Monday 2 April 2007

The Leach tussle

Garth Clark's keynote address at the Verge ceramics conference last year continues to make ripples. Following Damon Moon's defense of Bernard Leach last month, Garth Clark has replied with a call for a more creative approach to the vessel. The discussion about relational craft in response to Clark has now found a tangible form in the Solutions for Better Living exhibition currently on at Craft Victoria. Stuart Koop's comments at the opening provide a critical framework for looking at this new art form.

It's an engaging tussle. It represents a debate between the specialists who advocate a medium-specific understanding and the generalists who feel that craft needs to be understood in a broader context. The debate will no doubt continue. In a way it reflects broader conflicts in our society such as between the extended interconnectivity of a network age and the increasing skills shortage brought on by manufacturing exodus. It's unlikely that one side of the argument will completely prevail -- what's important is to maintain the dialogue and ensure an informed debate. It demonstrates why craft matters so much in our world.

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