Friday, March 12, 2010

Is Pottery "Fine Art" or... something else?

Well, I've been busy... yep, that's my excuse for not writing. So there.

Seriously, no excuses. While I have been busy, it just doesn't take that much time to pop on here and say hello to everyone!

That said, I have had this burning desire to write about something that happened recently.

Last November I joined a local fine arts group while at one of their shows. I had been invited numerous times to join, but just never quite got around to it. I was warmly welcomed as I wrote my check, viewed their art and talked about mine.

I missed the first meeting as it was the Christmas season but managed to get to the first meeting in January. Very nice group of folks.

They have a few annual shows and the first one came up right after the January meeting. I reviewed the sign up form and noted that it said sculpture and paintings, but didn't mention pottery.

I assumed it was an oversight so I sent a query.

Nope, they don't consider pottery a fine art. They didn't say so in so many words, but my question was taken to the Board of the group and they politely said nope, no pottery.

I just as politely resigned from the group.

If they'd come back and said only one-of-a-kind pieces, no problem. Anyone who's looked at my stuff knows it's all one-of-a-kind. It's kind of a cross between pottery, painting and sculpture.

I was just curious and thought I'd ask all of you what you thought about the distinctions. Where's the line for you when it comes to fine art and whatever other category you want to put stuff. Do you think some pottery is "craft" and some is "fine art"? What do you think about your own work?

I've done many shows and many are fine art only shows, no crafts. They jury the work, so far I haven't been turned down (knock on wood, pound some clay).


  1. This is timely, I am in the process of writing an article on my blog about this. The reason it's at front of mind is that I was painting an image on one of plates during a break in a pottery workshop when one of the participants asked if I was a potter or an artist.

  2. Lori, make sure I get a link or you let me know when you write your blog. I'll grab it & post it on mine with a link. Aggravating isn't it? Pottery combines every aspect of art from painting to sculpture and yet some people can't see it as "art". I'd say it was because of all the assembly line ceramic stuff you can pick up on the cheap, but there's just as many plastic, poster, computer & felt painting reproductions selling for a dollar or less...

  3. Hi Janet,
    Here's the link to my blog article on this subject. I hope you and your readers enjoy it.

  4. There is a "fine arts" guild, in a local small town near my home..that actually said the same thing. They didn't consider pottery "art". Go figure??? But when I went to one of their shows, they DID consider a cut out,wooden toy maker "art" I asked them why. They said he made wooden sculpture. I had to laugh. That was many years ago, and that guild still has the same number of members..hasn't grown at all. But the cut out wooden toy maker is still in there selling his "fine art".


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