Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Yanagi explains the concept of mingei in his seminal work, The Unknown Craftsman:
It is my belief that while the high level of culture of any country can be found in its fine arts, it is also vital that we should be able to examine and enjoy the proofs of the culture of the great mass of the people, which we call folk art. The former are made by a few for the few, but the latter, made by the many for many, are a truer test. The quality of the life of the people of that country as a whole can best be judged by the folkcrafts.

The Unknown Craftsman - A Japanese Insight into Beauty, Sōetsu Yanagi, Kodansha International, New York, 1989

This is sort of a reaction to a post Ron had today on his blog. I just don't know about all this pottery snobbery. I love raku, I love cookie cutter ornaments, I love apple bakers, I love the old time blue Seagrove pottery. I even like those chicken bakers where you put a can of beer up a chicken's butt. I also love shino, and crusty wood fired tea bowls, and crawly glazes. I love it because it's CLAY and someone lovingly made it! Let's all make some ornaments, people got trees to decorate :)


Anna said...

Love this.

Tracey Broome said...

Thanks, I LOVE your sheep bowls xoxo


Yeah! Like she said!

Scott Garrett said...

Hey Tracey, love that barn and that roof.

I'm glad i stumbled into the clay world with no formal college education. I just have my vision, formed over the years working in the 2D graphic/illustration world.
I don't have any of the bull to worry about, just make what I like.

Oh, but Tracey... i could take you back though to your 'dissing' the lady with the stuck together plates and vases! She was just being creative in her own mind. We might not have liked what it was, but i still call it craft. I'm happier she feels a need to do that, than walk a mall! If it had been fine antique porcelain and been displayed in a white cube gallery somewhere, they'd be calling it 'Art', go figure.
You know, I'm a bit partial to gluing the odd charity shop find together, to say something new.

You know, I'm messing with you, but It's a funny old mixed up World. Let's just celebrate anyone making anything for themselves anywhere.

You and Ron have it right in my eyes.

jffollies said...

O.K. I'm posting copies at the ART dept. I'm a non-traditional student there. A.K.A. "here comes trouble".
Love what you're doing.

Linda Starr said...

I just posted about ornaments too. I've made some of those glued together glass totems at my lavender farm and had them for sale; one woman wanted to know exactly how I made them so she could make one herself instead of buying ones from my shop which were for sale or signing up to take a class to learn now to make them there; so I told her it was proprietory and she said "oh come on now" and she and her friend walked off without buying a thing after an hour (free) tour of my gardens and, crushed smells of the lavender buds and taste tests of the fruit. Scott's right about it's a crazy mixed up world.

Tracey Broome said...

Yeah Judi!
Scott you are right, but I have to draw the line at buying cheap Walmart dishes and calling that art, I do have a bit of a snob streak myself, plus I'm a Libra so my thoughts will swing back and forth at any given moment! But yes, let's celebrate artists in general, as long as they aren't pompous asses, I don't like those so much:)
Hi jf, I have been known as a trouble maker plenty of times, thanks for the comment!

Tracey Broome said...

Oh No! Linda, you didn't make those!!! I'm glad you moved on to better things haha! Not my taste, but the woman was selling them, so there is a piece of art for each of us out there I guess :)

Linda Starr said...

Tracey, the ones I made were with antique glass I got at thrift stores and I only made a few, not as a regular thing, but as ornamentation in my lavender gardens; they looked like victorian ladies, yard art so to speak.

Tracey Broome said...

That sounds really nice actually!

Michèle Hastings said...

a great post in response to conversations in the blogosphere this week!
maybe i will accept the ornament challenge :o)

Tracey Broome said...

Go for it Michele, Raku the hell out of those suckers :)

Scott Garrett said...

This has all made me laugh good and proper!
I can't tell how many comments I've just ploughed through on Ron's... man, the amount of cheap crap I could have made in that time!!

I hear you Walmart!...I'm pretty sure i could take the Walmart challenge and make something though. Kinda getting away from the point of making pots though!

Linda, I want to see a glass Totem... pictures please!
.. and i mean that in a nice way. I have a charity shop wooden totem on the go down the studio, topped with a fine carved owl. I was going to go to town on it with some pyrography.

There ain't no rules when you're not in schools!!!
... always play time.

make and be happy.
Glad i found you folks.

smartcat said...

Found you via Linda at Blue Star. I'm liking your barns a lot. I can see there's lots of stuff for me to catch up on.

andrea said...

My favorite pottery book out there!!! love love.

Vicki Wenderlich said...

Thanks for posting the explanation of Mingei, I'd never heard of it and now Ron's mention of it makes more sense :]

ang walford said...

raku rocks!!!!! bring on the fire baby!!!!!!