May 13th, '13, 22:23
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Re: art vs. craft

by theredbaron » May 13th, '13, 22:23

tecnanaut wrote:
theredbaron 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.
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#Summary

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 :wink:
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.
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.

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May 13th, '13, 23:02
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Re: art vs. craft

by JBaymore » May 13th, '13, 23:02

theredbaron wrote:
tecnanaut wrote:
theredbaron wrote:......... 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.
What makes the "modern concept" an accurate assessment?

best,

....................john

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Re: art vs. craft

by gingkoseto » May 13th, '13, 23:12

Good craft is always better than pretentious art. At least for these utensils, there are shallow and non-artistic ways to examine them - such as, using them. There are a lot of "pure" arts where good and bad mingle, and the bad could sell much better than the good.

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Re: art vs. craft

by theredbaron » May 13th, '13, 23:24

JBaymore wrote:
theredbaron wrote:
tecnanaut wrote:
theredbaron wrote:......... 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.
What makes the "modern concept" an accurate assessment?

best,

....................john

Quite simple - because we live today, and not in the past. Society changes and develops, and we are but a part of society, if we like it or not. Art in a sense has always been a reflection of society, from the cave paintings up to where we are today - performance art, digital art, etc - and has been changing alongside society. Art is inseparable from society. Today's art gives a view on today's society.
In this way the concept of art is not really depending on what we individually describe as "accurate" or not, but more on how we define our present society, regardless of concepts of beauty.

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Re: art vs. craft

by theredbaron » May 13th, '13, 23:39

Just thinking - lets take the Mona Lisa. The Mona Lisa is a monumental piece of art. Yet if it would be painted today, it would just be a well done artisan piece worth not much.
Turner expanded in his time humanity's vision, in tune with the the era of Romanticism. People who paint in his style today are sitting on beaches and sell their watercolors cheaply to tourists.

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Re: art vs. craft

by theredbaron » May 13th, '13, 23:54

Also one thing i would like to add: personally, i rather surround myself in my private sphere with beautiful pieces of craft than with what is considered art nowadays. These pieces of craft give me a sense of peace and calm. As much as i appreciate "art", i rather have simple peace and calm in my personal sphere. ;)

That's why i drink Chinese and Japanese tea...

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.

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Re: art vs. craft

by Chip » May 14th, '13, 00:07

Gazing at a lovely Hagi cup ... or a Tokoname Kyusu ... or one of our Teaware Artisan's cup/brew vessel I am inspired to call it "art."

Here I won't get into a heavy philosophical exchange on what is and what is not art because I am not deep enough in this realm ... but from my humble perch I consider the incredibly beautiful wares that I am privileged to hold and use to be "well Crafted Art." :mrgreen:

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Re: art vs. craft

by Tead Off » May 14th, '13, 00:11

theredbaron wrote:Also one thing i would like to add: personally, i rather surround myself in my private sphere with beautiful pieces of craft than with what is considered art nowadays. These pieces of craft give me a sense of peace and calm. As much as i appreciate "art", i rather have simple peace and calm in my personal sphere. ;)
I always thought peace and calm had nothing to do with things. :shock:

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Re: art vs. craft

by theredbaron » May 14th, '13, 00:19

Tead Off wrote:
theredbaron wrote:Also one thing i would like to add: personally, i rather surround myself in my private sphere with beautiful pieces of craft than with what is considered art nowadays. These pieces of craft give me a sense of peace and calm. As much as i appreciate "art", i rather have simple peace and calm in my personal sphere. ;)
I always thought peace and calm had nothing to do with things. :shock:
That's when you are an enlightened being, i guess. ;)

I am rather far from that, and things help me to deal with stuff life throws at me.

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Re: art vs. craft

by Tead Off » May 14th, '13, 00:38

theredbaron wrote:
Tead Off wrote:
theredbaron wrote:Also one thing i would like to add: personally, i rather surround myself in my private sphere with beautiful pieces of craft than with what is considered art nowadays. These pieces of craft give me a sense of peace and calm. As much as i appreciate "art", i rather have simple peace and calm in my personal sphere. ;)
I always thought peace and calm had nothing to do with things. :shock:
That's when you are an enlightened being, i guess. ;)

I am rather far from that, and things help me to deal with stuff life throws at me.
Musts be magic things, eh? :D
Guns do that for some people. Does it really bring peace of mind?

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Re: art vs. craft

by tst » May 14th, '13, 00:51

Absolutely for me, but that topic is a slippery slope that quickly becomes OT :D

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Re: art vs. craft

by theredbaron » May 14th, '13, 00:52

Tead Off wrote: Musts be magic things, eh? :D
Guns do that for some people. Does it really bring peace of mind?
Dunno, i guess if i would have to live in eastern Congo or so a big gun might help me to get some peace of mind. But so would an airline ticket out of there... ;)

But yes, i look at my things as magic things (especially my favorite tea ware!), and don't care if someone calls me crazy. I am also quite superstitious, by the way... :twisted:

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Re: art vs. craft

by Tead Off » May 14th, '13, 00:59

theredbaron wrote:
Tead Off wrote: But yes, i look at my things as magic things (especially my favorite tea ware!), and don't care if someone calls me crazy. I am also quite superstitious, by the way... :twisted:
Belief does work that way. Look at what it has done here! :roll:

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Re: art vs. craft

by theredbaron » May 14th, '13, 01:28

Tead Off wrote:
theredbaron wrote:
Tead Off wrote: But yes, i look at my things as magic things (especially my favorite tea ware!), and don't care if someone calls me crazy. I am also quite superstitious, by the way... :twisted:
Belief does work that way. Look at what it has done here! :roll:
Believe, faith, and all those things...

In Hinduism there is the believe, or theory, or however you may name it, that a holy place gets holy first by a god having been there, and also by a succession of believers having left some sort of energy on an atomic level, which accumulate and increase the place's sacredness.

From a modern scientific level, this is crock, naturally, cannot be proven.

Yet can we completely dismiss it, and with it cultures that shaped humanity?

In a sort of roundabout way, back to the topic - Art vs Craft - both are integral parts of human existence and development, and both are shaped by religion, faith, believe (and particularly in modern art - the increasing absence of it in modern society).

What would be Japanese and Chinese tea without Zen and Taosim? Could all that what we appreciate today when drinking tea, have come into existence without those philosophies and superstitions? Would we even have tea?

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Re: art vs. craft

by Tead Off » May 14th, '13, 02:35

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.

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