Welcoming in the Newcomer (idea gathering)

Discourses. For what feels like a hundred times now. Discourses are the doing-saying-believing combinations that a person/group of people practice. It incorporates the language, communication, and culture. The way and how a person talks.

I, like everyone else, have a set of discourses that I’m fluent in. But the one that I think that would be the most entertaining to introduce a newcomer to would be my discourse as a ceramist. Since I’m fairly new to this as well, yet thanks to years of interaction with art and actual master in the area, I’ve submerged myself into the art.

Honestly, if you don’t know the terms, you’ll already be lost. The movements and hand placements. Holding yourself steady and not budging against the clay. Ceramists for the most part, especially when you make your own glazes just have to accept that they won’t know for sure what the piece will look like until after it’s been fired. And fired. And sometimes fired a third time. Or if the piece will even survive. You accept the unknowing.

The feel of the clay is something else too. When it’s too wet or too dry. It’s things that you learn by doing and that just explaining to an outsider, you’d struggle to understand.

Some interesting points from Gee’s Building Things through Language:

“It is as if you could build a building by simply speaking the words” (31)

His ideas of social groups and practices, how they compliment each other (31)

The Seven Building Tasks of Language (32-41):

Significance
Practices
Identities
Relationships
Politics
Connections
Sign Systems and Knowledge

One comment

  1. Eric Drown says:

    Solid work on describing the harder-to-understand aspects of ceramics Discourse. I think you could take it further by considering how the Discourse recruits and apprentices newcomers in formal and informal ways. Also, do ceramicists(?) have a recognizable identity or social role with social goods attached to it? How could an outsider or newcomer see it?

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