In the words of Tom Learer, plagiarise, plagiarise, let no-one else’s work . . . . One of the great things about the world of ceramics, quite apart from the love of the material and the extraordinary things that can be done with it, is that people in this field are incredibly nice people! I have not met anyone who has not been happy to talk about their work, share ideas and recipes for glazes, give advice and so on. The tutors at City Lit have been extraordinarily generous in the information which they freely give to students who are interested, letting us in on age old secrets about particular ideas and contentedly allowing us to use their special techniques. Annie Turner, in particular, has given people an amazing amount of help and advice over the duration of the course. Thank you, Annie!
Last week I met Fred Gatley and he also spent a considerable time telling me about techniques that I could try and the ways in which he achieves his remarkable finishes. The trouble is, where does making use of another artist’s ideas and recipes become plagiarism? I would absolutely loath myself if I caused any offence to these lovely people but, having spent time in their company and being a very suggestible person, I find myself thinking more about their work than my own sometimes and this becomes a bit of a problem. To what extent is it ok to take a glaze given to me by Annie and use it on a piece to be displayed using a method which was explained to me by Fred? I love their work – that is why I have spent time with them and why they have been so generous with both time and information but because of that, there are days when I find it hard to think of my work as my own! Sometimes I feel that I am just making a poor imitation of something that they would have done when they were setting out. It is a fine line and one which I have no wish to cross! In other news, I have clearly caused a bit of entertainment with my post last week which contained a photograph of what looked a bit like a used condom hanging out to dry. So this week I thought that I had better put the record straight. The current status of said condom is that it has become a mould for a delicate and treasured tear – developments, which will hopefully look nothing like the work of either Annie nor Fred, will be shared in due course . . . . . .