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My main interests in working on this blog are to help me organize my overall feelings, thinking and insight flashes about the human state of affairs — and where, what, who I am. In that process I would like very much to engender discussion, thought and curiosity about questions, uncertainties and peculiarities that arise in my life, and in the world where, by chance and certainty, it seems that I live.
Many of the questions and assertions I utter here are simply life-based and quasi-reflective, a bunch are my own bewilderment, while an important set touches on art and craft and on the spirit of creativity in human life. Others probe the realms of claims of our scientific grasp of what we call the world, or even, what we often think constitutes an explanation of the world, and of the stuff which science examines and sometimes cannot do as thoroughly as we hope. And, furthermore, to look at the mind-boggling forms of language and languages we use to get by in community, intellectual, emotional and spiritual life.
So, who am I? For me, equally, what am I?
Potter, ceramist, searcher (adventure, longing and wandering — mist, haze, sunshine and hard work); teacher (philosophy, Concordia University, Montreal, seeing ideas as real, as guides, as obsessions); executive secretary (Concordia University School of Graduate Studies); Director, Academic Dean, teacher (clay) (White Mountain Academy of the Arts, Northern Ontario, a wonder of insight, ordered chaos and connection); Director (New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, Fredericton, practice, organizational values, choice); Academic Dean (Dawson College, Montreal, learning to participate, facilitate, openings), Commissaire (Commission d’évaluation de l’enseignement collegial – CEEC, value systems). So many other elements and subtleties, here and there, etc.
Voilà! A verbal, synoptic précis of the functional self I have chanced and willed to be and do. It’s OK, not quite what I call me—but, so be it!
chance: an opening door (innumerable gifts/many doors)
Serendipity: I chanced to fall in love with clay in France in1972. I was seeking life in an unknown form. I had the enjoyable and stimulating challenge of undertaking doctoral studies in Grenoble, studying Spinoza, aesthetic experience and hidden visions. Gear-shift: being driven driven forward on a dirt path, I pursued full-time clay/pottery until 1984-85, then diverged on companion paths until 2012, while simultaneously pursuing creative, professional, artistic and educational obsessions until 2016-17. Several solo and group exhibitions across Canada; numerous workshops and presentations in those times. CEEC, 2017-2019, then back home to Montréal. Covid, 2020-22. Isolation of humans and chaos betimes. Whew, still a life form, 2023.
*Visions are Carnal Photons
“When someone asks us, ‘What colour are photons?’ we nowadays can reasonably say that they are confusing categories of thought. Philosophers would call this a category mistake. In the present age, we think we know that photons do not “have” colour, but rather, that they are what we call, discrete “packets of energy”. We also think we know that colour is seen as a colour, only with the intervention of the (human) eye. Of course, it gets more confusing for the lay person today. We have come to believe that it is the human brain which organizes this for us, and that the brain represents to us the multitudinous dynamics of seeing colour as if they were objects, things and the world. Carnal knowledge is not limited to sex even though western theistic and legal traditions would incline us to believe that it is. The carnal ground of knowledge is the existence of the human body itself in all its modes – ‘carnis’, ‘carnalis’, ‘caro. We rarely think of the brain as carnal – of human flesh – or the rods and cones of the eye as carnal – of human flesh – and virtually never of photoreceptor cells or the lateral geniculate nucleus as carnal. But if not carnal, then what? They are aspects of the human body which is the ground of what we commonly call ‘experience’, even though we do not experience these micro-elements directly. So what are visions?”
Ph.D.: “The Art of Earth and Fire” (The Aesthetics of Robin George Collingwood and the Craft of the Studio Potter), 1990, Concordia University, Montréal: great fun, hard thinking, seeing/sensing and stimulating. Much thanks!
“Collingwood: Aesthetics and a theory of Craft”, International Studies in Philosophy XXIll / 3, 1991.
“A Coat of Many Colours”, Ceramics Monthly, January 1996. Practice put to paper. Learning from practice to be creative.
Interests/obsessions: conceptual – linguistic life; edginess, searching/driven, awe/dread, is there sunshine in predawn light, and light is? Is matter matter? Does it matter?
A soul in search of itself.
Yea, but! Really?
Philosophy, art/craft – life and visual concepts, body/learning, body/world, thinking/life/matter — yes!