THE MYTH OF PROMETHEUS
According to Greek mythology, Prometheus the Titan created human beings from clay.
He then stole fire from the gods and gave it to humanity. Thanks to fire, human beings could protect themselves from the cold and the darkness of the night, they could cook their food and develop ceramics, metallurgy and, ultimately, industry. They thus acquired the ability to create, an attribute that had been the prerogative of gods.
With fire, ceramists are able to create not only works of art but also, emulating Pluto and Vulcan, the material itself of which their pieces are made, organizing it to their wish, making it grow, giving it color, texture and the quality and hardness of stone. As gods used to do, they can also manipulate this material and erode it.
Prometheus’ gesture angered the gods, who, as a punishment, enchained him to a rock in the Caucasus, where his liver was eaten daily by an eagle. Being immortal, Prometheus was reborn every day and his punishment was eternal.
Similarly, ceramists receive a daily punishment in the form of great difficulties: long learning based on continuous experimentation, uncontrollable contractions and fractures, capricious chemical reactions, an expensive and complicated infrastructure, unusual licenses, permits and security requirements, etc. But the result obtained with each little effort is so gratifying that day after day ceramists resume their work without giving up.
It was Hercules who put an end to Prometheus’ punishment. In the case of ceramists, it is probably their Herculean persistence and tenacity which makes their success possible.
JUAN RAMÓN GIMENO
Tannery Art Center - Studio#120
1050 River Street - Santa Cruz, CA 95060
831 740 2322