Thursday, July 24, 2008

On sharing recipes

I did get the tests of the two strontium mattes fired but I haven't made it to the studio to peek at the results yet. I'll post pictures as soon as I can

In addition to those two tests I did a cone 6 chun test. I am hopeful for that one. If I keep working on that recipe I'll post more on it.

A couple random notes...

I read a news group about ceramic art. There is a lively discussion going on currently about publishing recipes. I wanted to touch on this briefly as I am publishing recipes. As I have posted before there is nothing original ceramics. The art and craft of ceramics is as old as man. If you can think of it someone has thought of it before you and tried it. I am guessing every recipe I write has been written somewhere before. I am not breaking any new ground. Very few potters do in my opinion.

I don't hesitate to publish recipes as long as I attribute the recipe to the correct source. In my view if it's in a book and I provide attribution I am providing a plug for the book. If I find it online then well I am not the first one to put it online.

I do have a book of recipes that I will not publish. I only keep these under wraps because the author let me have the recipes only on the condition that I never reveal the recipes. Fine. But tragic. The glazes are stunning. They are among the most beautiful I have ever seen. The author - who I will not name - is a contemporary of Val Cushing's. As wonderful as Cushing's glazes are (and I use some Cushing glazes) this fellow's glazes are better. His "floating blue" is unmatched. It was seeing one of his glazes that started me on my glaze obsession. His recipes are simple yet yield staggering colors. Yet I have never met anyone who has used his glazes, knows his work, very few know his name.

That's the problem with keeping things to yourself. Being secretive. You isolate yourself. Cushing and others that are free with their knowledge elevate themselves when they help the rest of us. Cushing's reach will go on for generations through hundreds if not more artists. His glazes will be taught to students for many years. My friend's reach will die off after those of us blessed with his knowledge stop practicing the craft.

There's a bright line between sharing and stealing. I share, most potters do. A few steal. Claim credit that isn't theirs or profit from someone elses work. I don't know any of these scoundrels but I am sure they exist.

Share what you learn, know, you'll be better for it.

1 comment:

scott scott said...

Cushing and others that are free with their knowledge elevate themselves when they help the rest of us.

I agree with you Eric.