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The art of earth and fire : the aesthetics of Robin George Collingwood and the craft of the studio potter

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The art of earth and fire : the aesthetics of Robin George Collingwood and the craft of the studio potter

Kavanagh, Robert (1990) The art of earth and fire : the aesthetics of Robin George Collingwood and the craft of the studio potter. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The purpose of this dissertation is to make a contribution toward a theory of creative craft. The dissertation consists of three major divisions: the first posits the problem of the craft/art distinction in the context of the aesthetics of R. G. Collingwood; the second offers a transition to a more concrete orientation concerning the problem by using the approaches of William Morris, Sir Herbert Read, and Bernard Leach; and in the third, I present a case study and an investigation of doing, making, and creating in the potter's studio. I look on them as studio achievements and activities nestled in the general context of human artistic practices, traditions, and labour. Collingwood makes a clear and deep distinction between craft making and art making. He defined them in such a way that no features of the one could possibly be features of the other, yet he stipulated that craft was a necessary (but not sufficient) condition of great art. He defined craft as the specialized knowledge necessary for the skilled fabrication of preconceived artifacts; he defined art as the expression of emotion, pure and simple. Following Collingwood's lead, I offer a negative criticism of his theory in order to break up a logjam of philosophical debris. I then proceed to a constructive analysis of the case based in the potter's workplace. This setting provides me with the opportunity to propose and develop a new model for exemplifying what craft making is. The thesis asserts that by seeing the studio craftsperson as a member of a human community and communities, we can more readily grasp how skill and originality, excellence and uniqueness, plan and autonomy, imagination and physical labour, and technique and creativity need not be seen as exclusive poles. They may be, and often are, interwoven facets of much human labour in the arts. The activity of the studio potter provides the context, the tradition, the practices, and the broad cultural base within which language about creative making, an important part of the aesthetic aspect of craft, may be intelligently discussed

Divisions:Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Kavanagh, Robert
Pagination:ix, 283 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:Special Individual Program
Date:1990
Thesis Supervisor(s):French, S. G
ID Code:13
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:09
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:12
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