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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