In Praise of Pottery

I have been spending some time mooching about in charity stores looking for underpriced collectables to see if there is anything worth buying for resale. Theres a lot of very ordinary stuff out there, but in amongst it are some things that catch my eye. When I scan the shelves looking for something distinctive one category that stands out to me is handmade pottery.

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When I talk about pottery, I mean handmade pieces that  were created in the last thirty years, possibly even the last 10 years. I love the colours and textures of pottery. It has a happy, homey feel to it that makes me want to touch it and look at it. Its just nice to be around.

Now I don’t want to be too controversial here, but I would hazard a guess that fairly recent handmade pottery is not fashionable just now. In fact, I am going to be bold and say that I suspect its “out” or even “uncool”.

A beaten up old factory made mixing bowl from the 1960s would be cool. But a set of handmade mugs individually turned on a pottery wheel in 1989 probably aren’t. In fact I feel a little guilty buying hand made pottery items at the checkout. I might as well be buying a Barry Manilow record.

Thats the sad thing about the fashion cycle. If what you like isn’t popular, there is a cringing embarrassment involved in admitting that you like it, or even used to like it. I still have two Barry Manilow records and I used to listen to them all the time.

It saddens me to hear people talking down artists they used to love when they were younger to prove that they “cool” and up to date. It seems like a betrayal, of their younger self, and of the artist. People who were highly successful become the butt of cheap jokes once they slip out of popularity. Its not possible to be on top all the time, as tastes change and energies move in different directions. Its also natural for the value of collectables to go up and down. But just because something has lost commercial value, does not mean its inherent qualities should be devalued or deprecated.

In an age when cynicism is valued above naivety, its not cool to like things that are bright and happy and bring a smile to your face. Oh well, I am already uncool on so many levels, I am just going to give in, and enjoy my pottery while I listen to Barry Manilow.

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