The art of appropriation
The concept of ‘craft’ arose as the process of industrialisation gathered pace in Europe. In contrast to the mechanisation of work and fall-off in quality in the production of goods, craft represented the joy of work and good craftsmanship. From the outset, therefore, there has been a built-in opposition between craft and industry, an opposition that has manifested itself in divergent attitudes to the use of materials and methods. Today, this opposition would seem to be disappearing. The first museum to draw attention to this tendency was, to my knowledge, the Gardiner Museum in Toronto, with the exhibition Object Factory in 2008.1 The exhibition was about ceramics and contained innovative industrial design side by side with objects made by craft makers, visual artists and designers who take industrially manufactured objects as their point of departure. Mass-produced cups, plates and ornaments have clearly become as important as raw materials for some ceramicists as clay was before. The question this gives rise to is whether we are looking at a paradigm shift in ceramics.