The other week I had a lovely chat with @wendygers, touching on topics of the mining complex, sustainable development, social issues, and all things clay-related. It was lovely. One of the things which I’ve been thinking more about since then is the balance between an artist’s personal narrative and ethos when producing new work. And I know that I’ve mentioned this in my posts before.
But if you asked me, if my sculptures are sustainable, my answer would be “no”. Because anything involving clay or other geologically derived matter is extracted from the earth, which means that such materials are non-renewable, unlike organic matter ie wood. So, I feel that material-driven makers need to take an interest too and educate themselves, regarding the issues their material might pose on the environment. For instance. Even though I’m working as far as I can with industrial byproducts or local materials, I’m still working with materials that weigh heavily on nature.
On the other hand, they last forever and don’t run the risk of pollution once fired. Working with precious materials means participating in systems of linear processes, which often is harmful to Earth and its inhabitants in the long run. However, the answer for artisans, designers, or artists alike is not to lay down their tools or to give up their creativity. Quite the contrary, we need wild and creative ideas to nurture a more sustainable future built on the principles of reciprocity and biodiversity.
I feel very strongly about these issues but I remain hopeful through learning and engaging with them. If there is an explanation there’s often a solution. And I believe that creative work helps to build social cultures where these values are made “normal” by making them visible. Anyways that’s some thoughts.