This page contains
the detailed report written by a practicing potter working in Bristol.
of NEVAC material:
- Some good group
- Interesting and
diverse viewpoints and analysis of pottery.
- Good selection
of subject material and interviews.
- Diverse settings
- Particularly good
interviews with two or more potters, which was a fresh and inspiring
aspect and one which is rarely seen.
- Individuals giving
clear and defined responses to work which is not their own was most
- Some interesting,
quirky and personal responses regarding an in depth history of makers/industry.
- Personal answers
and opinions can be seen and heard, which when read in academic textbooks
does not contain the same honesty, passion or clarity.
- The videos provide
an interesting way to meet the maker.
- To see an individual
who previously was recognizable only from the pieces they produce.
and studio-based interviews were most informative.
- The potters' technical
descriptions of manufacture alongside a visual of the piece being described
were good and helped to give a concise understanding of how/why/what
was used to make it.
on the interviewing approach:
- Some good studio/workshop
situations which are visually more appealing than a craftsman in his
- Some good choice
of interviewers who asked direct and probing questions.
- The diversity of
venue is good especially where the potter is taken from home to garden
giving the viewer another aspect together with a visual tour of the
potters home environment.
- To see the maker
at work whilst in discussion provides a good visual stimulus and whilst
being educational via audio, information is also given through the actions
of making a piece.
- One particularly
interesting and informative interview was watching and listening to
Kate Malone discuss her work from within her exhibition. In my opinion
this gave a good visual image and informative audio. It also gave the
viewer a different and informal approach where the potter obviously
felt at ease discussing her work.
- I have found that
the information gained by the interviewer to be good. A wide variety
of questions have resulted in different aspects of each potter being
probed. They extracted good historical, factual and personal responses.
on the interviewing approach:
- The interviewer
did not introduce themselves or the interviewed, this led to confusion.
- The interview content
could be perhaps less formal.
- I found there to
be a lack of structure to the interviews with some being sketchy or
with long pauses.
- I feel that a more
searching line of questions would be of use.
- The interviewer
could play more of a role with them giving responses and interacting
more in the conversations.
- I found it hard
to comprehend where I was in the interview as there were no guides or
menu's to tell me what sections of the video may be of specific interest.
on the content of the video:
- A more wide-ranging
group of potters/craftspeople needs to be represented.
- A wider range of
age groups needs to be represented.
- More variety in
styles of work is needed.
- A wider diversity
in situation should be introduced with careful consideration given to
- It would be interesting
and beneficial to see a larger variety of styles in the potters interviewed
which may include; sculptural ceramics, abstract, conceptual, industrial
produced pieces and indeed other forms of craft.
- More diversity
of surroundings/images/close ups within one interview, I found that
some of the interviews concentrated for too long within one location.
This was not good visually.
- The archive at
present contains many elements that I am interested in, however I feel
that my main interest is in the more contemporary issues raised. For
example there was a great deal of interesting material regarding opinions
n work made today, when these issues were raised and juxtaposed against
pieces made perhaps in the early seventies, then these topics became
most attractive. As
a contemporary potter I was most interested to hear discussions and
critiques of this kind.
- I also gained inspiration
and knowledge from many of the demonstrations carried out by the potters,
this was of great relevance as a maker. As an individual my interests
are many and varied, the discussions with 'historical legends' were
appealing and the content good. This was at its best in critiques and
in a studio setting as I found the information hard to digest when the
interviews were carried out in one situation for a length of time e.g.
on technical aspects of the recordings:
- The start up and
beginning of each interview left me confused as to where I was in the
conversation as the stagger start was difficult to comprehend.
- Apart from the
occasional scuff of a microphone the sound quality was good but this
type of interference is confusing.
- The picture quality
could have been improved through more detailed shots which are accurately
framed or edited.
of the web-based video database:
- Crafts person
- Crafts discipline
- Techniques e.g.
thrown, cast, handbuilt…
- Style of work e.g.
- Group discussion
- Commissioned work
- Public art
- Gallery collection
layout of web-based database front page
about how the web-based video database may be organised:
- As a whole I have
found the information so far recorded on the archive to be both informative
and interesting. I believe that with careful design and consideration
the archives will be an important resource for the collection of information
regarding the crafts and one, which I shall definitely use. I feel that
the best way forward to achieve this and give vital information to as
wider audience as possible is via the Internet.
- As a group of video's
the information included was good and varied, I do however strongly
believe that this needs to be expanded with further consideration given
to other craft disciplines. As the archive expands I would like to see
fresh and innovative approaches to the interview technique with specific
relevance being placed on structure and content. This can be best achieved
through careful planning and research into questions. This together
with good images and a diversity of locations will give an audio and
visually stimulating medium.
