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Ceramics News Briefs International

Land on the Moon 7 21 1969-repair

A girl holds The Washington Post of Monday, July 21st 1969 stating 'The Eagle Has Landed Two Men Walk on the Moon.' By Jack Weir via Wikimedia Commons

ENGLAND: Wedgwood Museum closure condemned by Unesco, The Guardian– Considering the effort England has been making to restore its battered pottery industry, I was surprised to see that it was willing to close a UNESCO site based on the same industry…especially, since the museum is located in Stoke-on-Trent. Boggles the mind. The museum’s collection houses “one of the most complete ceramic manufacturing archives in the world,” according to the story. Evidently, the decision pivots on something that is about as far removed from our minds as it  can get: pensions. Click on the link to read more….

INDIA: It’s a big story. It involves business magnates, labor, poverty, violence, death, and South Asia. (And the West’s reliance on cheap goods and the social cost involved.) I cannot begin to tell you the full extent of the story, but can piece together a few things. I am not sure what new sources to trust, which “voice” to trust and don’t know the story behind the story. Here are some links for you to read if you want to know more about what has happened with Regency Ceramics:

UNITED STATES: A Kiln That Fires, and Teaches, New York Times – This particular wood fired anagama kiln holds 300 to 500 pieces and, when fired, reaches 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. “The 14-foot-long tunnel-like oven, made mostly of brick and concrete, is the only one of its type on Long Island.” The director of the ceramics program at Adelphi University helped build the kiln. Pieces by students from four different institutions were fired in this kiln, work now on display in an exhibition at Adephi that runs through Feb. 20th. The article outlines the trials endured as the kiln was readied and remedied.

ENGLAND: Emmanuel Cooper, The Telegraph – Born in December, 1938 in Derbyshire, Cooper set up his first studio in London in 1965. He said the setting suited him, as it was “redolent with all the fervour and excitement of the swinging sixties, and the alternative society.” After making utilitarian pieces for restaurants for 20 years, Cooper decided to give up “series production and concentrate on the individual pieces for which he is now best known.” Openly gay, some of his work could be considered gay activist art. Also a writer who penned many books on ceramics, Cooper was the recipient of many awards and was appointed OBE in 2002.



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How SOPA or PIPA could affect Jane Street Clayworks and what it means to you and me

American law digests

American law digests at the Law Society of Upper Canada's Great Library at Osgoode Hall, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. By Alan Shin via Wikimedia Commons (an Open Source tool)

Note: Since I wrote this post, legislators in the U.S. backed down. More than 100 withdrew their support of SOPA and PIPA. They will be rewriting the acts and taking them back to committee. Canadian legal scholar, Michael Geist, quoted below, states that the U.S. has particular aims and will continue to work toward them regarding these issues. Some of those aims aren’t jake and we must continue to be vigilant. You can find his site through the links below. — Jan


Yesterday, I observed a 24-hour blackout at Jane Street Clayworks to protest legislation before the U.S. Congress, in the Senate and House of Representatives. The bills are named the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). On the face of it, it doesn’t sound so bad. In addition, I do not support piracy and anything that smacks of plagiarism is deeply ingrained in my nature. Yet, I am also a big supporter of Open Source material and the philosophy behind it. Having researched these acts, though, I am livid over this legislation and what it could do to Internet and the blogosphere. Call it what they will, it amounts to a fight between the Old Power/Big Power versus Innovation and Technology. Such legislation would have far-reaching consequences for journalism at large, online media, and the blogosphere, in addition to many areas out of the scope of this blog. There are a number of issues and I’m going to tackle a few that are relevant to JSCW:

But first, let me give you a little background information about myself. I am a trained journalist with an M.A. in Journalism and have also taught writing at the university level. My work, journalistic and literary, has been published and I have also been an editor of both a newspaper and literary magazine. Most recently, I’ve engaged in professional development about and for social media.

What SOPA/PIPA means to me and Jane Street Clayworks:

  • No more youtube.

Example: I use many youtube videos on this site. They are legitimate videos made by ordinary potters and ceramists who do demos and upload the videos. However, if SOPA/PIPA are passed, one of the first things that will happen is that youtube will go down. Youtube will become mired in litigation because entertainment industry lawyers will be going after copyright infractions and piracy. In fact, they are gunning for youtube. Yet, those of us who have learned how to convert an electric Skutt kiln by watching a Simon Leach video do not have bad intentions and our actions are not illegal. My placing such a video on my blog is not an act of piracy. Yet, they would throw the baby out with the bathwater and the whole site would go down.

  • No more links on this blog, despite proper attribution.

