Studio, Gallery and Life: 69, Cultural Appropriation and my studio work

One of the things that I wrestle with in my clay work is use of styles that relate to other cultures from my own.  I am of Northern European descent with a bit more Dutch and French in my bloodline.  I enjoy Native American pottery.  The geometric patterns and the hand built forms.  Bottom line,  I am not comfortable with copying these styles in my work.  

arizona native american ceramic pots

The month’s Studio Potter magazine published an editorial titled, Blue and White Fragility.  The author discusses these issues and how she, as a college professor, attempts to educate students and the public.  

My thoughts leapt to the Alabama Civil Rights bus trip that I took this past Spring.  My head is still spinning on how little I knew.  

I would like to remember Cathy Lu’s final statement and quote it here:

“When whitewashing or cultural appropriation is being called out, it’s not about wanting to control what people do or being “haters”; we simply want you to acknowledge the reality and history in which we all exist.

“Patiently educating a clueless white person about race is draining. It takes all your powers of persuasion. Because it’s more than a chat about race. It’s ontological. It’s like explaining to a person why you exist or why you feel pain, or why your reality is distinct from their reality. Except it’s even trickier than that. Because the person has all of Western history, politics, literature, and mass culture on their side, proving you don’t exist.”

If you would like to read more, please follow this link:

A book was suggested that I read, White Fragility, by Robin Diangelo.  I haven’t read it yet but it’s on my nightstand.

I continue to wrestle with how to incorporate sand and water movement into my clay work.  Have a good day, Cyndi.

large ceramic beach bowl sunsets by cyndi csemier

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