- As with all databases
the information should be primarily easily accessed in a concise and
uncluttered manner with few distractions involving complicated links
rendering the viewer lost in cyberspace! A map of the site would be
a good thing perhaps incorporating icons specific to each category e.g.
potters, technical, demo's, historical content, critiques etc. I feel
strongly that a navigation bar should be used across the bottom of each
video played. This may incorporate images, which tell the viewer what
is happening at a certain stage, this was not present in the archives
current form and would be most beneficial.
- As with all visual
material relating to the crafts, the images should be well framed and
relevant to the audio material. This should be stimulating to the eye
whilst the audio being informative and of sufficient clarity. With some
of the interviews there was little if any time spent filming the pieces
made, these were sometimes poorly framed and played no relevance to
the conversation. Should this be resolved to give a concise and informative
section then visually the videos will be more appealing.
- With regards to
the beginning of interviews I feel that a certain amount of editing
maybe beneficial, microphone scuffs and stagger starts are distracting
and left me unsure as to what was being asked. For the most the interviews
had good content, however this was only apparent after careful searching,
a direct link to sections which may be relevant to a search would be
helpful enabling the user easy access and omitting a long and time consuming
search through the length of the video's.
- Users of the archive
will come from a disparate catchment area each with different requirements.
With little or no knowledge of the content of the archive, a short and
informative approach to each video would be welcomed. Perhaps this would
include a concise one-sentence description of its content, highlighted
with image icons describing the scene visually. This may work when a
keyword is entered, bringing up exactly the right point in the video
and not at the beginning.
- My initial thoughts
for the home page is to be descriptive and clear using only a few words
telling the viewer exactly what the archive is, there should be no flashing
symbols but a well designed emblem or motif relevant to the crafts.
I would like to see a tool that would give me the ability to select
sections or clips and play them in a chosen order. This may also be
a useful aspect when typing in a keyword, software could bring together
all clips which are relevant this may also be a means of creating a
personal archive where the user can store information as a way of collating
images or specific clips.
- With regards to
individual potters I think it would be helpful if a whole page or section
was dedicated to each. This would include more details and descriptive
sentences about the video content, again I feel that image icons and
stills would be a good way of displaying this information. Perhaps another
keyword section within this page would give the user an even more specific
search but this time it would be relevant only to the potter or craftsperson.
- Probably the most
informative interviews for myself were the group discussions and critiques.
Not only did they contain important historical content but also they
gave an interesting angle of the personal views of each potter, the
whole idea created a more relaxed approach and gave the potter time
to form personal responses interjected with humorous tales or anecdotes.
It was brilliant to hear different people discussing other peoples work,
this is only found in journals and even then it is one sided. I would
like to see more of this type of interview and believe it would be a
most intriguing part of the archive and an area, which would be quite
- Together with group
discussions I found the interviews in a gallery space to be a fresh
and inspiring approach, often you will only see the pots. A real response
and meaning was delivered through listening and seeing the pots that
the potter had created. Perhaps this could be done more with direct
questions relating to why the maker made the pieces/ were they happy
with the exhibition/ how did they make them.
- I can appreciate
the factual aspect contained in the audio material but I have much respect
for the information gained via watching a piece being created. As a
maker this can be just as valuable as the spoken word with information
given through actions which would otherwise be hard to comprehend via
a vocal description. I believe that more interviews of this kind would
satisfy many peoples interest and would help to create an archive of
makers making which at present is unavailable in any form.
- The beginning of
each interview must include an introduction to the interviewer and interviewee,
perhaps also including a brief historical context to the maker.
layout for the search page of the web-based video database
To sum up I have included
a list of points that I feel may be beneficial
- To access the archive
via the Internet
- To increase the
amount of video material
- To interview a
more and diverse range of the crafts
- To interview more
- To interview more
craftspeople from different era's, historical, contemporary, sculptural,
- To have a more
- To give a better
visual content i.e. change of location, close up shots
- To include more
- To have a broad
range of interviewers
- To have more critical
analysis or issues relating to a group of craftspeople discussing work
- To introduce the
interviewer and interviewee
- To edit or cut
microphone scuffs and stagger starts
- To provide via
menu's and search facilities a clear and simple means of accessing specific
- To include a simple
image icon which describes the video as a footer on the navigation bar
- To provide a clear
description on the home page together with an 'enter' button
- To design a suitable
corporate image which will describe clearly what the archive offers
- To give clear information
via text and images as to what each interview contains
- To give a first
time user easy access to all material via clear menus or means of search
- To provide a separate
page/menu for all interviews/ subject/ discipline which would help to
narrow down specific searches
In all I have found
the archive to be a fascinating insight into the thoughts, lives and work
of many craftspeople. With careful management and good technical delivery
via the Internet I am sure that the archive will grow into a definitive,
historical and informative source of information. It is already a unique
and inspirational concept offering factual and visual references previously
unavailable. I am excited at the prospect of its growth and will continue
to use it as a vital point of reference.
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