Example:  If SOPA or PIPA goes into effect, the following quotation with link will be taboo: “The proposed law, as it stands now, would require Internet Service Providers to block access to any site accused of posting, or linking to, copyrighted content,” according to Robert Hiltz’ article, in the Montreal Gazette. What of the person who wants to publicize news or upcoming current events like I do with Ceramics News Briefs International? I won’t be allowed post such information. It will be back to ‘Old School’ methods… paraphrasing without links to the primary source. The very idea of it is regressive and it would be highly deleterious to the Internet, like tossing computers and going back to typewriters.

  • SOPA and PIPA would mean that U.S. law would not be confined to U.S. boundaries.

Example: Because I can without legal reprisal, I will use another quote from the Hiltz’ article in the Gazette: “The proposed law would do this because, (Michael) Geist explains, it is written so any website domain name registered in the United States is treated as if it were a U.S. page. That means any website that ends in .com, .net or .org – Postmedia News’ website, canada.com, included – accused of breaching copyright could be blocked by a U.S. court.” I chose a .com address for this blog because I believed it gave me greater currency worldwide. I did not use .ca (for Canada) because I thought it too limiting in a Global Society. If SOPA/PIPA passes, I will be beholden to U.S. laws even though I have a Canadian website just because of this blog’s address.

Michael Geist, quoted above, teaches law at the University of Ottawa in Canada and he specializes in Internet and Media Law. His article, Why My Website Went Dark Yesterday” states

the U.S. intellectual property strategy has long been premised on exporting its rules to other countries, including Canada. The same forces that have lobbied for SOPA and PIPA in the U.S. are the primary lobbyists behind the digital lock provisions in Bill C-11 and the recent submission to the U.S. government arguing that Canada should not be admitted to the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations until it complies with U.S. copyright demands.

SOPA virtually guarantees that this will continue. Not only is it likely that the U.S. will begin to incorporate SOPA-like provisions into its IP demands, but SOPA makes it a matter of U.S. law to ensure that intellectual property protection is a significant component of U.S. foreign policy and grants more resources to U.S. embassies around the world to increase their involvement in foreign legal reform.

One of my friends recently described the United States as “avaricious.” I will add to that, saying it is also litigious by nature. The world doesn’t like what is happening, though. According to Google, seven million people signed its petition protesting SOPA. Will it make a difference? To date, eight legislators have backed down and it looks like the acts will be rewritten. I don’t hold out much hope for revisions because the powers that be won’t let up. I enjoy writing for Jane Street Clayworks and working on a blog about creativity and all things ceramics. It has been one of my little dreams, exploring ceramics. No one likes a bully and bullying is something that is aggressively dealt with these days in schoolyards everywhere. Yet, it looks as if the U.S. is poised to bully its way toward what it wants, regardless. As Geist states,

Canadian businesses and websites could easily find themselves targeted by SOPA. The bill grants the U.S. “in rem” jurisdiction over any website that does not have a domestic jurisdictional connection. For those sites, the U.S. grants jurisdiction over the property of the site and opens the door to court orders requiring Internet providers to block the site and Internet search engines to stop linking to it. Should a Canadian website owner wish to challenge the court order, U.S. law asserts itself in another way, since in order for an owner to file a challenge (described as a “counter notification”), the owner must first consent to the jurisdiction of the U.S. courts.




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Ceramics News Brief International

Woman in Black Reading a Newspaper, Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp. By Ophelia2 via Wikimedia Commons

UNITED STATES: ‘Absolutely Nobody,’ Discovering Old Ceramics, New York Times – This feature is about a husband and wife team and their pursuit of “freelance ceramics scholarship.” Their experience has been gained through just that, experience, 15 years of it. Their house is full of “full of gilt-rimmed Haviland vases,” they’ve “restored porcelain to the White House,” and are published authors on the subject.

KOREA: For young Peruvians, K-pop links to economic growth, Korea Times – A story about Peruvian students at the School of Ceramics in Ccorao, near Cusco. They are learning to make Korean style Ceramics, thanks to government funding from South Korea. While this is quite obviously a promo piece for Korea, it is interesting to read about how this Asian country considers itself, regarding its impact in Peru.

ENGLAND: Wei Wang Wins Zabludowicz Future Map Prize, Art Lyst – A ceramic purse? Who would have thunk? A student graduating from University of the Arts in London, has won the third Zabludowicz Collection prize. At first glance, the hand bag in the photo looked like a raku piece, with its characteristic white, with black crackle effect. I don’t know if it is or isn’t, though, and raku seems like it’d be much too fragile. “Wei Wang graduated from the MA in Fashion Artefact, at London College of Fashion in 2011. This course explores the studio practice of leather, metal, plastic and wood to create fashion artefacts that push boundaries.”

