My work as a ceramic artist affords the perspective of a production system. The products or works of that system have certain constraining parameters that guide the product toward an intended objective. With pottery some of the questions have to to with functionality and some with aesthetic. How will someone use this product? Will it serve a certain purpose? Will it be comfortable? How will someone feel about the product? What will it make them think about? What values will be re-enforced by it’s use?

The way that a given production system creates these desired effects may be consistent with the effects produced or the structure of the production system might be different or even be in opposition to the desired outcomes and effects a product has on the world. A controlled execution in the production of a ceramic mug might give someone control of the hot liquids they will transport in it and a labor in that production might contribute to the ease of using the end product.

These dynamics work together to form the production complex or the total system of all effects and considerations involved in the genesis of a certain phenomenon. I believe that that complex is the true product of our work as artists. These complexes can be used interdisciplinarily to work on all kinds of problems that require complex solutions. In this way our work serves not only the context of the media in which we work but also the greater context of large scale solution forming which our networks are created for. This context gives our work both meaning and direction on the global scale. We all participate in this way and contribute it ways that our individual consciousnesses might find a bit overwhelming.

Art, if it is to be a sustainable vocation, will find a way to make itself indispensable in the production of cultural constructs as well as its particular manifest works.


About gandalfthe5000ator

Ceramic artist, innovator and developer.
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3 Responses to Context

  1. Katie G. says:

    as a potter, ben nelson, do you prefer big mugs or little mugs? personally, the more liquid i can fit in my mug the better, but others, who may consider themselves hot-beverage connoisseurs, prefer smaller mugs requiring more refills because then the beverage stays hot longer. i think they’re full of it, and that’s why we have microwaves.

  2. Bilge Rat says:

    Little mugs, more individual cupping experiences. Microwave? Never. Beer? Big mug. Hot Beer? I’m in college again…

  3. Roger Masse says:

    Hello — I won one of the wonderful mugs that were given out as trophies for the “Revenge of the Rattlesnake” MTB race yesterday. They are beautiful ! I love Davis/Thomas and come up from Washington DC area several times a year. I donated the trophy mug to Hypnocoffee. I hope it gets used often in their regular rotation.

    Thank you!

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