Phil Rogers: “Potters need to know an awful lot”

Phil Rogers, English “studio potter”, author and FB friend, died at the end of last year at the age of 69. A great loss for his family and friends, but also for the pottery community in the world.

Phil Rogers has taught us what good pottery can mean in our contemporary society. His rustic thrown and decorated vases, bottles, cups, plates and jugs showed his skill, respect for the material and the ceramic tradition. He has shaped the future of traditional ceramics in modern times.

“The drawback in pottery there is so much that can go wrong. Everey stage there is someting that can go wrong. We as potters […] have to know an awful lot”

(Goldmark documentary “Phil Rogers: Drawing in the Air” June 2016)

I have always taken it to heart that a terrible amount of knowledge is required to make ceramics….

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Kintsugi, ceramics with gold connected

Kintsugi and handmade ceramics are connected, both literally and figuratively. Kintsugi is an ancient Japanese tradition. It literally means “golden connection” and is also called “kintsukuroi” or “gold repair”.

But there is also an aesthetic connection. Kintsugi is the artisanal repair of broken ceramics with gold. The repair is not hidden, but proudly shown.

Broken plate, handmade ceramics

I find that a nice touch. An aesthetic in line with Wabi-Sabi, the beauty of impermanence. When something is broken, don’t throw it away, but take the trouble to collect the shards and make it whole again. Not as invisible as possible. No, accentuate the scars of impermanence.

It flashed through my mind when I got a broken mug of mine returned. A mug I made about 20 years ago. Can you fix this? …

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