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BM You know I said I'd been thinking about our readers, and the concept of community and communication?

NM I do--and its links to companionship.

BM But only because the first two Cs would hopefully lead to the third. Well, I've been wondering if it's possible to create a community through a magazine?

NM I would say not. Subscribers and readers are too disparate.

BM But they do have a shared commonality of interest.

NM Sure, but inhabiting different worlds of thought.

BM Isn't that why the communication is so important?

NM Depends how it's communicated.

BM Hmm, okay. Do you think the writing is all too 'nice'?

NM By that, do you mean we're promoting too much vanity stuff? To save the 'community' you envisage?

BM Maybe. Possibly. Perhaps more truth darts are required?

NM That of course would depend on whose truth it is, don't forget..

BM I understand that, but what, or who, do we think the community is?

NM I know you want me to take the high road and say something like a 'shared love of ceramics'. But let's start low, like it's a power clique that tries to maintain their power, constantly presenting an excessive set of rules from which we can only try to escape--where mediocre artists can rise to the top and where we are constantly reminded of our own limitations from which we are encouraged not to escape.

BM Sounds dark.

NM Well, if you have a community, first thing you need is police to prosecute the non-conformers.

BM Then the second thing needed is great writers to free people's mind--and then we get resistance, the good guys, who form their own community.

NM You mean we really need two communities and we plonk ourselves in the middle? Like the CNN or the BBC of ceramics?

BM What about how global the announcements of the new International Academy of Ceramics members were on social media?

NM Well, it's a meritocracy--which doesn't mean there is a mutual exclusivity from 'the community'.

BM Why did you include inverted commas?

NM Because 'the community' is defined by whom it excludes.

BM And you think that using inverted commas is some sort of code?

NM I think those who have achieved membership to IAC belong to a community. And I think a community defines itself by its codes.

BM But 'the community'?

NM By that, I infer you have defined it?

BM I'm probably thinking of a broad community, that traverses countries and oceans as well as backyards and garages.

NM Ah, so you are implying that there is an exclusivity associated with IAC? That it is beyond the aspiration of many ceramists to reach the highest level?

BM That's not what I'm saying at all.

NM Sounds like it-because there are only 680 IAC members. Worldwide. Representing 56 countries.

BM You've missed a nought, or two. Surely?

NM Nope. That's it.

BM Strong gatekeepers guarding the meritocracy then.

NM But a community nonetheless. Albeit, gated--the only association devoted to the medium of clay that functions on an international level.

BM Apart from cfile.

NM cfile isn't a membership organisation.

BM Au contraire. It certainly is.

NM With members in how many countries?

BM 189. And you said subscribers and readers are too disparate to create a community.

NM I did.

BM Well, even if you look at our list of events for next year: NCECA, Clay Gulgong, Aberystwyth, SOFA, IAC, Fuping and Minnesota ...

NM It's a lot of travel.

BM And a lot of talking, exchanging knowledge and building friendships.

NM I get where you're going with this, but that's us. We're doing the travel; not everyone does.

BM Wait, hear me out. The magazine travels. Everyone who writes for us, and indeed they are from all around the world, is contributing to a global conversation within the Ceramics: Art and Perception community.

NM So, not 'the community'.

BM Correct. But it is 'a community' that mixed in with all the other communities, utilising different avenues of communication, forms a massive, marvellous community.

NM From the ceramics study groups, and the potters groups; the lone potter, the co-operative potters, all the way up to IAC and cfile?

BM Exactly. Conundrum solved.

NM Not entirely. You've left out the third C.

BM Let's discuss that one over a wine. I'll get it. Which cup? The Scobie?

NM Perfect. Cheers. Here's to us.

BM To us--and our community.

NM You're not going to let it go are you?

BM I do like this cup of Lara's. Cheers one, and all.
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Title Annotation:community and ceramic art
Publication:Ceramics Art & Perception
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Oct 1, 2017
Previous Article:After demarest: for Karen Karnes, Enabler.
Next Article:Laurent Craste: Disjunctions.

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