I am moved to speak! This blog has been dormant for a bit but it occurs to me that the EU referendum debate in the UK has made everybody petrified – turned to stone. Inflexible. Afraid. I have noticed how people are more cautious to commit even on a rational level to craft courses as D-Day approaches, fueled by fear.
The ceramic process is one of transformation. We take clay, which was once stone, then we work with it and turn it back into stone, to make our lives better and more memorable. Eventually of course it returns to clay, if, that is, an archaeologist doesn’t find it first, to teach us something new about ourselves.
Culture is what nations are judged on. It is the extant objects of an age – the culture that is left when people are gone – that fascinate us enough to travel and visit other countries and that, in fact, mark them out as noteworthy. Pottery does this so well because it lasts so long. It is one of the only true constants in the history of humanity – slightly bold statement you might say, but nevertheless, one visit to the British Museum or any vibrant town museum will show you that. It works on a human level, rather than one of nationhood. This is the contribution I think it has to the referendum debate.
This is not a pitch for bums on seats for my classes, although that would give me some breathing space as a living crafts person, but it feels like the small investment that people need to make in themselves is being eroded by fear from national and international politics. Could it be that the further politics is away from people’s daily lives the better it is for them? If politics is so emotionally confrontational that we are turned to stone, then we are in trouble!
It feels that this petrification is becoming more and more acute by the day. There needs to be one step further, a push. This is the push, if we are so detached from our emotional micro-climates that we cannot navigate the referendum debate without being turned to stone, we should realise that even stone will turn to clay soon enough and begin again!
Feel free to comment 🙂