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 More options Jan 14 2006, 9:12 pm
What are pots but tools?
On Jan 14, 2006, at 6:41 PM, Lee Love wrote:
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Louis Katz

On 2006/01/15 12:12:53, Louis Katz ( wrote:
 > What are pots but tools?
  Most of the pots I like are tools. :-)
Picasso said that artists are tools. I suppose, if you believe in the
insubstantiality of "things", then all "things" are tools. Meaning:
things don't exist in themselves, but only exist to enable processes to
Lee Love
in Mashiko, Japan

FEb 2006
The only meaningful qualification for making great pots is making them.
> old timers we hold in high regard did
> pottery very well some 5000 years ago with no science per sey but great
> observation skills (because they lived the life of clay)...

I think the problem with CM is that they are trying to sell magazines,
not trying to show great work. They have a diverse audience and( I
think) are trying to meet the audiences apparent needs. I don't think
the magazine every had the same kind of goals as American Ceramics or
Ceramic Art and Perception, but I think the editing used to reflect the
needs and wants of Bill Hunt and that the goal back then was quality. I
think the magazine is lot more hit and miss than it used to be but 
IMHO it used to hit more often and miss less.
It is worth while to send stuff in to the magazine. If it is well
written, or even marginally well, and has  excellent quality visuals it
stands a real chance of being published. The only things they have ever
refused from me are some suggestions that were tongue and cheek. You
can have a big impact in CM, lots of young clayers read it.
The only solution to Clayart is do something else. It is like the
current US administration talking so proudly about American values and
acting more and more dictatorialy. To quote Jenny Holzer, "abuse of
power comes as no surprise." The more power is used the more its
I have started to think of power in terms of decibels. One of those ham
radio things. 3db means you have doubled your power. When you amplify a
signal you get harmonics and other spurious signals. These are signals
that happen at multiples of the original signal or signals that are
additive or subtractive results of other signals in your transmitter or
amp. When you have lots of power spurious signals can have devistating
effects. Usually this means in ham radio that your transmitter wipes
out your neighbors Super Bowl reception. It can be difficult to get rid
of all spurious effects when you use high power. Good filters might
drop the strength of spurious signals by 30db (for example ....I think)
or about 1/1000 of their original level. This would mean that you might
end up with .1 watt if you start with 1000 watts , a signal that can
travel around the world. If you start with 5 watts walking across the
carpet would make more noise.
  It is a basic principle in ham radio to use the smallest amount of
power you need to get the job done. I am a low power operator. I have a
.4 watt radio that is on the 40 meter band. Its capable of worldwide
coverage, although my furthest contact was about 240 miles. I also have
a 5 watt radio that is only good for about 250 miles under good
conditions. Neither of these radios has enough power to do jack to my
neighbors TV but 95% of the time they get the job done. Their spurious
signals are so low that they are below the level of noise from
powerlines, blenders, and other elctrical devices.
Clayart's moderator either needs to decide to use less power, or filter
his power better when he uses it.


I haven't seen any of these pictures. Probably missed them somewhere. I am not reading the list well enough, too much angst here....
But I wanted to write about my feelings about kitsch, cute, and dated.
Items that are dated were not necessarily bad in their times. They tend to be but I remember the theopening of possilbitiies presented by early computer art. I have little desire to revisit these pieces but they opened my mind to ideas that continue to have meaning.  No one that looked at them today would see anything but quaint dated simplistic work.
Pallisy ware (hope I spelt it correctly), looks like it was made in the seventies but is hundreds of years old . I find this amazing and this fact alone causes much of the enjoyment I find in it. I love the confusion it causes in my preconceptions.
I have had long conversations with students about kitsch and cute. I don't have a good definition for either that I really feel comfortable with, but to work without one for a second, I have no problems with work that is either.
The problem is that cute drowns out other value. Even when the artist starts making works of beauty or meaning with cute florishes(sp) or cute hooks to draw in the viewer, soon they seem to find themselves making work whose sole quality is cuteness. I find this depressing. But if thats what they want to make and thats what the public wants to buy....
I am not even sure that cute is neutral. It may be a positive quality. That is, cute by itself may be enriching. I am not sure. It just makes us blind to other qualities. Kind of like too much salt on your food.
Kitsch for me operates as an analogue or subset of cute, I am not sure which, ask me in ten years.

