THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Saturday, October 11, 1969
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Pottery in Ann Arbor: Feats of c lay DAIACeA
By SUSAN RODEWALD
From preliterate times, m a n
has created functional and ex-
pressive objects from the earth.
But to the despair of artists and
ecologists alike, most Ann Ar-
bor residents refuse to realize
their environment and its pos-
sibilities. To these people, clay
is obviously a form of mud; be-
longing under grass, at a dis-
creet distance from the living
However, Ann Arbor's small
but intense ceramic subculture
refuses to accept this attitude.
To this cult, clay is r a w ma-
terial, ripe for conversion to
higher forms of being, although
few have yet agreed upon the
nature of an ideal form.
The apotheosis of mud, un-
fortunately, requires potters'
wheels, chemical glazes, firing
kilns and studio space, all ex-
pensive commodities. And po-
tential potters are frequently
crushed beneath the wheels they
do not own. Few can afford the
expense of an individual work-
shop; and thus the most obvious
alternatives exist either in the
University or the Ann Arbor
To those not enrolled in the
art school, Ann Arbor Potters'
Guild provides an essential
channel. Founded by nine clay
cultists in 1949, it is the oldest
and most ,successful art com-
mune in the area.
Big helping of mood
By NEAL GABLER
Some film-makers can make the audience cry. Others can
make them laugh. Many make them yawn. But Arthur Penn in
Alice's Restaurant goes beyond merely evoking certain emotions
and creates a pervasive mood which transcends the action of any
Seeing Alice's Restaurant, based on Arlo Gutlhrie's song, is like
listening to music. Some compositions can grab you and won't let
go until the end of the final note-and even then this grip often
loosens slowly. This film molds our sensativities in much the same
Penn has shaped our disposition in this manner before. For
example, the final scene in Bonnie and Clyde (to which Alice's
finale has been compared) he created a sense of loss, which was
more profound than mere tear-jerking. But Penn has never sus-
tained this type of mood for an entire film.
A sense of loss and unfulfillment pervades Penn's new film.
Make no mistakes; this is a tragic movie. For all the play and
games in Ray and Alice Brock's deconsecrated church, it just
doesn't seem like fun. In an attempt to create the happiness they
all seek, Ray holds a gala Thanksgiving feast and even decides on
a second wedding to Alice. But, while they all are trying to con-
vince themselves of their happiness, they know they aren't.
In some ways Alice's Restaurant may be the story of a genera-
tion, the post hippies. Ray and Alice are full of idealism; they see
their church as a place where they can create community people
living and loving together. Quite a few friends share the hope, but
Ray is unsettled by Alice's attentions to the rest of the clan, and
Alice in incapable of "milking all those pups." The dream can-
If this is the story of a generation growing to understanding,
it is also the story of an older generation like theirs which is now
loosing its spirit and its spirited members. The film is woven with
exceptionally moving scenes of Woody Guthrie wasting away with
Huntington's chorea, a-nerve disease which Arlo may someday
inherit while Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie entertain the dying
Woody in his hospital room.
While the mood of the fading idyllic dream underlies the pic-
ture, Penn still creates some uproariously funny scenes which hover
above the melancholy spirit. For example, Arlo's famous Thanks-
giving garbage dumping is cleverly done-8 x 10 glossies and all.
The draft physical is as hilarious in the film as it is in the massacre,
there's even a father raper for good measure.
Arlo does a great job of playing Arlo. I shudder to think that
a few years ago Hollywood might have cast their stock aimless
youth, say Chris Jones. This new "no-acting" style is a long call
from the highly stylized acting of the 40's and the method acting of
the 50's and early 60's. As in other recent films, notably Easy Rider,
people just play themselves. <(Police Chief Obanhein plays a perfect
dumb cop). Yes, they are actors, but the performances are so
casual it's hard to believe anyone even looked at the script.
The looseness of the acting rides well with the looseness of
the entire film. Like spilt water, it just flows. The mood Penn
creates is essential to holding the film together; had he failed,
Alice's Restaurant could have been one of the all-time bombs.
But, he does succeed, and what we have instead is one of this
year's finest films. But it is not entirely without flaws. Some of
the lines are embarrassingly trite, as when Ray says of a wandering
youth, "If we had a place like this before, he might not have
drifted off." And the subplot of the addict who Ray and Alice
take in is a mite melodramatic. Can he be reformed? Will he go
back to narcotics? It's like something out of an old Ben Casey
Yet, what Penn has given us is the great American tragedy.
1969-the sobering thought that we aren't about to get together.
Idealism is confronted by reality, the search for tranquillity must
continue. As Arlo says, "Good things in my life always seem to
come out of not doing what I don't want to do. I don't know what
I want to do. I just may have to hit the road."
