Silly Ethics Question - WarmGlass.com

Silly Ethics Question

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Judd
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Silly Ethics Question

Postby Judd » Mon Sep 22, 2003 10:12 am

Ok, being new here, I'm sure this topic has been beaten to death; however, I am curious and have no idea what to search for using the search engine.

I had a lady look at my fused glass. I explained that I made it. She misunderstood thinking I did hot glass. When I explained that it was pre-existing glass sheets, she was much more unimpressed.

Since it was my design, my technique, and my electric bill, when do I say I made the glass?

Maybe unethical answers are best?

Judd

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Postby Brad Walker » Mon Sep 22, 2003 10:33 am

Unethical answers are never best. :lol:

The issue is one of public education. If you were a potter, then no one would assume that you made the clay.

I generally explain what I do in the context of making ceramics. Most people have an idea of what that is, and can easily related to the idea of using glass (instead of clay) as the raw material. Simply point out that you combine different kinds of glass to make sculptural or functional items, the same way that a potter combines different clays and glazes to make his or her items. Then add that glass is more difficult to work with in a kiln than clay (e.g., heating and cooling is more critical, and ten degrees can make a difference in how a piece looks), and more often than not the person is impressed and amazed.

You didn't make the glass, you made the glass art.

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Postby Mark Kemp » Mon Sep 22, 2003 12:55 pm

I've been asked this a number of times by customers, too. I think it's usually just that they don't understand how the art is made, and they are curious. But I think very few hot glass artists actually make their own glass, either, just as very few potters dig their own clay and formulate it, and woodworkers don't, for the most part, grow and fell their own trees. We're transforming a "raw" material into art.

Paul Housberg
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Postby Paul Housberg » Mon Sep 22, 2003 2:23 pm

I describe what I do as something like making a collage with glass. The colored sheets are my raw material. If the client is unimpressed, so be it; it's not about technique or effort or degree of difficulty. It's about the look of the thing.

Let's not kid ourselves. There is nothing particularly difficult about fused glass. Yes, one has to learn the process, Yes, one experiences many failures. Yes, it requires endless experimention. But anyone who can cut glass can make (possibly poor) fused glass.

Playing the violin is difficult. Brain surgury is difficult. Walking a tight rope is difficult. Even blowing glass is difficult. Tell it like it is and don't equate mastery of technique with artistic vision.

Ok, I'm done ranting. Forgive me.
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starchimes (Andrea)
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Postby starchimes (Andrea) » Mon Sep 22, 2003 5:28 pm

You can always use the analogy of painting. You usually wouldn't make the paint to create a work of art. I like to use the word create instead of make.

Anyone can take a brush to canvas, from a child, an adult, a monkey or elephant, but do they create a work of art? Well anyone with a kiln and some glass can try fusing, but do they create something beautiful?

My 2 cents,

Andrea

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Postby Haydo » Thu Sep 25, 2003 10:06 am

Education is the key to it all. I'll be showing my work at our cafe when it opens in November and part of this will be a display explaining what I do.
I won't have time as the barista and my wife still isn't all that clear on the subject to help people come to terms with what they are seeing.
It will have samples of glass depicting differing values and texture before it's even handled. There will be frits, shards, powders,vitrograph elements, lampworked elements, some action shots and a run down on the technical side relating to time, temperature, ramps and soaks. I want them still guessing with more understanding. - Haydo
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Re: Silly Ethics Question

Postby Geri Comstock » Thu Sep 25, 2003 1:15 pm

Judd wrote:Ok, being new here, I'm sure this topic has been beaten to death; however, I am curious and have no idea what to search for using the search engine.

I had a lady look at my fused glass. I explained that I made it. She misunderstood thinking I did hot glass. When I explained that it was pre-existing glass sheets, she was much more unimpressed.

Since it was my design, my technique, and my electric bill, when do I say I made the glass?

Maybe unethical answers are best?

Judd


Unethical answers aren't best. But most glassblowers don't make their own glass either. They buy cullet and melt it. I don't see a difference at all.

There are a lot of customer misperceptions about glass out there...read my old posts on the subject...LOL. I've complained about a lot of them after shows where I've gotten comments from customers who don't know about glasswork.

If she wasn't impressed that you make your work from sheet glass, she simply doesn't understand the process or the creativity and knowledge involved. I like the analogies that others have given you to use. Maybe you want to have samples of the glass before you fire it, but I suspect it won't overcome this kind of objection (by objection, I mean an objection, as in a sales situation).

Some people can always find a reason not to buy your work. It means they aren't really customers and don't really want to buy. Don't take it to heart. Even if it was blown glass, they still would find a reason not to buy it.

