Saturday, June 29, 2013

Taylor Swifting The Dogma in Farenheit 2013

Definition of Taylor Swifting

a : fearlessly using one's life experiences in a song, a blog, or whatever....
b :individualism
c : a point of view or tenet put forth as in a personalized narrative

This week many events occurred that culminated in changing the name of this blog to Andersen Studio Evolution Diaries, inspired by words said by Russel Smith from SCORE with whom we met yesterday. Russ said many businesses die off because they fail to evolve and so this blog has just evolved from being KickStarter Diaries to being about a more diverse concept of evolution. This is the moment when we let go of everything and toss it all up into the air and see where it all lands. The hardest thing to let go of is The Great American Ceramic Artist Designers Network, but I do so as an act of faith in that if it is meant to be, it will fall into its place in the new order that forms when the cards fall to the ground.

I was pondering doing another KickStarter project but probably won't in part because KickStarter has invited a lot of negative energy. The latest occurred this week when I encountered a gang attack on a  Facebook Craft Business page. The attack came in response to a blog post that I posted quite a while back in which I mentioned KickStarter, which was enough to give the gang the idea that I was asking for their advice on why our KickStarter project was not funded. Predictably they decided the project was not funded because I did everything wrong starting with the length of what I wrote- which, I was told by the proclaimed well wishers, is in violation of an unwritten KickStarter code that mandates that one produce an advertisement- not a life story- this code being an extension of the metaphorical Farenheit 2013 code that posits that all human thought be limited by the parameters of a twitter on one end and an elevator pitch on the other. This metaphorical code is an allusion to the science fiction novel by Ray Bradbury, Farenheit 451.

While the gang's meme maintained  that KickStarter mandates that one's pitch take the form of an advertisement, I conceived my pitch as equivalent to an "about us" editorial. The length was a intentional choice.  I am well aware that there are many who believe that all forms of communication should be short and sweet but I figure no one has to read the whole unless it interests them, and those that are interested enough to read the whole are probably the class of people who might have an interest in my vision of the Great American Ceramic Designer Craftsmen Network. As it happens Russel Smith did read the whole thing , which gave him some background that likely increased the relevance of our meeting, which, as it turned out was just what it needed to be, resulting in a planned next meeting with an attorney knowledgeable in the area of licensing, an option that I have long felt that we need to understand in order to make informed decisions about the direction in which to take our company

The Craft Biz gang came up with such gems of advice as "my elitist approach of presenting our business as special obviously wasn't working" ! I wonder what they think the purpose of advertising is.  They proclaimed that I had not presented my idea clearly but to my impression they lacked clarity - or perhaps I should say the lacked the ability to pay attention to what is being said. They told me that I was failing to "absorb" their critique and  I in turn could have told them that they failed to absorb the content of my Kickstarter presentation, perhaps because they were distracted from the content by their obsession with word count. How does one reconcile  elitism with a business philosophy of creating a hand made product affordable to the middle classes? By definition, the "elite" excludes the "middle" and ironically what makes Andersen Studio special is that intention to design and produce for the middle class market, and in that choice we carved out a unique place in ceramic history. By definition production ceramics is not included in the elite market place, which is centered in limited editions and one of a kind work. I am sure the adjudicators of my KickStarter project would be offended indeed if I had brought this much attention to detail into the conversation. One angry poster was already proclaiming the standard "do not indulge this poster !", without occurring to his own thought process that he might realize his own ambition by simply disengaging himself from the dialogue, but he was preoccupied with organizing a gang event. Has he lost all ability to act on an individual basis and become restricted to movements in which the gang acts in unison as a pod like creature?

And so , to my mind the theme of the critique falls into the individualist versus the collectivist debate By definition an advertisement should communicate what makes its subject special but here I am being portrayed as an elitist for portraying our ceramic enterprise with its products and long history as special, So if their use of the word "advertisement" doesn't mean communicating what is special about the subject, what then does it mean?  Left to my own interpretation of both the language and behavior of the pod-like gang, as well as some checking into their own FaceBook Pages, I conclude that by "advertisement" they mean "corporate", as in targeting mass consumption- but that is never been what Andersen Studio has been about. Ours is a history built on individualism and the personal- even as, in contradistinction our medium is production ceramics ! Somewhat of a dichotomy of which the achievement of individuality expressed through a production process is indeed that which makes Andersen Studio special. Andersen Studio's brand is symbolic of American individualism.

It is common practice for our customers to consider at length which ceramic wildlife creature has the eyes that speak most personally to them

Last but certainly not least, this week brought interest in The great American Ceramic Designer Craftsman Network from Greenville Maine, also in response to the ideas that I have written and published on line. A second generation Andersen collector who says " I responded as a private citizen and as a clinical counselor who has worked with many people who are depressed because they have no work." I wrote back that rural people have always been our best employees but that there needs to be one committed and inspired person who will take responsibility. I would very much like it if one of the cards that falls into place when they all come down to earth is the Greenville connection. It is just such a location that I have written about in my political blog where a ceramic slip casting production can help to vitalize a low income area in such a way that it utilizes the natural abilities of a pre-existing rural population, whereas many government programs are often plans to displace pre-existing populations, bringing in jobs but also importing new workers that eventually displace the pre-existing populous.