A non-profit cooperative,
which defines itself as an ag-
gregate of "serious amateurs"
owns and operates a well-equip-
ped studio at 201 Hill. Each of
the current forty members has
his own key and may use t h e
worksop at will. In turn, each
donates labor and dues for main-
tenance and supplies. Although
honorary member J. T. Aber-
nathy is the only full-time pot-
ter, many members show and
sell their work in local shops,
galleries, and exhibits.
Establishment pots dominate
Guild sales. Well-crafted mugs,
plates, and candle holders out-
number non-functional experi-
ments. Guild craftsmen often
seem content to allow the wheel
its way; symetric anonymity
Since membership is limited
and controlled by private elc-
tions, the Guild has become a
partially closed system. Al-
though, it attempts to stimulate
information flow by sponsoring
community ceramic classes. In-
structors are recruited from
area potters as well as the facul-
ty and graduate students of
Eastern's, Wayne's and the
University's art departments.
Former Guild instructor Mrs.
Georgette Stull explains that
the Guild allows its teachers a
maximum of two years. "E a c h
introduces different techniques
and concepts in his classes.
Since students also work in labs
supervised by Guild regulars,
continuous staff turnover bene-
fits the entire organization."
The course is limited to t w o
sections of fourteen per semes-
ter; applications are competi-
tive and demand is high. The
current waiting list holds ninety.
Unlike the Potter's Guild, the
art school represents the ar-
tistic avant garde and fosters
few "sentimental, pots." Prof.
Robert Stull, of the art school,
urges his ceramic students to
explore unconventional con-
cepts of clay. "Begin to think
and tap your own potential.
Step on top of the body of
Knowledge. Ceramics is a pro-
cess as well as a material and
pottery is only one aspect."
Stull's teaching technique em-
phisazes dynamic experimenta-
tion. He believes tat standards
tion. He believes that standards
of artistic judgment and per-
sonal style must develop
through active manipulation of
material. Confronted with a
pliant mass of unstructured
matter, the amateur is forced
to impose his own form. He
learns the strengths and limita-
tions of his medium by trial
"A pot represents one solu-
tion to a given problem; its form
is a personal, expressive response
to need for a cooking thing.
Many traditional pots are valid
in this respect., but we must
continue to build on past exper-
ience. Reproductions are n o t
exciting." Stull says.
As the potter sweeps shatter-
ed fragments of an air bubble
explosion into the scrap bin or
justifies the unique design of a
buckled bowl rim, he finds what
will success functionally and
what will be aesthetically effec-
"Craft, or technical skill, is
primarily a tool for effective
individual expression," con-
ments Stull. "I want to expose
and stimulate new ideas as the
kids learn to make the clay
move around and hold togeth-
The art school's shelves il-
lustrate this approach. Objects
such as a ceramic camel saddle,
The Daily Official Bulletin is an
official publication of the Univer-
sity of Michigan. Notices should be
sent in 'YPEWRITTEN f o r in to
Room 3528 L.S.A. Bldg., before
? p.m. of the preceding publi-
cation and by 2 p.m. Friday for
Saturday and Sunday. Items appear
once. Student organization notices
are not accepted for publica tion.
For more information, phone 764-
SA'I'URDAY, OCTOBER I1
Cello Recital: Enkki Rautio, P I n-
a s leading e- st: School of Music
Reci al Hall, 3:30 pr=.
University P'layers (Department of
Spceh) : 'the Balcony by Jean Genet
Trueblood Theatre, 8:00 p.m
Opporit nit ies in Phi cal1Education:
Cour e ofrns available to all s'tu-
dents, wvhich begin October 20. 1969:
Beginnin:4 Swimming (men only).
Swim and Trim (women only), Begin-
ning Diving (men only), Intermediate
Diving (women only), Personal Exercise
Programs i men only), slimnastics (wo-
men only). Conditioning for Skiing
coed ,figure control (women only),
Gymnastics and Tranpining (m e n
only , Gymnastics (women only). bowl-
ing men and women) . e'ginning fenc-
ing coed), Intermendiae Fencing
coed),. Figure Skating coed), Ice
Skating (coed), Intermediate T e n n i s
men and women), Advanced T e n ai s
men only. Weightlifting (men only),
Basketball women onlyi, Basketball-
Basic Skills (men onlvi, Competitive
Basketball men only). Volleyball wo-
men only). Ice Hockey (men only). To
electt a course, report to the main of-
fice in Barbour or Waterman Gmna.s-
Interviews at General Division, call
763-1363 for appointments, call before
4 l.n. day preceding visit. Resume is
necessary for interview,' inquire about
registering to establish a resume. Or-
ganizations are pleased to speak with
vutng men regardless of pending mili-
MONDAY, OCTOBER 20
Harper & Row Publ., Inc.: Bach &
Mast. all majors for field representa-
'm'ESIAY. OCTOBER 21
American Oil Company, Standard Oil
ivision: Bach Mast. Gen Chem, Econ,
Gen Lib Arts and Math for Data Pro-
cess, Mgmt Trng. Mktg Res, Merchan,
Personnel. Publ Rel, Purchas & Sales.