2006 march

There is no escape from tradition. We don't work afresh, without
experience. We are slaves of our experience. Even to break with
tradition is to acknowlege it.
No escape.

Louis Katz 
View profile
 More options Nov 22 2005, 7:43 pm
I am a gas hog. My kiln smokes. I have a Van, my wife drives a van.
But hey, I need my van to pull my flaming pipe organ around town!
My high horse is however that I specifically bought a house close to
work. I did not do it for the environment. I bought close so my commute
would be short. The people costs of a half hour commute are tremendous,
~240 hours per year. Despite living 1.8  miles from work I still have a
long commute. REason:
I walk. While I can claim being good for the environment, and yes I do
care, the environment is not my reason for walking.
1. I need excercise and it is stupid to drive to a gym to excercise
unless it is so polluted that you can't excercise out of doors. Walk to
the gym.
2. I love saving money. Even if does not amount to a hill of beans. Gas
is cheap. Especially when you drive 4 miles a day.
3. Walking gives me time to talk on my ham radio with friends in
Thailand. You just have to love ham radio over the internet.
4. I don't think the environment was a big enough reason to live close
to work. I want bigger energy taxes and lower income tax.
200 miles/week* 50 = 10,000 miles per year
@  $.20/ mile= $2000 ( $.40 is  abetter figure)
240 hours at $20 = $4800 per year
Not having to join the club
$1000 per year except I could join the University health club for about
Total  about $7000.
and its good for the environment.

