Taking the thirty-year history and achievements of the Ceramic Arts Foundation (CAF) as a launch point, Garth Clark has created the non-profit CFile Foundation, a global community for ceramic creatives in art, design, architecture, and technology. The foundation’s mission is to foster dialogue between the many disciplines in which ceramic creatives are working today and to broaden that dialogue to include the wider worlds of the visual arts. At the heart of this mission is a free online campus that provides news, critical writing, and scholarly exhibitions relating to ceramics around the globe.
CFile not only takes the ceramic world out of the margins and into the mainstream of visual art, but also brings it into better contact with itself. In short we are building a collective: a bigger, more informed and more collaborative community.
CFile broadcasts to a huge international audience from our grey clay and straw adobe office building in Santa Fe, New Mexico — an earthy anchor city and counterpart to CFile’s ephemeral virtuality.
This 400-year old town is the scholarly, spiritual, and commercial center for the Southwest’s Indian pottery tradition with galleries, museums, and research centers that serve its history. It is also the meeting point for 3,000 Native potters living in New Mexico. One cannot hike the trails without kicking up shards, some 1,400 years old. Santa Fe provides a physical home with powerful symbolism that blends old with new, emerging as a mecca for contemporary ceramics. CFile’s arrival cements Santa Fe’s role as the new intellectual incubator for contemporary ceramics. But ceramic’s Native history is not our primary focus, we are focused on that cusp where the present flows into the future.
In a first for the industry, CFile offers a meeting place for all creatives whether from art, craft, design or architecture. These specialties have in the past been relatively isolated from one another. Our virtual campus is free for all to use and anchors itself in The Weekly, our news magazine, which includes video posts, critical reviews and commentaries, and news coverage about all things ceramic. However, this is just the beginning.
Over the next six months we roll out other departments: The Directory will provide the only comprehensive list of ceramic institutions and services provided; The Calendar will keep you up-to-date on international events; and the Ostracon Society is the place for writers to gather and exchange knowledge.
The Gallery, is our most innovative component and will become a highly influential force in bringing exciting ceramics to the visual arts community. Unlike other online exhibitions, our Gallery exhibitions will be produced with the intellectual rigor and standards of a major museum show. We will be inviting guest curators to assemble shows that could not otherwise be presented for reason of cost, and bring shows to our virtual space while the issues it addresses are still current. Fewer and fewer major ceramic shows are reaching the museums, largely for funding reasons, and so we will fill an urgent need in our world.
Because we value face-to-face interaction in addition to the connectivity of the internet, CFile also organizes many in-person events related to the ceramic arts. These include traveling exhibitions to leading museums, an annual international conference, a touring film festival of documentaries on ceramics and clay, and a lecture series. To encourage high achievement in the field, CFile gives annual non-monetary awards to designers, artists, architects, innovators and writers.
Bear in mind that all of this content is free and available to anyone from around the world. But our content only remains free because we have supporting friends who contribute in small and big ways to CFile’s programs. Please consider making a Donation if you believe in what we do. Thank you to the over 400 supporters who have done so already.