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Having grown up surrounded by industrially produced stuff I have been conditioned with a strong expectation that a ‘set’ will comprise identical pieces. As a maker I hated that idea and have been very resistant to the use of gauges and measures to make more nearly identical pieces. It made me feel restricted and machine-like.

Seeing a picture of Jill Shaddock’s work (above) was a breakthrough – that pieces could be clearly related and yet different, having their own characteristics. This type of ‘family likeness’ had become my aim.

Recently however I have begun to use the odd measure and have found an unexpected pleasure and satisfaction in being able to make a set of pieces that all stack neatly together.

As a result the question of how much sameness is good and how much is too much has been blown open again…

I don’t know what the answer is, I don’t know if there even is one – but the question keeps rolling around in my mind.

So. Over to you.

Makers – how much sameness do you aim for? Why?

Users – how much sameness do you like?

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2 thoughts on “A question of matchy-matchy

  1. I once heard Walter Keeler say that he’d observed someone buying one of six mugs… They spent 30 mins looking at the minute differences between them, before settling on a ‘favourite’. After this he stopped trying to make them ‘all the same’.
    I think this focussed looking is a great part of the pleasure of a crafted piece – your eye doesn’t run off it, it’s caught by small differences. But the similarities are part of the pleasure too: and this kind of ‘pattern of difference’ you can’t get with ‘mechanical reproduction’ – it needs hand and eye skills – so somehow, it feels to me like the heart of craft – and quite hard to do! I’m endlessly trying to work it out too. But I hope that’s what buyers like. carys

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