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Why should you read a book on Ceramics? "Everything is on Google." "I will ask a question on my Pottery forum."

There are several advantages to books over Google, although admittedly they are slowly disappearing, they still exist.

There is a natural weeding of people that happens when you select a book. Usually the author has to know enough to put a book full of material together. Getting it published usually means that someone with some knowledge has reviewed it. You tend to get less awful information than you do on the web.

A good book you can keep around and generally do. I had hundreds in my office when I retired. Most that I used frequently I had read several times cover to cover. They were packed with information and presented it in a way that I could and would understand. One, "Pottery Glazes" by David Green I used consistently for 35 years. General books on clay are fast ways to learn. Students in my class who actually read the book did better work, had more ideas, stuck with things longer. They asked better questions.

People often ask how I learned all the things I know. First I find knowledge fun and I have a good memory for it. Second, especially in the subject of Ceramics I read and perhaps more importantly read a lot early in my Ceramics education. In high school I checked out every library book I could find on Ceramics that was not about porcelain collecting. This included engineering books that were way over my head, archaic books about lead glazed commercial wares, books about aesthetics. In 1973 I checked out 5 books a week from the main branch of the Detroit Public Library. I had piano lessons near there. I went through the books in our suburban library pretty quickly.

Early on I bought Clay and Glazes for the Pottery by Daniel Rhodes. Information in the book could have been better organized and better explained. But reading it gave me a structure in which to put blocks of information I picked up later. Similarly Pioneer Pottery could have been better, except I think that the problem in this book was it needed to be broader. It filled in a lot of blanks for me. I used it for about 15 years after which I gave it to a pottery worker in Thailand who could use it. I eventually bought another copy.

It is a shame when people think that the breadth of this wondrous material is limited to what they were exposed to in school, people who have gone 10 years into this and have not seen a Sung Dynasty pot, Islamic caligraphy on bowls, Palisy ware. Its a shame when they do not know what a Bristol glaze is so that when they see it on an old building they can relate. It is expensive when people get their new kiln and discover that their pots melted because they though cone 6 and cone 06 were the same. The book is much cheaper.

Can I fire my gold luster at the same time as a bisque? How come my shelves crack? I open the kiln when it is done and wait for it to cool before I take them out. Can I substitue EPK for China Clay? What causes crazing? The list goes on for ever.

Books I suggest, General knowledge, Ceramics by Glenn Nelson . Get any edition they were always good. The new ones do have better images. Its no longer as informative and not encylcopedic, but A Potter's book by Bernard Leach is great.

Throwing, not about technique but learning aesthetics, A Potter's Handbook by Clary Illian

Glazes, if you want recipes either of the books by John Britt The Ceramic Spectrum: A Simplified Approach to Glaze and Color Development by Robin Hopper . Its outdated in some ways, but still good. If you know a little about Unity Formula, the A Handbook of Pottery Glazes by David Green is a great read and filled. I think classes by Matt Katz are a great way to learn about glazes. I suggest these class frequently. You will learn a lot. But the classes are designed to get you to understand specific things in a specific way, people need more breadth. Matt and Rose's classes provide a great structure within which to understand why glazes look the way they do.

It is good to know of specific potteries and books about them are fascinating even if you just look at the pictures and read the captions. Good ones are Shigaraki, A Potter's Valley by Louise Cort. Portuguese Palissy Ware: A Survey of Ceramics from Caldas da Rainha, 1853-1920 Marshall P. Katz I just looked at the pictures in this one. The Potter's Eye: Art and Tradition in North Carolina Pottery by Mark Hewitt and Nancy Sweezy | Oct 31, 2005 , This book is pottery pornography. You get done flipping through the pictures and you are breathing hard and sweaty.

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Page last modified on January 28, 2024, at 09:08 PM