Monday, June 17, 2013

SALE Days during Sail Days- Windjammer Day Super Sale at Andersen Studio

Ocean Point in the setting sun

Boothbay Harbor in June is the time of the spectacular Windjammer Days when a fleet of fully rigged windjammers sail into the picturesque harbor On June 25th & 26th

There will many festivities
,- music, parades, and places to dine but if you feel like getting away from the crowds, a drive down the winding road to East Boothbay and the stunny rocky coastline of  Ocean Point is a refreshing place to commune with the water, air, earth, and sun.

Andersen Studio is about halfway point between the Harbor and Ocean Point, across from the Mill Pond- the image in our logo. you can't miss our big Blue & White sign!
Andersen Studio Road Sign

We are throwing another great sale for  Windjammers Days 25% off ENTIRE ORDER ! Firsts and Seconds Included ! For , our email list subscribers, we are starting the sale NOW! Through the 26th. You can use our promo code WindSale online or in the showroom just by mentioning it.

                        Ceramic Floating Gull Sculpture

This is a great sale on both first and seconds and you can order anything on our site but not every item is currently in stock and so we encourage you to call Elise at 1-855-350-4016 (TOLL FREE) or 207-350-4016 to get more information about what is in stock or production. 

While many items are ready to ship, some items have to be produced.

Please Use to contact us by email.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Honoring The Father

Father's Day is June 16 This email is devoted  to honoring our father, Weston Neil Andersen,  the founder of Andersen Studio and Andersen Design, 91 years old.

A youthful Weston Neil Andersen
Last night I sat with Dad alone on our front porch overlooking the pond and he spoke of  concerns for his family and the future of the business. Dad is a man who cares profoundly about others, both in the sense of family, which is the deepest concern of all, and the terms of community, as in an extension of family.  

I often throw tarot cards. The card most often representing Dad is the Hermit Card , showing an old man on a mountain holding up a lantern. Weston has wisdom, of the sort that one wonders  who will carry it on after he is  gone. Today old values are slipping away like the Mists Of Avalon-  a book I read many years ago about the transformation of culture as it evolved from paganism to organized religion. These times are as transformational and
Dad is now an icon of the past.

The Hermit card shows a man standing alone and independent on a mountain with a lantern of shining light. Dad created an unusual independence in the art business that he founded. It is a complex business that in-sources just about everything from design to production to marketing. As such the only outside authorities passing judgement on the value of the work are our collectors and the market, and so we were raised amid an  independence of art world institutional authorities but with affirmation coming from our parents and the community with which we interacted through the process of operating a business. Our collectors identified the work produced by our studio as art in the many correspondences that we received. Weston has long been recognized for the work he achieved in ceramics and business but now wonders if what he built will survive after he is gone. This is perpetually on his mind. It is a business that came to birth through years of struggle and devotion, which is unusual to come across today.

Weston Neil Andersen , der of Andersen Studioa nd Andersen Design Ceramics in the 1960'sDad has always read a great deal. Before Dad had macular degeneration, we shared an interest in quantum theory philosophers. One book that we both found inspirational as as well as informational is The Non-Local Universe, by Menas Kafatos and Robert Nadeau. The theme of the book is that of wholeness existing in all parts and parts exisying in the whole, illustrated by using the hologram as a metaphor.

Dad continued to listen to books on tapes after he could no longer read but a few years ago he fell down on the pavement and suffered a  brain injury. Then he stopped reading but he thinks all the time, sometimes about his life and at other times about the future. Once he slept for two days and when he woke up he told us that he had gotten a lot of work done.

When Dad was in the first stages of recovering from the brain injury, he was talking repeatedly about "systems management". That's when I connected with the central strength of his character. Many recognize our father for his talented work in ceramic design but behind that- which made it all possible , is my father's incredible understanding of systems management-  an understanding that involves the way that the whole is in the parts and the parts are in the whole. As my father was recovering from the brain injury, he was applying the same understanding to recovering his own mind. 

The Floating Gull is the first Nature Art created by Andersen Studio, The slightly stylized work has a whispering geometric appeal with out losing its natural quality

After the brain injury, Dad's essential character remained the same but his psyche was rearranged in an interesting and unusual way. I can no longer engage in a discussion of the molecular make up of ceramic glazes with Dad, a capacity which uses the intellectual capacity of the mind, but in place of that has emerged an intellect of feelings. Dad expresses his feelings with a childlike purity merged with a mature understanding of life. His thoughts are often expressed cryptically. Language is constructed in creative and original patterns. Sentences are short or even partial. Dad will talk about a person but not identify who they are although I can often probe to find out more. He often answers with merely a nod for yes or no, sometimes speaks in sign language and at times refuses to speak at all while at another moment can become quite loquacious with a flow of thoughts which are  perceptive and economically delivered. Weston Neil Andersen at 90

A while ago Dad went with us to meeting with our lawyer We met in a room in the Damariscotta Library. Dad walked in and announced "We can do a lot for this community". That's the way Dad thinks. Before the meeting was over he had switched places with the lawyer at the head of the table. He made an emphatic point to the lawyer that he had married his wife, with whom Weston  still remains deeply connected. 

This time when Dad came home from rehab the very first words Dad had to say are "We need to work with people we do not know" He is right of course. We need a  organization with people of many different sorts of skills. As a starting point we are looking for a business consultant who understands licensing.

I keep an on going blog about our business at Andersen Studio KickStarter Diaries.
I hope some will enjoy following it with interest.

Tufteitmouse by Mackenzie Andersen in wax 

                 Another view of the Tufted Titmouse Sculpture waiting  mold making process to commence.