Sunday, June 3, 2018



Immaterial property rights over material - personal aspects on communally grown material knowledge

For the contemporary material based field of art and design, the results of an artist or designer-laid material tests are a vast amount of material research work behind the finished artworks, and should be considered as discipline specific. Especially in ceramics, the artists and designers, who work with the material, can share their material level research and technical innovations within the professional network. They form their new knowledge as a byproduct in practice, while developing their material range, for the visual aspects of their art works. In other words the artistic practice brings new material knowledge and this new intellectual property over the material, enables the communication through the knowledge exchange within the whole professional field.

In this article the core term, knowledge, may refer to, for example, a professional skill in ceramics, material test series and the results, and the know-how how to commit a specific technique, proceeding and aiming towards a finished ceramic artwork. The shared ceramic knowledge (or information) is made available and accessible in the networks of practice and on platforms through the knowledge sharing tutorials, technical articles, and how-tos. The ceramic knowledge is gathered and gained to form a professional body of ceramic knowledge, professionality in making ceramic art and to become a ceramic artist by profession. What are the correct ways of benefiting from this kind of shared knowledge as a ceramic artist? Is it solemnly a source for further study or could the information found be used as it is?

Not only R. Burkett (1996) has been thinking of ceramic knowledge, and the open access to it, but also the separation of the technique from the final artwork, as separate elements. The technical achievements and the research work shared in the networks of practice can be further researched, as is done in the world of science, and citing properly, homaging the research work done by a colleague. Burkett’s quote shows that the technique for making art could be studied for a communal good, and as a tool for expression.1

Post-academia, leaving information as a trade secret should be done awarely, and sharing one’s professional knowledge should be done while citing a colleague. A private test tile archive becomes a private curiosity collection at the studio if the access to the information is not open for the networks of practice. Since, as a hypothesis, the nature of knowledge is first personal, then professional, then collective and then personal, again, when the knower becomes a knowledge seeker. The shared knowledge benefits not only an individual practitioner but the whole network of practice.

1 ”Isolation is not always a bad thing, and a certain amount is necessary for most artists. As a friend once said, art is often best made in private. But the cult of secrecy and protection of trade secrets that have long been endemic to ceramics, a kind of self-imposed artistic isolationism, is something that should be re-examined. If we jealously guard our technical developments – the special glaze, the arcane process – is that all our work is about? There is much waste effort in independent artists duplicating each other's technical efforts, reinventing the wheel so to speak, rather than all benefiting from shared knowledge as is done in the world of science.” Richard Burkett, 1996 Bridging the world – ceramics in the virtual age, Networks in Ceramics

Friday, June 8, 2018

The gathered material knowledge originates from artist’s personal study on the material, to be a part of their body of knowledge (Dormer) next to their body of work. A further researched technique will become personal and identifiable by every artists own handprint (and the new material knowledge can be shared with the network of practice). Every artist will form a body of work, as an arch through their artworks, and while working professionally, a signature style. A material based body of work is possible in ceramic art, since as a material based art form it represents material aesthetics. From these start points, a technique could be seen as one content of a ceramic artwork.

In the ceramic design world, the technique is one aspect of a handmade product, copyrighting a material behavioural aspect often comes as first come, and dibs on that. Best products leave room for the material itself. Copyrighting it’s immaterial aspects go as a fine detail, still acknowledging material traditions, and it’s nature as something that is communal, but a lucky innovation can be copyrighted. Elisa Strozyk’s ceramic table tops represent themselves as something extraordinary, since the designer have left the main detail on luck. Can be said that she owns immaterial copyrights on glaze behaviour.2

Let’s separate material knowledge from the ceramic artwork. Owning an oeuvre moves on two layers: one is the physical artwork and the content, and on the other hand, the new immaterial/technical knowledge on the material. The formation of body of knowledge, in the field of material based art and design, it explicates itself, how the professional material body of knowledge will form next to the body of work, and how the professional material mind can be used. The œuvre is gained through personal survey on the material, it is earned because of the technical advances on the material behaviour. It’s necessary that the techniques and materials are surveyed thoroughly to achieve the wanted outcome or it can be left on experimental luck.

As studio praxis happens, the further researched technique would be studying another artist’s developed or copyrighted technique, but the further research is important for ever expanding material knowledge, and if shared, for the whole networks of practice. The intellectual property shared as information, is always shared, from the basis of the sharer. The techniques used and their immaterial copyrights should be linked to the academic or post-academic interaction of artists and designers. Calling the dibs on a technical aspect when working the material should start from an academically ethical standpoint. You may not want to survey same thing another artist or designer goes for but rather join yourself into the discussion on the material. Ideas might not be yours or original, since techniques are historically routed, developed, and globally used, but the final outcome including the survey process on the material is personal, then professional.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Material mind hack

If left unshared, for a professional mind, a technique is easier to track down, since the capacity of the professional mind is on the level of a bodied knowledge, this goes along with the body of work.

When creating a ceramic artwork, it is important that the process will be imagined beforehand (to imagine how things are done, also G. Perry citation
3). Know-how (theory on craft knowledge) does not only enable technical processes, but it’s also a part of planning a ready artwork, imagining the results of a working process beforehand (Dormer, 1994, s.19). Imagining a ready artwork is an essential part of ceramic artists work process, since the ready artwork will be final after the last firing.

When studying another ceramic artists techniques from the finished artworks, a professional will be using their professional mind, professional body of knowledge. If the artist chooses not to share the techniques they’ve used, a professional can conclude the techniques that have been used. Although, using a published artist tutorial as a source for information/knowledge moves in the professional field of fairness, since the artist has chosen to share their knowledge from their own principles. The unshared can be studied by laying test series that start from a knowledge seekers professional standing point. This can begin a test serie that follows trial and error, but copying another artist’s already known.

