Ceramics ... and Computers?

Article excerpt

In the early 1980s, I was suprised to fine that most artists working with computers had backgrounds in ceramics. Because of that, I came up with parallels between working with computers and working in ceramics. Both are very process based and require a systems,, approach for successful results.

Ceramics involves many processes from preparing clay, forming it, drying, trimming, bisque firing, glaze mixing, glaze application, kiln loading and firing, and final use of the piece. Many of these processes are happening simultaneously in different parts of the studio.

Creative Connections

Both ceramics and computers involve interactive, technical/scientific and intuitive processes. Sometimes, you can see what you are doing; sometimes, the process is hidden, as on the inside of a kiln or computer. One must use science and art together to make the proper adjustments for a good firing.

Both ceramics and computers are silicon based and use complex and simple technologies. Multiprocessing or multitasking is a skill both ceramist and computer artist develop to a fine degree.

Lastly, ceramists are not intimidated by the complex technology of computers. When they regularly fire kilns to temperatures that could melt most things on earth, what's to worry about a 250-megabyte hard drive?

Clay Talk on the internet

Today, ceramists are using computers to control kilns, analyze and calculate glazes, provide graphs of kiln firing records, and as a drawing tool.

Recently, a community of ceramists have been meeting electronically on the Internet in the form of CLAYART, an on-line discussion and exchange of opinions through e-mail. In the November, 1993, issue of Ceramics Monthly, Rick Malmgren discusses "Ceramics and Electronic Communication." Malmgren writes about CLAYART and how to join it through e-mail services. He finds it a gathering place for over 200 ceramists from 16 countries. People find the give and take of electronic communication easier, more interactive and less expensive than a typical magazine subscription. …