Tuesday, August 13, 2013

1972, "New England Studio Potters"

Coming up will be a series of posts (one per week, but don't wait to pee) in which I'll cover a couple volumes at a time.  I won't give a comprehensive overview (I'm throwing this party) but will collage together an intriguing glimpse into a rich documentation of the lives of American studio potters from the last 40 years, and share with you the legacy of my field, my mentors, my work.

So, I'm here in Massachusetts (yes, spellcheck helped me with that one).   As I assume my new role as Associate Editor of The Studio Potter, I am taking it upon myself to get familiar with the whole history of this publication, starting with Vol. 1, No. 1, from 1972.  I wasn't even a twinkle. I know you'll either scoff at that braggadocios tone, or delight in the sarcastic naiveté, but my goal at the end of this series is to have graduated another level on the "dues paid" mountain.

Shall we?

First of all, let me just say how AMAZING these silk-screened covers are.  Yeh, HAND PRINTED. The construction-orange one wouldn't even register correctly on my camera; it kept blinking back an forth from negative to positive colors. I'm sure I'd have a seizure if the screen was any bigger.  But, you know it's awesome that I just bought a new pair of Adidas running shoes the same color!  AHHEM! Ok, like I was saying . . . The care in craftsmanship of the inaugural issues of SP is par for the course among us potters, and like a pot, this publication is an object, a product that you hold in your hand(and still is - but that is a discussion for another day) so, this then leads me to the preliminary discussion of economics. The Studio Potter was started by a group of New Hampshire potters who set up the Daniel Clark Foundation, a non-profit organization headed by editor Gerry Williams and his wife, Julie, and the cost was $2.75 per issue, $5.00 for a year subscription.  Nowadays, I would pay probably $20 minimum for any artists'  9.75 x 11.5 inch original print!  Considering this, I got to thinking, how does today's Studio Potter compare?  Let's take a look-see:

Whatever.  Moving on, this is what Edwin Todd from Highgate, St. Mary, Jamaica, had to say about the first issue and it's price in 1972, printed in the second issue, Summer 1973, Vol. 2, No. 1:

"—found the magazine interesting and fairly informative.  I must say, however, the title should be, judging from the first issue, "New England Studio Potter", and that $2.50 is a lot of money to pay for so much space taken up by over-large photos of N.E. potters.  Why, for example, double, that centre page; and why so much glazed paper (expensive!)?  . . ."

"Captains of Industry - Potter's Guild of N.H. 1972" as labeled in the contents page of SP Vol.1 No.1

Mr. Todd took out a two year subscription. 

That first issue was a whopping 20 pages, and as we can see from the peanut gallery, too much room was dedicated to elaborate, redundant photography.  But alas, SP  has endured.  As other publications have taken over the roles that these first issues forged such as kiln building, equipment specs, toxicity dangers and studio management, this publication has continued to deepen its investigation of the lives of studio potters and the discussions they want to have with an emphasis on highlighting the unique voices of both craftspeople and those that support their lives and livelihoods. 

I can see that this post has gone on long enough, but has allowed me to introduce to you the next few months of what you will read if you visit again.   

Next:  1. Who the hell is Daniel Clark? 2. SP's first 4 issues; the highlights most noteworthy (or humorous). 


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