The background research work moves on two layers in it’s material basedy: one is laid test series of material research and the other one is conjoining the technique for the final visual outcome. From the ceramic artists point of view all the material research will aim for the finished art works, nevertheless, all the background material research is meaningful for the whole material based art form. So, as a hypothesis, shared knowledge and openness in ceramic knowledge and the further research process benefits not only an individual maker but the whole network of practice, the professional field of material based art and design.

When it comes to the Universities, after the formal academic requirements, the proper citation is fucking important, and ideologically this should be maintained at the studios, in private artists’ or designers practice, when the goal is to produce post-academic level material research, ideally citing a material research work done by a colleague, making this as a post-academic material research recommendation.

You practically can’t do anything about it, somebody might hack your technical developments, but as stated, you may not want to survey same thing another artist or designer goes for, but rather join yourself into the discussion on the material. Professionals do not steal, they use the knowledge to build their own body of knowledge.

3 “And that clicking on the background you can hear is my kiln. This up there is my kiln goddess who is really efficient as a talisman because quite often things go wrong in the kiln and I get really upset because that means weeks work have gone down in a pan. So making pottery - that’s the reason you don’t see many artist potters because it’s a snaf material but because it’s really shit when it goes wrong. (laughter) Opening the kiln - I always think of it as an exercising controlled disappointment. You have to imagine how it’s going to look and in my imagination it’s always absolutely bloody gorgeous even better than the best pot I’ve ever made. But of course when I open the kiln it'll be like the seventh best pot I've ever made or the twelfth best pot I’ve ever made and that is kind of disappointing, you know, but I’ll come around to it and I may like it a lot after a few years but usually it’s like I open the kiln and then I’ll go - that’ll do.” 
Grayson Perry 2011 

Dormer, Peter 1994 The Art of the Maker: Skill and Its Meaning in Art, Craft and Design

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Sharing from a standpoint/an artist tutorial

In the level of fair copyrighting/copylefting, from an artist standpoint shared technique, or a formula, moves in the ethically academically correct way of sharing, and benefiting off a shared knowledge. When an artist shares something, a part of their work process, a part of their making process, a series of different stages/steps behind the finished artworks, she shares something done researchwork with the material, what they know on a material level about their body of work.

In order to reveal the material research work done in the background, in artist’s or a designer's studio practice, this material knowledge could either be shared as a source of a livelihood (comparing to, that this knowledge could be kept as a personal/professional trade secret) or published in an open access database as a free artist tutorial. The method for sharing can be only of partially shared material knowledge, this means sharing enough.

Artist tutorial is one way, a part of the ceramic professional social media. It is about portraying a ceramic artist as a practitioner-knower, a portrayal of an artist as a practicing material researcher. Sharing the knowledge though ceramic media will form a network of practice. The publishing platforms can be, for example, Ceramics Monthly paper publication and Ceramic Arts Daily webpage. Ceramic artists, the knowledge providers, and the knowledge seekers, interact on comment sections.

Keeping things post-academic, in the US this link from Universities to the professional field is strong, when it comes to networking ceramic artists and their social (media) presence, in the form of so-called artist tutorials. MFA post-graduates will form their personal body of work and while expanding their material knowledge they share their research work in form of tutorials and how-tos, they represent themselves as practicing artists and material researchers. In addition to the technical content, it’s notable how professional ceramic artists use the tutorial sharing internet platforms to connect with other professionals.

The artists should follow the academic fairness when citing or revealing the original source for, for example, a ceramic material formula. Molly Hatch cites a Andrew Martin’s brushing slip with the mentality of the academic fairness, acknowledging the material research work done by a colleague.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


The research work done in studio practice can be material based, but it is also always communally grown knowledge. Lastly, how the internet tutorials of ceramic surface techniques can be a part of a studio practice within ceramics art.

When it comes to the Finnish copyright law it’s allowed to teach other artists techniques, only, when it would not reach the plaquary of the artworks. The further research process will be recommended, and the focus would be in the originality of a personal/professional body of work. The Universities still claim their teaching methods and the content, and the graduated will hold their body of knowledge gained through studies, regardless, it needs a personal further study or material research process already.

The ceramic knowledge is consumed to be part of every ceramic artists practice, while every ceramic artist will search for it from their personal need and standing point. (Brown and Duguid, 2000 s.120) When it comes to the artist tutorial there’s a chance that inspiration might rise from other standing points in addition to the technical content and this would be something that people should be careful of. A personal/professional studio practice receiving and benefiting from knowledge on the technical level is righted. Consciously consumed ceramic knowledge for the start point of material survey or a technical help should forward the making process, but the conscious consuming should follow a criteria:

Consuming knowledge and benefiting off the technical innovations as a part of a personal/professional production should be done awarely so that hand print will not be duplicated. Accent strongly on further research process. Every seriously approaching, creating artist should separate awarely where the fine line between benefiting and duplicating will move. (Juvonen, 2015) 

The shared knowledge benefits not only an individual practitioner but the whole network of practice. This same knowledge exchange structure stands for when it comes to the collectively re-explored (archived and shared) material tests. What are the correct ways of benefiting from this kind of shared knowledge as a ceramic artist? Is it solemnly a source for further study or could the information found be used as it is? You don’t have to try everything, you just need to get it.

Network of Practice theory: John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid’s (2000) research
“The Social Life of Information”

Juvonen, Leena, interview, 2015