UNITED STATES: Selected works from the collection of Peter Voulkos’ daughter on view at Frank Lloyd Gallery, Art Daily – A terrific story for anyone who is a fan of Voulkos’ work. The show covers his work from 1954-1959, during a time when he taught at the Los Angeles County Art Institute, later renamed the Otis Art Institute. ““For anybody who doesn’t know who [Voulkos] was, he’s the hero of American ceramics. He’s the guy who essentially liberated the medium from the craft hierarchy that was controlling it up to that time.”

JAPAN: From picnic cups to vessels of the future, Japan Times – An interesting historical piece covering post-war Japanese ceramics and how its style differed from pre-war standards. “…the new collectives stressed the individual stylistic freedom of their members.” The reader also learns of Japanese ceramic associations…Ikeyan, for instance, which is a group of ceramists from all parts of Japan. The group “aims to carry out ceramic research, consider the good and bad aspects of the often rarefied ceramic world and drag the art form’s classical image into the present.” The show, “Ikeyan,” appears at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Kyoto, and runs till Jan. 28th. Admission is free and the gallery is open from 1 1 a.m.-7 p.m., closed Sun. and Mon.

UNITED STATES: A Local Life: Malcolm Davis, 74, pastor-turned-potter ministered through clay, Washington Post – Malcolm Davis, a minister in the United Church of Christ moved to D.C., and became chaplain at George Washington University during the heyday of the anti-war movement. He was a leader in the peace movement, but in 1974, a neighbor invited him to a ceramics class. “In a matter of weeks, I was transformed. It was as if there was that potter in me all my life just waiting to get out and just never had the opportunity.” He resigned, set up a studio and devoted his life to clay.


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Ceramics News Briefs International

2008 reading 2477046614

A cook sits in a cafe reading a newspaper. By Garry Knight from London, England, via Wikimedia Commons

UNITED STATES: Eva Zeisel, Ceramic Artist and Designer, Dies at 105, New York Times– Zeisel’s death is by far and away the biggest news for the Art World’s year’s end. Zeisel survived the Nazis and Stalin, then went on to become a hallmark of 20th century design. In 1946, she broke the glass ceiling: she was the first woman to have a one-person show at the Museum of Modern Art. Her contribution to ceramics and Modern Art can’t be under-emphasized and we pause to reflect and honor her at her passing. (Click here to read a short article and a video about Zeisel by Jane Street Clayworks.)

ENGLAND: Gladstone Pottery Museum receives £350,000 to restore bottle kilns, This is Staffordshire – If you have been reading JSCW‘s news briefs, you are familiar with the goings-on in Stoke-on-Trent and the revitalization of pottery history in Great Britain. What is happening there is very heartening and this story reports on the newest efforts along that line. I might add, this article also has a short but powerful slide show that gives the reader a good idea of the size of the project. “We must value our heritage and make sure that the legacy of the pottery industry lives on through these kilns.

ENGLAND: Scientists study ancient Greek pottery to improve spacecraft tiles, Mail Online– Rocket scientists from Getty Conservation Institute, Stanford’s National Accelerator Laboratory, and the Aerospace Corporation have teamed up to study Greek ceramics. They are interested in the fact that “the ceramic pigments in Attic pottery can not only withstand searing heat, but remain chemically stable.” This article is accompanied by beautiful representations of Greek amphoras and a video about the project. A Greek USA Reporter article stated that the “Project leader Karen Trentalman emphasized that while Attic pottery is very old – dating back to the fifth and sixth centuries BC – it can definitely be useful in improving modern technology and design.”

UNITED STATES: Homes of the Future, On Sale Now, Forbes – This story covers many Jetson-style homes that are now on the market. Our interest centres on the next to the last house mentioned, the Pottery House, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The inspiration behind the house was Frank Lloyd Wright. If you are interested, it is currently listed for $4,750,000 (MLS #: 201105413). “The Pottery House’s design hinges on concentric circles.” No humble brick cottage. “About 24,000 adobe bricks make up the structure and Scandinavian ship builders were actually brought in to craft the ceiling.” The real estate agency handling the deal is Santa Fe Properties and you can see the listing by clicking here. Take a look…it’s gorgeous!

INDIA: What’s the highlight of your wall?, Deccan Herald – This is a home interior style feature about the use of RAK Ceramic tile in your home: “wall stylers, a more decorative variant of wall tiles.” The story talks about the use of “tiles with different designs or graphics against plain backgrounds” for kitchens and for bedrooms, soft colors along with borders, “designs, patterns or even beautiful scenery.” The treatment for tiles in the bathroom is such that it makes “space appear larger, while incorporating colour into the design.” Click here to see the RAK Ceramics site. As a tilemaker, it’s always nice to see new applications for tile work…


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