One strategy to overcome objections posed regarding your work not being blown is that you can point out that we fusers can do things with glass that blowers can't. We can create intricate geometric patterns that simply aren't possible in blown glass right now. Alot of my fused work falls into that category. I explain the concept to customers who are disappointed to learn it hasn't been blown. Sometimes they get it and sometimes they don't. Whatever... you won't make a sale every time.

Geri

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Postby PaulS » Thu Sep 25, 2003 3:18 pm

Yes it's a pain when you get a clever-clogs trying to catch you out isn't it?

But it helps if you have a ready answer (chance prefers the prepared mind!), someone recently posted a great one here, I think it was Brock?;

"Well firing glass, it's similar to playing a piano; everybody has the same set of keys, they just press the keys in a different order and maybe sometimes hold them down a bit longer!"

Brilliant.
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Brock
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Postby Brock » Thu Sep 25, 2003 3:23 pm

Paul Stevenson wrote:Yes it's a pain when you get a clever-clogs trying to catch you out isn't it?

But it helps if you have a ready answer (chance prefers the prepared mind!), someone recently posted a great one here, I think it was Brock?;

"Well firing glass, it's similar to playing a piano; everybody has the same set of keys, they just press the keys in a different order and maybe sometimes hold them down a bit longer!"

Brilliant.


It wasn't me, but it's a good one. I heard a similar adage about writing, something about everyone has the same words, thay just put them in different orders.

Brock
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Piano

Postby Brad Walker » Thu Sep 25, 2003 3:33 pm

Here's the passage:

Neither glassblowing or warmglass craft require much skill. Neither require anything more than equipment, rudimentary demonstration, and a bit of safety instruction, to execute the craft successfully.

Playing piano requires no skill either. One presses the keys down with one's fingers in the desired sequence, with the desired emphasis, and the notes appear with almost guaranteed reliability.


Courtesy of Don Burt.

watershed
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Postby watershed » Fri Sep 26, 2003 12:48 am

Technique is easy to understand, creativity is not. KInd of fits into the (now very old) joke about the Mother saying her child could draw like Picasso. The rest goes, But would anyone buy them....

I don't think that people really want to know how things are done, the same way they don't want to know that they are paying for all that slag that you had to make, before you could make that really spiff piece.

That's not to say you shouldn't tell them, just that they might not want to know.

Greg

Mark Kemp
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Postby Mark Kemp » Fri Sep 26, 2003 12:14 pm

watershed wrote:
I don't think that people really want to know how things are done, the same way they don't want to know that they are paying for all that slag that you had to make, before you could make that really spiff piece.

That's not to say you shouldn't tell them, just that they might not want to know.

Greg


I find some people are very curious about how the art is made, some mildly curious, and some don't want to know at all. When I start telling the latter sort, I can see their eyes glaze over. With this type, I think it's better not to tell them the facts behind the art -- they just like what they see in front of them.

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Re: Piano

Postby Paul Housberg » Fri Sep 26, 2003 12:18 pm

Brad Walker wrote:Here's the passage:

Neither glassblowing or warmglass craft require much skill. Neither require anything more than equipment, rudimentary demonstration, and a bit of safety instruction, to execute the craft successfully.

Playing piano requires no skill either. One presses the keys down with one's fingers in the desired sequence, with the desired emphasis, and the notes appear with almost guaranteed reliability.


Courtesy of Don Burt.



Well, I think Don Burt is being disingenuous. The logical extension of this belief is that there is no such thing as skill. Anyone who's ever mastered any activity that for them was initially difficult—and that includes everybody—would argue otherwise.

Both fused glass and glassblowing require skill, though glassblowing requires considerably more. BUT, it ain't about skill. It's about how the thing looks.

Technique that draws attention to itself at the expense of the aesthetic merits of a piece does not make for good work no matter how much skill it demands. And work that is simply about virtuosity of technique also does not make for good work.
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Brock
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Postby Brock » Fri Sep 26, 2003 12:23 pm

. . . Technique that draws attention to itself at the expense of the aesthetic merits of a piece does not make for good work no matter how much skill it demands. And work that is simply about virtuosity of technique also does not make for good work.

Well then, how do you explain the amazing success of Dale Chihuly and Lino Tagliapietra. Their work is ALL about technique, with little, or no content.
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Re: Piano

Postby Brad Walker » Fri Sep 26, 2003 12:29 pm

Paul Housberg wrote:Well, I think Don Burt is being disingenuous. The logical extension of this belief is that there is no such thing as skill. Anyone who's ever mastered any activity that for them was initially difficult—and that includes everybody—would argue otherwise.

