art vs. craft


Discussion on virtually any teaware related item.

Re: art vs. craft

Postby theredbaron » May 14th, '13, 03:13

Tead Off wrote:I think the reality of tea has nothing to do with what one believes to be true or false. History is always an interpretation according to the viewer's background and point of view. Once the viewer is questioned, a different point of view comes about.

If we look at India as a culmination of culture and tradition, I dare say it is a disaster there. No where will you find more filth, dilapidation, and human poverty as well as a system put in place by religion that keeps the average man in place and continues this madness. The sheer amount of corruption and dirty dealing that goes on there is not unique to India but is an overwhelming fact of life visible for anyone to see. If you are a romantic, and a seeker for some utopian vision that you've read about, India can offer myriads of entertainment in this field. Culture is a man-made product. You don't need it to enjoy a nice cuppa tea. You only need some basic tools to make the drink, the rest is pure entertainment and speculation in one's mind. Whatever is in this moment can never have anything to do with what came before. It is only our thinking that links up all these chains of so-called cause and effect. But, this kind of conversation is better left for face to face discussion over some nice tea.



India is all that you say.
Nevertheless, it also is one of the world's centers of learning, art and science, and has more beauty - both natural and man-made - than most places on earth. Several world religions have been born there (and there are theories that even Christianity has been strongly influenced by religious believes and philosophies of India). I have spent about two years in India, and yes, it drove me mad at times, and i don't think i could live there (and stay somewhat sane). :wink:

Anyhow - i do disagree with the idea that whatever is in this moment has anything to do what came before. All that we are has been shaped by what came before, and even and especially this communication here, based on a language that was developed over ten-thousands of years.

Tea itself came into being because a distant ancestor of ours decided to use it as a natural medical herb. Taoist believes transformed tea into a thing that is also beneficial to the mind. Tools and ceremonies were developed to improve this experience, and with it different methods to process tea from the raw material picked from the trees into the finished product. In Japan Zen had a major influence in the particular way of Japanese tea appreciation. Korean culture left its own brand on Korean tea, and since the Brits developed their way of tea, both tea has shaped British culture, and British culture has shaped tea. We can say the same thing about Africa, and the middle east, and Russia.
Tea, and tea ware are not just a natural product, but a mixture of a natural product, and how man improved it - both in a materialistic sense, and philosophically.

With each cup of tea, we don't just drink pure entertainment - but a long tradition, accumulated wisdom and abilities of hundreds of generations of humans.

At least, that's how i personally feel about tea.
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Re: art vs. craft

Postby Tead Off » May 14th, '13, 04:20

It only seems that one moment is related to another giving the impression of time and space. And, this notion was also developed in India through the Vedas, the Buddha, and other voices. But very few people actually have come to experience this in their life and continue to live their life as a separate being traveling through time and space to some distant fate. This whole conceptual picture is what I'm questioning and there seems to be some truth that we are not what we think we are.

We really don't know how tea came into everyday use. There are many stories. But it is clear that you don't need a tradition behind you to enjoy it. I'm not against tradition, only against the insistence that tradition be maintained no matter what. Tradition becomes a trap. This is why most of the world's immigration takes place because people are looking for ways out of the trap of the old ways. The old ways can stifle one's energy, imagination, and development. When you cannot make your way in life within a society that doesn't give you a fair chance, you leave. This is what Indians and Chinese as well as many other nationalities have done since time began. Everything is moving and changing. In many cases, tradition wants to prevent this, wants to freeze the natural tendency towards change usually because of power, greed, etc. I see this within the world of traditional pottery. Potters I know want to break out of the mold but tradition and society try to hold them back for various reasons. I see this both in Korea and China. Potters forced to work within the confines of certain traditions because no one will buy their work if it is different. This is where the influence of western cultures come into play on Asian cultures. Taste is different and the slow but ensuing meld will change both cultures into something else eventually. But, in the meantime........
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Re: art vs. craft

Postby futurebird » May 14th, '13, 04:29

theredbaron wrote:If i would be rich enough to collect art, and to afford an appropriately sized mansion - art would be for the representative rooms, and in my private rooms would still be the same pieces of craft.


