Crafting expertise

2013-12-16T13:45:28Z (GMT) by Georgina Palmer George E. Torrens
Throwing as a ceramic process of making is established worldwide in a variety of forms, but essentially the process has changed relatively little through the years; the method of learning the skills (Schon, 1991), from master to student, from expert to novice, is as old as the craft itself. Expertise is defined as ‘expert skill or knowledge in a particular field’ (Oxford English Dictionary Online, 2012)’ a high level of skill or knowledge’ (Cambridge Dictionaries Online, 2011) ‘a special skill or knowledge’ (Chambers, 2011), this raises issues of how an expert/high or special skill determined? Is it in the number of hours spent learning and honing skills? Or is it when individuals feel they can pass on their knowledge? A comparison of The ‘Expert’ status of the participant potters using the three different viewpoints. Collins (2007); outlines the knowledge levels of expertise across communities of experts in ‘Rethinking Expertise’ which demonstrated in ‘The periodic table of expertises’. Cross (2004), uses a design lens to define expert designers, Dreyfus approaches expertise by skill set(1986), which goes part way to expressing pot throwing expertise. The comparison of these three viewpoints can be used to further define the terms ‘Expert’ and ‘expertise’ within the field of craft. This understanding will aid the practitioner and student in the refinement or acquisition of the skills needed for the throwing performance. A national, purposive sample of throwing potters, with both experience and expertise has been used in this pilot study. The non-variable design intent for the study is three 1kg cylinder pots. Digital recording combined with interview and self-reflection by each potter helped establish their knowledge level and physical expertise. Further analysis of the recorded data provides an opportunity to understand the relationship between gender, scale and choice of technique at performance critical moments in time.