Thursday, June 15, 2017

I Think That I Shall Never See A Copy Of A Potter's Family Tree

Wonderful post by Tony Clennell. 

A few years ago I tried to figure out a way to come up with a potter's family tree. It's something I think about often. 

I realize it's impractical -- most of our pedigrees as potters are a mix of formal and informal education -- informal passing of information. And much of what -- in other potter's work -- influences our work may or may not even be their intent. Nor ours.

Nevertheless, I suspect that most potters are connected by some few-degrees-of-separation in terms of influences. And that fascinates me. 

It fascinates me when I see something familiar in the work of a potter I've never met. Sometimes I can trace the mutual influence. Sometimes it's nothing more than a common solution to a common problem -- there was simply no more logical way for the both of us to have solved the problem. Lids just fit better that way. Feet just set better that way. Handles are just more comfortable that way.

But I betcha it's often a common pottery ancestry. Often.

Years ago a friend gave me a boxed set of Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young. It came with a cool fold-out poster -- a family tree of where CSN&Y came from -- Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds, The Hollies -- and what had sprung from seeds they'd sown -- Poco, Manassas, Firefall, Eagles, etc. The family tree filled up the entire large poster with VERY small print. I read it by the hour.

I imagine one for pottery. When I buy a boxed set of pots from, say, Dick Lehman, it comes with a poster. I unfold the thing and see that he came from Marvin Bartel, and from him sprang Eric Strader, Mark Goertzen, Tom Unzicker, etc.

I like the idea.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, John! I was just thinking I had only now met the true heir to Michael Simon. Fascinating to contemplate these things :)