Sunday, May 24, 2015

So...I've Been Thinking

This is usually the time that my husband, roadie and employee of the year says "Uh oh!"

A few weeks ago I attended a work session/dinner put on by our local art's organization.  We were asked several questions about arts in our community and the results of our discussion would be used to create a performance to be presented at the upcoming Rural Arts and Culture Summit in June.  Liked the idea... but since then have been kicking around some of the discussion topics in my head.  

April 2015 Firing
The one foremost in my thoughts is the question "Do I feel  my community values artists?"  Since my community markets itself as an art destination and community, this was an interesting perspective.  I think those involved in art organizations and economic development for the most part said they felt artists were valued.  However, it seemed  most of the artists in the gathering didn't feel as valued.  And I was right along side them in that feeling.  

New striped design - will need to include more in next firing
Over the next few days follow the dinner, I thought about this question frequently.  Why the divide between how these groups viewed artist's value?  How can that divide be reduced?  But over time, I got to questioning why we think we should be valued?  I get we all want to be valued for what we do, but should artists be valued more than other community segments?  

cups and saucers

I the local plumbers or electricians (or massage therapists, restaurant chefs... any profession) get together over coffee and discuss how they don't feel valued by the community.  It's hard to differentiate between our value and the value of the things we do/create... but I'm talking about our value as an artists, not the value of my art.  I love running water, sewer that flows properly, and power to run all my devices as much as the next person, but is the person who makes that happen valued more than other professions in my community.  Not really and I don't think they get together to discuss it either.

Yellow Salt glaze is so interesting - always looks a little different than the before

Gotta love the orange peel effect on this bottle

So ultimately, what is this need for a perceived community value about?  Being an active, productive member of any community is a value, regardless if you're an artist or plumber.  I think your value is based on what you give to the community, not what you choose to do for a living.  But I'm sure this will continue to be something I think about for quite a while.

Rectangle baker

Figured I'd sneak some photos from my last firing in the mix to keep you reading.  Nobody likes a post with just words.  We all need a little eye candy to keep us going forward.  Have a great summer.

And there is always something in each firing that just doesn't work at all.  Here is a example.

Grinder time - this mug is stuck to the shelf


Lori Buff said...

You make some very good points here. I think part of the thing about not feeling valued is when people ask for a reduced price. I don’t know if they do that to plumbers/electricians, etc.

-Rob, Simple Circle Studios said...

I think the difference between how plumbers, electricians, etc are valued and how artists are valued lies in the fact that the public cannot deny the value of plumbers and electricians. When the pipes back up or the electric goes out, there is only one person you can turn to. It is far easier for the public to dismiss artists because there are multiple avenues to get "art." If people need something to decorate a wall they can buy something from the store or have a photograph blown up or just paint stripes. They do not have to buy a unique painting from an artist. If a person needs a cup they can buy a plastic one from the dollar store that will do the same job as a ceramic mug from a potter. It is not that artists should be valued more than other professions, but it seems like we do have to work harder (including sitting around having coffee talking about it) to prove that we have at least the same value.

Sue Pariseau Pottery said...

I probably should have used other careers than two very specific perceived necessities, but I would suggest that my point should be viewed as applying to all other professions and actually added that to the post. I agree there is a difference in my community's value placed on a handmade mug or other non-essential service) depending on each persons perspective, but the value placed on a mug is not a blanket statement on my (the artist's) value. It's hard to separate the value of what I make/do and the value of me, but that's what I'm trying to put forth. There is a difference and while we often confuse them they aren't necessarily confused in our communities. Are we projecting that perception? No one introduces me as a potter making mugs that are too expensive, but they do value the contribution I made to the group I'm participating in. I'm sure there are people who leave my showroom thinking my prices are too high and discuss it with others, but they don't assign me some less than equal value to others in the community. Like I said... ongoing thinking with no real answers just lots of root cause analysis. :-)