Today be grateful for: Terracotta
Terracotta, or “baked earth” in some language, pretty much did what it wanted up until the 14th century. It was the only ceramic in existence and quite frankly, acted like it. It could be used for pottery, sculpture and buildings and when asked about its competitors it often sat there motionless, arrogant almost, and while it didn’t say anything specifically you could just tell it was thinking “Fools. Terracotta will always be in vogue. Not even an imminent invasion of imported European stoneware would be able to stop me, if such a thing even existed!”
Well it did exist, and in a matter of days terracotta was relegated to fuckboi of the ceramic world. But it had a good run. For example these people are quite nice
And this building is not terrible
And this pot is an affront to history and Earth
As you can see it’s given us some dizzying highs and some terrifying lows over the years, but the thing worth noticing is that terracotta is still here. It has been comprehensively humbled by its fancier cousins such as porcelain, glass and injection moulding, but it’s still here. I like to think it’s still mildly popular because it provides people today with a direct connection to their ancient history in a way Encarta 95 or Where in the World is Carmen San Diego could only dare dream. Whenever a 26 year old hipster buys a terracotta pot from a local nursery I guarantee they’re at least subconsciously placing themselves back in ancient Mesopotamia, or at least the Where’s Wally Mesopotamia they remember. They walk past it a few times sitting between the bong and carton of off-milk in the living room of their share house and they can’t help but feel like Alexander the Great roaming the Euphrates at dusk.
I’m grateful for terracotta because it’s the ultimate redemption story. A pompous King knocked off his throne who humbly worked away in the background for 700 years waiting for his opportunity and when he saw it in the form of a 26 year old kid in a Smiths t-shirt, he pounced. And now he’s back on top. He’s basically the Kirk van Houten of ceramics, except he succeeded.
Follow or clap at me, jerks.