Louis Katz 
View profile
 More options Mar 29, 5:54 pm
Hello Claycraft,
Below are two messages I posted to a Texas Clay list. Some of you are 
probably more knowlegable about tea than I am, feel free to correct 
me. But I seem to be brewing well these days.
Anyhow I thought some of these posts might be interesting to y'all.
Begin forwarded message:
My favorite tea merchant is:
The easiest tea to brew and not screw up seems to be the Pu erh teas.
If you have only had grocery or health food store teas you will 
probably love this stuff. It does have lots of zingo so don't drink 
it late in the day if you are not a cafeholic.
The cheapest one they have,"Camels Breath" in the smaller cakes 
takes one cake of tea to about 5 cups of water.
Heat the water and let it cool below 200 degrees. The temperature an 
auto drip coffee pot holds the coffee at is a good temperature.
Unwrap one Pu erh cake and drop it in 5 cups of water. For education, 
taste it every five minutes, but this tea needs at least 20 minutes 
steep. It can steep all day in a thermos.It only gets bitter if 
heated too hot.
Coffee pots are a bit harsh for it as the temperature at the bottom 
of the pot where it contacts the heating element is  hotter than it 
should be.
This tea you can water down if its too strong. It is good iced but 
drink it hot first.
A nice change from every day teas are white and yellow teas. I really 
like the Mutan white although it is inexpensive.
The trick with white teas is to use a relatively lot of tea and brew 
it for a short time same temperature as the Pu erh,
It should be brewed in a small pot Yixing size. It should be brewed 
just short of having much color.... it should be drunk white, not green.
This can require a quick hand pouring.
The first few times you brew it pour little bits into a small cup and 
drink it until it has brewed the right amount of time.  A demitasse 
sized cup is a little large.
Yellow teas are similar to white ones.
Whatever teas you buy or brew try different amounts and lengths of 
steeping. In general I favor short steeps and more tea.
Holy Mountain sells little sample packs and since I am not an every 
day tea person I tend to use these, although I bought a pound of Pu 
erh for my exhibit. I have been giving away lots of it as I know I 
will not get through it all in 6 months.
I don't know what Houston is like but when I ask the question down 
here in SoHo Texas, " who has a single handmade pot they eat or drink 
off of?" in my beginning class it is a rare year when I get an 
affirmative. Most people eat off cheap junk, not even expensive junk.
I feel like I have to sell the concepts of quality, and the value of 
expression, connection with makers, really sell the concept of the 
search for quality and meaning. It is hard. I have had numerous 
students who have learned to admire pots through reading Leach/Yanagi/
Hamada literature. While I know it is not the only way it seems to 
work for me.
While I can fall prey to the idea that a simplistic idea will solve a 
complex problem, they seem to never work. Global warming is just part 
of a more universal and all encompassing problem or set of problems. 
We confuse quantity with quality, and values with value. "The 
almighty dollar" is an accurate  expression. We like to translate 
things into dollar equivalents. It is far more usefull most of the 
time to convert things to time equavalents or some unit of pleasure.I 
like the microorgasm
We really won't get to where we need to be with reducing carbon 
footprints unless we can figure out what is in it for each of us. 
Personally I think the problem is that I don't need more stuff. I 
have way too much junk. I need better stuff. Quality not quantity. 
"Spiritual" enrichment rather than riches.
Teaism only uses tea as an educational tool. Teaism seems to be a 
method for learning about the world and our relationship with it.
Another great web purveyor is Penzeys spices
Buy some of their Dutch cocoa. Heat some water as above, about two 
demitasse cups worth. Stir in lots of cocoa powder ( no sugar, no 
milk). DO NOT USE HERSHEYS. If you feel like using hersheys cocoa to 
try this just use sawdust instead.
Lots is about 2 heaping teaspoons but I don't measure for this.
Stir it really good and drink it. If your palette is really used to 
sugar use a minimum.
Oddly it is good with a bit of paprika in it. A bit is somewhere 
around 1/2 teaspooon and a smidge of hot pepper can be nice too.
You can try it Caravan style with butter, and a smidge of salt. 
Turkish coffe is good with butter and salt too.
Hi Kim,
I am a clayer who uses video, much as sometime sculptors use clay, 
although I am starting to have more general philosophical ideas for 
videos, but they all come from Taoism's and Buddhism's role in 
Clayism and Teaism, so even they are clayer ideas. If you are not 
familiar with the term clayer read the Clayer Manifesto at: http://
I am perfectly willing to talk about kiln design. I feel like I know 
lots. There are others who have built more and know more, although I 
am sure they know different. If you are building a kiln it would be 
fairly simple to copy the one in the video, although you might have 
trouble figuring out which bricks end up being softbrick. Come down 
and see it. I do not feel competent to write a book on soda or soda 
kilns. I could write a book or dvd on general studio  stuff, how to 
keep your studio alive and running etc. Or I could do one on the 
interface of science and the ceramics studio, a general physics/ 
chemistry for the potter sort of thing. I tried to get NCECA to let 
me do a lecture on Calculus as a means of understanding form but it 
got turned down. I am running in other directions right now.
I am looking for venues for my latest exhibit. The promo is here: .  It would look great in 
San Angelo or some other museum setting with a tall ceiling. I am 
still getting materials together. Today I am trying to finish the 
disk images for my table at NCECA. I will have all four of my videos 
on display on the computer and DVD players at the table as well as 
the kiln building video and my new exhibit promo video. Come by and 
put on some headphones.
I have not been good at marketing or promoting myself. This is the 
year to do a better job. So with the goal of shameless self promotion 
I will give you following list of links:  My New Manifesto  Youtube Videos (has a 
few videos by Sammy Katz)  Flame Throwing Pipe 
Organ Site online Glaze 
Calculator (Original program written in 1975)  (Use Lithium Carb box 
for Lithium) These are images that go 
back into the seventies.  Musical compositions My kids videos This is the real "HomePage"  This is where I store 
misc. links to my stuff.
Also if you m
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