lobby governments to legislate over. Designer obsolescence was always meant to enable businesses to keep going not kill livelihoods and life on Earth but it’s become so greedy among major corporations, so morally reprehensible, so wasteful, elitist and bad for all long term futures at a time when such things always need much more consideration rather than less that I now feel governments who could set some limits through legislation are incapable of thinking about anything clearly or have any logical capability left Little wonder that Keith from ‘The Great Pottery Throwndown’ TV programme fame joined a campaign to put an end all this insanity and I’m right behind him. He has inspired me to make a my views known and in several ways has prompted me to return to pottery too.