‘TO BUY OR NOT TO BUY – The value of making and purchasing studio ceramics in the 21st Century‘
This is the title of a presentation I gave recently at the recent Western Cape Ceramics winter workshop.
I was reminded of the gist of my talk yesterday when I visited Mr.Price Homeware store where tableware manufactured in China is selling at such low prices, I think possibly even less than the cost of our clay and glaze and firing!
Where does this place the contemporary maker of handbuilt tableware? It is impossible to compete with this. And even though it might be said that the industrial and the hand manufactured are two totally different areas, at the end of the day, these utensils fulfill pretty much the same utilitarian function. The question of China’s labour practices just does not come into mind when a customer is faced with such an inexpensive and relatively aesthetic choice.
Or is making tableware by hand becoming a completely anachronistic activity which can only be practised by those who have an alternative outside income? Any thoughts on this?