On a professors salary I'm far from rich but I have a whole house full of amazing paintings. I know most of the artists, trade my work for theirs (or math tutoring back when they were in college) one need not be rich t have great art.
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Re: art vs. craft

Postby futurebird » May 14th, '13, 04:45

For art and craft I think we need to think about the meaning of the words. Craft implies skill, technique and possibly tradition. When you say something is "well crafted" you are talking about how it is made, but NOT how it was designed or imagined.

Design and imagination are in the domain of art. Many modern artists know nothing of craft they work purely with concepts. (I hate such people...Damien Hirst and Koons and the rest of the conceptual art clown show...) But they are still artists I can't denny that.

Some crafters have no imagination. I don't tend to hat such people since they aren't seeking glory they don't fully deserve... but, I do think that having both art and craft in ones work is well... healthy?

I don't think it makes sense to call a whole class of works "craft" or "art" -- most have a bit of both.

But why do so many people value the imagination and design so much more than excellent execution? Is it because to many machines have made execution irrelevant?

Why should I try to make a perfect circle when the macine can do it better than I can?

Anyone who practices Chinese Calligraphy will have their own answers to this I think!
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Re: art vs. craft

Postby paul haigh » May 14th, '13, 08:26

I haven't read this whole thread, and I'm not sure that I have the education/background to weigh in (but that's never shut me up before).

WRT East/West- it seems that there was no distinction between the artistic merit of "function" and "no function" in Japan- maybe other parts of the East, and their highest art was functional. Also- at least until recently- I believe that one would not refer to one's self as an "artist" anyway, as it would be presumptuous.

I'm not sure if I make art or not, be it chawan or sculpture. Making it and lighting giant fires is way too fun to fret over its status as art or not :wink:
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Re: art vs. craft

Postby ethan » May 14th, '13, 08:41

Paul, I did not know that you got to make "giant" fires. Damn, I missed my calling!
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Re: art vs. craft

Postby paul haigh » May 14th, '13, 08:59

ethan wrote:Paul, I did not know that you got to make "giant" fires. Damn, I missed my calling!


The fire blows 3+ feet out the top of my 15' kiln chimney. Then I laugh maniacally.

74416_148641821847650_4999585_n.jpg
74416_148641821847650_4999585_n.jpg (26.05 KiB) Viewed 201 times
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Re: art vs. craft

Postby Peacock » May 14th, '13, 11:08

paul haigh wrote:
ethan wrote:Paul, I did not know that you got to make "giant" fires. Damn, I missed my calling!


The fire blows 3+ feet out the top of my 15' kiln chimney. Then I laugh maniacally.

74416_148641821847650_4999585_n.jpg


Thans for making my morning great. :lol:
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Re: art vs. craft

Postby GreenwoodStudio » May 14th, '13, 15:54

I avoid this perticular topic like the plague :lol:
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Re: art vs. craft

Postby Chip » May 14th, '13, 18:16

GreenwoodStudio wrote:I avoid this perticular topic like the plague :lol:

... you are a crafty artist ... :wink: :!: :idea: :arrow: :mrgreen:
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Re: art vs. craft

Postby ethan » May 14th, '13, 18:43

I think you could sell tickets for flames like that...
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Re: art vs. craft

Postby Evan Draper » May 15th, '13, 11:14

ethan wrote:I think you could sell tickets for flames like that...

I quite agree. Our post-industrial culture has a recent voyeuristic fascination with "craft." Were I a teawares potter, I might pick some picturesque 2 hours during the craft process, and have some attractive amanuensis host an expensive tea gathering within view. 10% off all teawares purchased during the event, of course.

This whole ball of wax might also have something to do with the internet age--with enough people connected to each other, ideas spread quickly, and their original source becomes less relevant. Succesful implementation, of which craftsmanship is an aspect, is harder to replicate and retains central importance.
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