Both fused glass and glassblowing require skill, though glassblowing requires considerably more. BUT, it ain't about skill. It's about how the thing looks.

Technique that draws attention to itself at the expense of the aesthetic merits of a piece does not make for good work no matter how much skill it demands. And work that is simply about virtuosity of technique also does not make for good work.


Actually, I think you missed Don's point. He was responding to comments that are often made that fusing requires no skill by pointing out that by the same logic piano playing requires no skill. His tongue was firmly in cheek.

By the way, I would disagree that glassblowing requires considerably more skill than kiln-forming. Kiln-forming done well is not the same thing as melting together two pieces of glass to make a coaster, and the best kiln-formed pieces require every bit as much skill and expertise as anything that comes off a punty.

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Postby charlie » Fri Sep 26, 2003 12:30 pm

Mark Kemp wrote:
watershed wrote:
I don't think that people really want to know how things are done, the same way they don't want to know that they are paying for all that slag that you had to make, before you could make that really spiff piece.

That's not to say you shouldn't tell them, just that they might not want to know.

Greg


I find some people are very curious about how the art is made, some mildly curious, and some don't want to know at all. When I start telling the latter sort, I can see their eyes glaze over. With this type, I think it's better not to tell them the facts behind the art -- they just like what they see in front of them.


please ignore the voice behind the curtain...

Brock
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Postby Brock » Fri Sep 26, 2003 12:32 pm

Frankly my dear, I don't think "silly" and "Ethics" belong in the same sentence. Brock
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Postby Paul Housberg » Fri Sep 26, 2003 1:20 pm

Brock wrote:. . . Technique that draws attention to itself at the expense of the aesthetic merits of a piece does not make for good work no matter how much skill it demands. And work that is simply about virtuosity of technique also does not make for good work.

Well then, how do you explain the amazing success of Dale Chihuly and Lino Tagliapietra. Their work is ALL about technique, with little, or no content.


It's easy to explain their success, but I would argue that their work is not only about technique. Without defining "content", their work is about color and form, at a minimum, and I get pleasure out of (much of) it. I acknowledge that there are those who don't.
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Re: Piano

Postby Paul Housberg » Fri Sep 26, 2003 1:39 pm

Brad Walker wrote:
Paul Housberg wrote:Well, I think Don Burt is being disingenuous. The logical extension of this belief is that there is no such thing as skill. Anyone who's ever mastered any activity that for them was initially difficult—and that includes everybody—would argue otherwise.

Both fused glass and glassblowing require skill, though glassblowing requires considerably more. BUT, it ain't about skill. It's about how the thing looks.

Technique that draws attention to itself at the expense of the aesthetic merits of a piece does not make for good work no matter how much skill it demands. And work that is simply about virtuosity of technique also does not make for good work.


Actually, I think you missed Don's point. He was responding to comments that are often made that fusing requires no skill by pointing out that by the same logic piano playing requires no skill. His tongue was firmly in cheek.

By the way, I would disagree that glassblowing requires considerably more skill than kiln-forming. Kiln-forming done well is not the same thing as melting together two pieces of glass to make a coaster, and the best kiln-formed pieces require every bit as much skill and expertise as anything that comes off a punty.


Perhaps, I missed Don's point, but I stand by my proposition that different techniques require different degrees of skill and that glassblowing requires more "skill" than fusing. But, to continue this conversation, we need to agree on what we mean by skill.

My reaction is, in part, to those who would attribute value to their work because it was difficult to make. My point is that the degree of technical difficulty or "skill" required is, in the end, irrelevant.

I suspect we're in agreement on that point(?)
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Postby Brad Walker » Fri Sep 26, 2003 2:02 pm

We're definitely in agreement on that point, Paul. Some of the best works of art were done quickly and with little apparent technique, while works that were slaved over for hours and hours aren't necessarily worthwhile. (The opposite holds true also, by the way.)

As for the kiln-forming vs. glassblowing argument, I suspect it does hinge on one's definition of skill. I would favor a broader definition, one that extends beyond hand manipulative skills to also take in longer, more drawn out procedures of kiln-forming.

If we define skill as simply an ability that is obtained via training, then I guess I'd agree that it takes more training to become a proficient glassblower than to become a proficient kiln-former. But that doesn't mean much to me -- sewing a pair of pantyhose, for example, requires as much or more skill than either glassblowing or kiln-forming. It requires 16 weeks of intensive, full-time training just to sew first quality work consistently, then several more years to really do it well. And some people can never learn.

Of course that doesn't make a pair of pantyhose a work of art, does it?


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