Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Making Potters Obsolete

In yesterday's post I expressed my stunned amazement that one of the most honored and respected potters of a generation had posted a youtube in which he appears to be demonstrating a Machine of Mass Production (an MMP).

And then there was last Summer's ubiquitous youtube that was marketing an "app" with which to create pottery on your apple iPad...

Is it just me, or does anyone else detect a tiny level of non-functionality in the pottery produced with that app? Is saving the pot as a .gif file supposed to be the same thing as firing? ...or would you think of .gif as being like a raku firing, while .jpg is, say, low firing, but tif. is high-fired? Maybe a pit firing is saved as a .pitmap?)

With these ominous clouds gathering on pottery's horizon and a-threatnin', it would appear that the craft of making pottery by hand is at death's door -- these attacks from the cyber/tech world may be too much to survive.

And now Brandon Phillips has responded to yesterday's blog post with a video of what can only be viewed as the final nail in the coffin of all potterdom. It's all over for us, folks.

Oh, I could think of a few holes in the home dishmaker's Swiss cheese logic, but I think my friend (and very talented Twin Cities singer/songwriter/guitarist) Lonnie Knight may have encapsulated it best when he wrote:
Well, we can go about a million directions with this one, can't we? I'll have the hot soup and while you're at it, pour the boiling water over my tea bag in this cup here...

". . . as soon as you're done, it'll melt back to its original shape." I think I'll just let that one sit there.

How about cups with handles, ya smart-ass uppity machine?
Dish-maker: $32,000
Retro-fit kitchen cupboards to house dish-maker: $4,000
Cup handle attaching machine: $1,400
Savings on dish soap (annual): $11.50
No more dishwater hands: Priceless

Brilliant observer of life, that Lonnie.

Here's Lonnie. If you live in the Twin Cities area and can catch him live I would HIGHLY recommend it.


  1. it's not because i'm a potter that i say this: that dishmaking nonsense is a consummately stupid idea. what's with this dude anyway, he's definitely a product of generations of americans that have come to look at ever banal task as the most undesirable inconvenience to their glorious existence. also, just because you can recycle doesn't equate to environmentally positive. every meal you need a machine to heat plastic to a malleable temp for 15 minutes. what a dolt.

  2. That's weird and annoying, but there will always be some who need the real.

  3. I (obviously) agree.

    Other drawbacks not mentioned:

    1. Anyone really like the smell of melting plastic? ...yeah, I didn't think so. Get all those wonderful smells going in the kitchen (involving the pots and pans that will, incidentally, have to be washed ANYWAY -- not having to wash dishes being one of the chief selling points of the "dishmaker") and then ruin the wonderful cooking smells by overriding them as you melt the smelly plastic into dishes to eat off of.

    2. Hot enough to melt plastic requires considerable energy. Probably as much or more than a dishwasher. It's one of those "don't look behind the curtain" assertions -- like failing to note that electric cars burn coal.

    3. Pottery dishes are, by this guy's reasoning, actually quite cost effective. Make 'em once and they last a lifetime. And another lifetime. And another.....

    4. The guy wasn't even wearing a lab coat.