Good crafts have, like art, always a very strong aura. Over the years here i have furnished my house with old Thai-Chinese art deco furniture i bought cheaply in the markets, and restored myself. The old teak wood, the hand work by long dead carpenters, and also my own restoration work all add together to an enormous warmth. They are not art, but i love 'em.tecnanaut wrote:You make interesting points. This tidbit reminded me of an essay by Walter Benjamin, a very handy summary of which is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Work_o ... on#Summarytheredbaron wrote: Underlying this whole discussion of "art" vs. "craft" not only in tea, but in many other fields is that it is somehow implied that "craft" may be inferior to "art". There is somehow this idea that "art" may be something etheral in which geniuses express their vision of the world.
I'm quite noobish when it comes to pots, but given that the particular pot is not mechanically mass produced, and can have a bit of the 'aura' in the sense that it is such a hands on process, I'd think it stands a much larger chance than most functional items.
Of course, there is a short cut. Art gives pleasure, be it through the tactile feel of the clay or the earthen smell. So why not
I have collected many pieces of regional folk art, which are somewhat in between art and craft.
And i have some pieces of modern art (inexpensive, directly from the artist) which have also a very special meaning to me. One particular piece could be very descriptive of what the difference between art and craft is. It is a painting - a copy of Picasso's Guernica - yet it has a few added elements. The original Guernica is a work on the bombing of the city of Guernica, while my copy, called "Rajaprasong", painted by a young Red Shirt artist, adds red colored headbands to the dying, describing the Red Shirt victims in Bangkok's disastrous crackdown against Red Shirt protesters in 2010, and this way places this conflict into a particular socio-political and historical context, and therefore expressing aims and aspirations of one part of this generation here in Thailand. Even further - it is one of the very few pieces (if not the first outside the realm of privately done performance art) of Thai art that have subtle monarchy critical messages somewhat hidden in it playing on certain codes through which monarchy critical Thais express themselves. There is a lot more i could say why this particular painting is quite unique in Thai art, such as that while the Thai state has since the beginning of modern social critical art incorporated the now well known social critical artists for purposes of representation to especially the outside world (most potent Thai collectors collect religious inspired art that can be displayed in corporate offices and headquarters by so called "national artists", or just stick with the well known names of western art) to give itself a veneer of liberalism, along the motto of "look, we also allow people to be critical", while they in fact only criticize within certain safe boundaries.
In contrast, this particular piece went way beyond what is allowed, expands the space of debate, and represents very recent changes in the sociopolitical debate that has begun taking place in Thai society since only a few years.
While i do dearly love my tea-pots, admire the awesome abilities of the artisans that made them, the element of reflection and inspiration to reflect over society, culture, self and all that just is not there, and also not intended to be there. But in the modern concept of what is art, these elements are quite integral, and cannot do without.