pic of the week

Weekly photo blog

desire Ceramics i’ve been covering for Jane at her ceramics stall on broadway market the past 3 saturdays and found it a very ambivalent experience. it was great to develop more routine with pushing the loaded trolley across narrow and bumpy pavements; creating a mini pop-up shop that doesn’t give away the wonky old plastic table underneath the display; enwrapping potential customers in conversations about the functionality (dishwasher-proof and microwaveable) and design (self-mixed glazes that involve the use of entirely non-toxic earth minerals and crystals) of the ceramics and getting more familiar with the morning ebb and mid-day flood of the people on the market. i also enjoyed getting to know my stall neighbours a bit better and exchanging fascinating stories about butterfly houses, pandas and book editing. i felt the sense of community among the traders and shop owners – the bar across from Jane’s stall gave me a discount on my tea because they had noticed i was on the stall. they later asked a couple of us for help with securing a ladder when they had to change a light bulb. i know from Jane that some of the traders swap crafted goods e.g. a hand-made ceramics bowl in exchange for a wooden chopping board. as someone who is passionate about anything to do with locally sourced wool, i love the number of people that appreciate locally hand-made craft and are very happy to pay more money for a bowl, bag or loaf of bread on the stalls than the anonymously remote-mass-produced equivalent on the high street. yet, i also feel a surge of anger when people comment on handmade locally produced goods being too expensive – when people turn away from Jane’s stall because her bowls cost too much – because they are used to cheap being possible without taking responsibility for the exploitation of cheap labour and unsustainable use of resources that cheap goods automatically involve. but i also feel uncomfortable when i find myself innerly wanting people that look at the display to make a purchase: isn’t a market stall with a beautiful lay-out of goods and a ready set of enticing information about them all about awakening a desire for material goods that the people might not really need? doesn’t it contribute to a culture of want and wanting in excess? yet i know that in order to be able to live on producing honest and sustainable craft someone like Jane needs to have an honest and sustainable income hence the goods need to be bought by someone… what i’d really like to know is whether ‘desire’ for material goods is a human condition – or whether it’s one that’s been created over centuries of clever marketing? whether it would be possible to live in a society where all we need for our daily lives is produced in a sustainable and honest way – by the Janes of this world – and we only buy what we need and replace it with something new once it’s broken? and maybe then we’d need less people to produce these – but because we’d all needed less money we could all work less and distribute the work more evenly and spend more time hanging out on broadway market listening to live musiv? my own broadway market inspired utopia…

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The Author

Writer, Photographer, Craftivist, Facilitator, Mediator, Trainer, Founding Director of deep:black. Passionate about equality & empowerment. And about anger & vulnerability.