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IssuesInClay

We hold him in our hand feeling his warmth, we bring him to our lips, and savoring the smell drink of his liquid. The coffee cup, is he male? Or is the gender of the cup, the container, the vessel, female in nature? Are these discussions by nature sexist at their core residing in stereotype? If the container is necessarily feminine, or the open form, what about the non=open solid. Are these objects male? The question comes up as we talk of "mother earth". While the earth is sometime refered to as a vessel, it is only a vessel for transport throught the cosmos, it is not in the sense of form a container. Having no yoni, no inside is it not masculine? What could be more masculine, more strutting than the largest ceramic object on the planet? Well that is if the earth can be described as " on the planet". It, terra firma, Third Rock from the Sun, Tosev 3, is mostly ceramic, metal oxides, carbonates, refractories, with bits of other stuff thrown in.

These are ceramic topics, but in some sense they are universal, specific, non specific, limited, unlimited. For a media immersed at least in the latter half of the 20 century in the writings of Yanagi and his "The Tao that can be spoken is not the real Tao", we should be clear that with as much function as language has it is to reality as the cup is to tea. It is just a tool to partake of it, and like the tea, the language tells us little of what we drink.

Ok, so why write a book. Truthfully I am not sure. I am not sure of anything so why should a book be different?

But, in the western tradition lets start with some definitions. What is ceramics? This should be a simple question, but it depends who you ask.

The word "ceramic" is derived from the Greek word κεραμικός (keramikos) meaning pottery. It is related to the older Indo-European language root "to burn",

From the point of view of materials science a ceramic is an inorganic, non-metallic, solid material comprising metal, non-metal or metalloid atoms primarily held in ionic and covalent bonds.

At the art school ceramics is distinct from glass.

Engineers Ceramic materials may have a crystalline or partly crystalline structure, with long-range order on atomic scale. Glass ceramics may have an amorphous or glassy structure, with limited or short-range atomic order .

Sometimes, especially out in the sticks, outside the big cities in the US Ceramics refers only to things made in molds and "clay" is the material modeled by hand. This can get tricky as the devfinitions seem to be very local in nature.

Ceramics, as taught in most art departments in the United States includes anything made of clay and perhaps any hot fired chemically ceramic material except glass unless it is a glass coating on an otherwise ceramic vessel in which case it too is ceramic. Also probematic is that in some Asian countries "ceramic" refers only to whiteware and other more red materials are called clay. In Thailand this seems to be changing with a more English or American art school vocabulary prevailing. Since we are going to get there anyways in Thai the word transliterated is Din Nieow . It is pretty close to ceramic. Din means soil or dirt, Nieow is sticky, gummy or leathery, all qualities of our plastic material. But at least in 1989 Thailand this word only related to non-porcelain clay, and in Dankwian only non white clay. Porcelain was called din procelain (porcelain soil) and "compound" or "compound clay", mixed white burning clays from a factory.

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Page last modified on September 22, 2017, at 07:26 PM