‘Peace Is The Only Adequate War Memorial’

(11.11) Meet ceramist and Gulf War veteran Ehren Tool, a U.S. Marine from 1990 to 1994 and currently in the Ceramic Department at UC Berkeley. This is from his artist statement at The National Veterans Art Museum.

Peace is the only adequate war memorial. All other war memorials are failures at best and are usually lies that promote the fantasy of war as glorious. I have made many failures and maybe some lies.

When I returned from the 1991 Gulf War I was surprised to see a G.I. Joe version of myself, my gas mask and my war, in stores, “for ages 6 and up”. I am compelled to make work that talks about the strange places where military and civilian cultures collude and collide.

Tool was a featured artist on “Service,” the latest installment of the PBS show “Craft in America.” The unstated star of the show has to be the G.I. Bill which it turns out has sent thousands of veterans to art school since its inception, opening doors of opportunity, giving wounded souls an avenue of expression, and enriching American culture immeasurably. Tool discovered the therapeutic benefits of the potters wheel and he make cups. Says Tool,

My intention when I make and share my work is to make and share MY work. I have made and given away more than 14,100 cups since 2001. I believe the cup is the appropriate scale to talk about war. The cups go into the world hand-to-hand, one story at a time.

Tool cups

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