Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Explanation from the Editor

A week has passed since I published an op/ed from Don Pilcher that proceeded to upset a lot of folks to the point that I pulled the plug on the post to avoid a riot that seemed to be forming in the comment section. I thought I would explain my thoughts and reactions to that event as well as say a few things about my decision to host guest bloggers in the first place.

I began this blog in 2008 as a way to convey the day to day events in my studio practice as well as some thoughts about this process. This process is a solitary one for me and for many of the potters I know. So I thought that this blogging format was perfect for the conversation I could have with readers and also for the record of my work that I could reference myself, from time to time.

Since I began this blog, many potters have taken up the discipline of writing frequently and candidly about their work. I've gotten to know many of the potters that I read daily and weekly and a wonderful community has formed. This new flow of information has changed from families passing the knowledge on to sons and daughters, apprentices learning from masters, and going to a college and earning a degree in art or going to workshops at places like Penland and Haystack, to the high speed sharing of how-to YouTube videos and pottery-bloggery abundance.

My evolution from potter to potter/blogger has been pretty exciting! I've written about it for Studio Potter Magazine and discuss the process when giving workshops. I've even given blogging workshops. The blog is being read by more people than I had ever dreamed it would! So I guess you could say that I'm in this pretty deep! But it's a good thing.

But the next logical step in this evolution, at least in my opinion, was to bring other perspectives into the conversation within this blog. I am fortunate to know some pretty amazing people in my field and thought it would be interesting to ask some of them to contribute to the conversation with their own opinions and expertise. I really value the diversity that guest bloggers bring to the blog.

The blog continues to be mostly my story, but it may slowly become the story of many. After all, how many times does anyone want to see the dishes in my cupboard or or read about the potter's panic that leads up to a firing? So, how does this change my role?

I'm not only potter and blogger, but now I am "editor". Thankfully, I have worked with Mary Barringer on a couple articles that I've written for Studio Potter, and understand the writer's process better from that experience.

But all of this is just background information in order to explain the circumstances of Don's post last week. The post was rather spontaneous and was taken from an email conversation that Don and I were having about pottery and blogging. In it's original context the material Don was discussing was really intriguing to me. It was provocative and pointed. Unfortunately, taken out of their original context, the words came off as harshly critical and offered no real answers to readers.

My naiveté led me to publish the excerpt of our email conversation without thinking that, taken out of context, it might have a different voice and confusing logic. In hindsight, it would have made more sense to publish all of our emails and would have avoided any misunderstandings.

Well, this post has gone on much longer than the mere explanation and apology I intended. I wanted to say these things so that I could preface Don's revised thoughts, which I will publish on Wednesday morning.

I hope this makes sense of of my botched editorial moment and reopens the doors to many constructive and thoughtful discussions that we've yet to have.

As always, I value your readership, it inspires me to reach deeper in my abilities as a potter and a blogger!