Dun and Bradstreet, Inc.: Bach, Mast
Econ and Gen Lib Arts for Mgmt Trng.
Lincoln National Corporation: All
perss interested in sales and insur-
anice. freeaptitude test given this visit,
individual interviews held Oct. 28.
Corsortium for Graduate Study in
Business for Negroes: All seniors and
graduate men interested in studying
for the "BA at any of 5 universitiesin
%NI)NESDAt'. OC'TOBEIR 2?
Milwaukee County Civil Service Coni-
nmision: Bach Chen Microbiol, Lands
Arch,. Pharm. and Mast Social Work.
11a t and PhD in Psych.
SUMMER PLACEMENT SERVICE
?12 SAB, Lower Level
Union Carbide Corporation offers
.is for Jr)r Srs. and grad students in
bitr.che." math. encrg. physics and
staist'cs Apply before Jan. 1
SATURDAY and SUNDAY
dir. MARDEL CARNE (1944)
A romantic piece made during the Nazi oc-
cupation of France
"YOU CAN CRY AND NOT FEEL ASHAMED"
7 & 10 ARCHITECTURE
(62-8871 7 AUDITORIUM
PToruM UNDERGROUND MOVIES
Friday and Saturday evenings at 11:15 P.M.
not continuous with "War and Peace." separate admission
DIFFERENT PROGRAM EACH WEEK
"INSIDE NORTH VIETNAM"
The film provides an authetnic account of life in North Vietnam
under war conditions. Felix Greene did the photocraphy when he
was sent to North Vietnam for 3 1 months as a special corres-
pondent for the San Francisco Chronicle and for C.B.S. Television
News. He returned to the United States with 20.000 feet of uncen-
sored film and from this footaoe INSIDE NORTH VIETNAM was
"INSIDE NORTH VIETNAM is superb cinematography, but it is
more than that. it is an exact mirror of life in North Vietnam today.
It is also more than that. It is a human experience."
David Schoenbrun (Columbia Univ,
recently in North Vietnam)
"It is impossible not to be moved by this film, moved to shame or
anger or sometimes to hope. Its articulate and reasonable approach
in the narrative and the eloquence of its scenes would shake even a
Boston Herald Traveler
"Speaks directly to the people."
Prof. Bruce Franklin. Stanford
JACK BENNY in CAB WAITING (1930)
-jaily Jerry Wechler
Fr'om ,the at s,'cholQ):
The emc avanif t'(l'ilt-gairde
a clay mummy, and a series of
petrified Dairy Queens display
exi'pressive response to rather
original problems. The func-
tion of various containers is
suggestively reinforced with or-
ganic forms; an adventurous
soul can sip wine from a por-
celain esophogus or strain spa-
ghetti through a flesh - toned
Although many pieces reflect
contemporary trends in abstract
expressionismn and minimal
sculpture, students frequently
deny all categories. Harriet
Jansma, creator of a fragment-
ed female torso explains, "I
don't know why I made it. I
can't explain why I make any-
thing. I'm going to call it 'Rad-
ical Left Mestechtomy' and send
it to my boyfriend."
Clay, however serious in in-
tent, is basically fun. "With
clay. ya gotta be a kid," says
teaching fellow Bill Lau. "Sure
you develop sophisticated tech-
niques on the wheel. But the
wheel just goes round and round.
You have to fantisize and let
things grow from your work.
You have to learn to play."
Considering the therapeutic ef-
lects of clay consciousness, it
is amazing the University does
not require ceramics of alienat-
ed art historians and other cam-
pus insurgents. Due to o v e r-
crowding in the art school,
ceramics classes are closed to
all but the persistent studio
major. Freer enrollment policies
are promised when the much
discussed North Campus facili-
ties are completed. Temporay
relocation of classes in a semi-
warehouse at 514 E. Washington
has slightly lessened the popu-
lation pressure. but the staff is
still unable to accommodate all
In the meantime. a prospective
potter must investigate or create
his own alternative. The Pot-
ters' Guild presents one solu-
tion, but its enrollment limita-
tion and sixty dollar semester
fee make it impractical f o r
many students. Similar oppor-
tunities and limitations surround
classes held at the YM YWCA.
A third possibility has evolved
at the Residential College. Two
potters' wheels and a kiln have
been installed in a basement re-
creation room. Four students
are now working independently
with this equipment, and the
college hopes to begin supel'vis-
ed courses next semester. The
RC ceramic coalition seems
strangely similar to the early
Potters' Guild - through such
organizations, Ann Arbor ex-
tends its feats of clay.
Try Daily Classifieds
"It's the best
I have seen!"
-1."', T,..,iAC TV
AJALW RITS FILM
A rak er,-lsd Odc I L
TAMMY GRIMES BRIAN BEDFORD