Flaws or Folk Art?

Flaws or Folk Art?

Over my years of working with Mata Ortiz pottery, there is a situation that reoccurs every so often; are 'imperfections' I find on pieces flaws or folk art?
Mata Ortiz is a handmade art form, created using the same methods as the villagers ancestors did a thousand years ago. That is much of the charm and allure of this pottery. And the medium used in their creation are clay and natural glazes. This aspect also adds to their value as unique items, only able to be created in this very small area of the world. But with these materials come some pitfalls. The most common is the softness of the glazing even after being fired. Another 'pitfall' (or is it a positive?) is the reality that these pieces are created by human hands.

Unlike factory assembly line creations from precisely calibrated machines and processes, each of these pots are individualistic - unique, but at times imperfect.
What do I mean? A number of times I have had pieces passed to me where the glaze is not 'perfect'. There may be hairline splits in the paint where drying occurred perhaps a little too quickly.
There may be areas where it looks as if the glaze was missed altogether, or was rubbed off before the firing process could harden it. All these 'flaws' are from the creation process and not post production.

Glaze damage on pottery    Full shot damaged pot

I had one piece of pottery returned to me as being damaged. I of course gave a full refund, no questions asked. To me the 'flaws' were hard to notice as they were so small. They were there, but only a few and they were very hard for me to see as I was so overwhelmed by the overall exquisiteness of the pottery. To me the flaws were swallowed up and disappeared when looking at the whole of the vessel.

Yes it is Flawed - No it is Perfect

One friend looked at the piece and said "Yes, these buyers were correct in returning this. When you pay what these pieces cost, you are entitled to perfection." Another friend said "Are you kidding me?
This piece is exquisite. Who would care about a few minute splits from drying, or smearing of the glaze when it was applied? This pottery is handcrafted by a renowned artist using a rare combination of materials native only to
his village. You are not paying for a DaVinci or a Ming Vase, you are paying for the unique skills and materials combined to create this. If there are 'flaws', it only adds to the authenticity and desirability of the piece.
After all, it's folk art, not fine china from England".


Full Disclosure

I always do full disclosures in my listings (I never made the same mistake again from earlier). When placing so much emphasis on these details, is the beauty of the piece being diminished for the sake of full disclosure.
Are these disclosures taking away the majestic beauty of a piece of art created from the hands of a villager? Do the facts surrounding the reality of the creation process counter the negative aspects of hand created art?

All my pieces with these flaws have eventually sold, sometimes for less than their perceived value. Whether that had to do with the flaws is anyones guess. In the end I believe full disclosure is the only way to proceed with
an item for sale. But the debate in my head still goes on about whether these are even flaws, or the expected outcome of 'Folk Art'.

Please let me know what you think.

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Desert Buckeye Gallery

Desert Buckeye Gallery