ABSTRACT

In the previous chapter I argued that skill is fundamentally dependent on a sensory recognition of and practical working with the qualities of a material. A skilful practitioner will bring out the qualities of a material, whereas the unskilled one might not even recognise them. Consequently, they respond differently towards the material and their resulting objects differ in quality. Therefore, the simplest and perhaps most effective method to explore differences in skill is by careful observation of the material, the ‘eye-ball method’. 1 Production traces, errors, overall appearance, and finish of an object are all informative as to the skill of its maker. Comparing a large group of similar objects to each other, variability is ‘intuitively obvious and readily observable’ (Bleed 2008, 154). However, while thorough examination in this manner may give an indication of the skill involved, I also forewarned against a judgement of skill purely on the basis of visual characteristics of an object.