I had the good fortune to be one of Matt Long’s students when he was in graduate school at Ohio University. Sadly, I only had one class with him because I happened to take it my last quarter. But I really identified with Matt’s philosophy on making pots and that is probably why clay has been a big part of my life ever since (ceramics was not my major, although it would have been had I taken the class earlier!). Matt is one of those gifted educators who really impacts his students both because he is an excellent instructor and because of his genuine enthusiasm for what he does.
Today’s video is an oldie but a goodie. It’s from Matt’s Vessels for Victory DVD. One of the reasons I like this DVD is because Matt talks about the “why to” as much as the “how to.” Sometimes it is easy to concentrate only on how to throw a particular pot, but not really think about the aesthetic choices made along the way. But Matt reminds us to keep thinking about why we make those choices and about how effective they are visually and functionally. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.
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From “Matt Long’s Moments of Victory” by Glen R. Brown:
Community is clearly one of the central themes in Long’s work. The principal forms that he has developed, in particular the martini glass and the whiskey flask, are designed less with an interest in pure utility than with a concern for their potential social role. In fact, the primary reward that he seeks for his efforts is the knowledge that his work has been successfully integrated into someone’s life, especially into that person’s interaction with others. Establishing contact with others through the medium of a vessel is a process that one might easily characterize as expressive, as paralleling, in other words, the way in which artists are sometimes said to “speak” to the viewer through their work. Long, however, is less concerned with conveying a personal communication than with relating the general message that his vessels are produced through direct involvement of the human hand. While he professes no aversion to the products of modern technology, he believes that the handmade vessel adds an element of uniqueness to the experience of use that no mass-manufactured object can match. “I think that people sometimes confuse quality with convenience,” he explains. “I’m not after convenience, and I’m not trying to compete with industry. I only want to suggest that there are aspects of experience beyond what machine-made objects like paper cups or Tupperware pitchers can provide.”
To see even more of Matt’s work, visit his website, www.fullvictory.com.