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Fred Johnston

My origins in clay are rooted in the southern folk pottery traditions of North Carolina. Growing up in the rural south has given me access to its colorful history and characters, which serves as a catalyst for ideas. Yet my work also draws from many cultures: Greek, Korean, Chinese, Pre-Columbian, European and Mimbres. The idea of dipping my ladle in many historical and cultural wellsprings is an adventure, my journey.

I question how I can extend the tradition of pottery. What can I contribute? I am not interested in pots that are mindless, shallow imitations and replications of the past. I believe in the idea of cross-fertilization and playfulness. The mixing and matching of different cultures, motifs and art styles are fertile ground, a place to cultivate.

As Weston La Barre poetically states:

"Every era must write down its own ethical Baedeckers. But to know only one's tribe is to be primitive, and to know only one's own generation is mentally to remain always a child. We all need perspective in historic time and in ethnic space in order to assess, indeed even to sense, the na´ve quiddity of our own day. Imprisonment in the contemporary is the worst of all intellectual tyrannies."


I question how I can extend the tradition of pottery. What can I contribute? I am not interested in pots that are mindless, shallow imitations and replications of the past. I believe in the idea of cross-fertilization and playfulness. The mixing and matching of different cultures, motifs and art styles are fertile ground, a place to cultivate.



As Weston La Barre poetically states:



"Every era must write down its own ethical Baedeckers. But to know only one's tribe is to be primitive, and to know only one's own generation is mentally to remain always a child. We all need perspective in historic time and in ethnic space in order to assess, indeed even to sense, the na´ve quiddity of our own day. Imprisonment in the contemporary is the worst of all intellectual tyrannies."

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