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The best ceramic book my wife could find for me.

Updated on September 16, 2014

The best ceramics book you can buy.

I just started wheel throwing and I have to confess: I'm hooked. Because of my enthusiasm my wife decided to buy a book about ceramics for me. (In the future she also wants to explore the world of ceramics..) She gave me The Workshop Guide to Ceramics for Christmas. And what a Christmas present it was. I forgot all about the new Ipad air (which I had bought for myself a week before..can you imagine...)

The Workshop Guide to Ceramics is a complete book. Richly illustrated in full color. When I say a complete book I mean it. The Workshop Guide to Ceramics shows you everything. From modern ceramic art to traditional pottery.

I already had several ceramic books inherited from my mother. Classic 70's books with helpful black and white pictures. Good for the technique but a "bit" out of date!!

The Workshop Guide to Ceramics by Duncan Hooson and Anthony Quinn (no not the actor..) starts of with a lot of modern art that use ceramics to give you inspiration. From ceramic chairs by Maarten Baas to a 9m(30ft) high installation of broken ceramic objects by Clare Twomey. The book is really full of inspirational examples to get you going, all in full color.

The book is divided in eight parts starting off with Material Tools and Process. The authors tell you about the different types of clay and there characteristics ( color, plasticity, shrinkage, glaze response etc.) Then it continues to tell you how to recycle old dry clay. How to knead the clay and the different temperatures it needs in the kiln (clay oven). Again, with loads of instruction pictures and end results.

The book continues with a chapter about all the tools you can use. From a simple mould-makers knife up to a respirator, glaze dipping tongs and the different wheels. At the moment I haven't bought a wheel yet, but I'm busy doing my research on the internet. A kick wheel or a electric wheel what's better ? Being left handed I probably go for a wheel which can turn both ways.

There is so much more in the beautiful designed book. Part two is about forming techniques. Handy pictures show you how to create a bowl without using a wheel. Using the coil technique for making towers, vases, abstract forms, Using a box or a tube as a mould., Besides the instructional pictures, the book inspires with great images of ceramic art. There is a great picture of a typewriter made out of Ceramics by Katherine Morling with the slab-formed technique for example.

Of course there is loads of helpful information about clay throwing and it's loaded with instruction pictures. You see pictures of people throwing a cup, step by step. Which is really helpful. Yes I know you have to do it yourself and as said, I just started myself. It's complicated in the beginning, all those different finger positions. Throwing is a physical process not an intellectual one, you have to feel what you do. But the pictures in the book do help after and before the ceramic session. (The book is to beautiful to put it next to the throwing wheel, but that is the only disadvantage I came across..)

There are so many things you can find in The Workshop Guide to Ceramics that it's hardly impossible to sum them up all. But book handles more or less every thing you need. From the question: How to set up my ceramic workshop up to photographic stencils for printing on ceramics.

My own background is a painter, I studied arts in Holland and teach art classes for many a year now, but to be honest, I've never touched clay (yes as a kid, my mother had a kick-wheel) and it's great to discover new ways of expression.

Throwing clay is fun, for me it's not the result that counts. What counts is that I'm learning new things. With wheel throwing there is such a delicate balance between muscle power and finger top sensitivity. It's a really good way for me to relax and I notice that I'm looking forward to every weekly lesson.

Alternative Kilns & Firing Techniques: Raku * Saggar * Pit * Barrel (A Lark Ceramics Book)
Alternative Kilns & Firing Techniques: Raku * Saggar * Pit * Barrel (A Lark Ceramics Book)

A book which is on my wish list. I'm living off the grid in the country side, and solar power is fine, but not for a electric ceramic oven. Therefore I'm looking for an alternative Kiln and firing techniques. Raku is one of them, but there are more.

 
Potter's Bible: An Essential Illustrated Reference for both Beginner and Advanced Potters (Artist/Craft Bible Series)
Potter's Bible: An Essential Illustrated Reference for both Beginner and Advanced Potters (Artist/Craft Bible Series)

A great book for the beginner. (that's me;-) It's also one of the cheaper ceramic guides around.

 

There is so much information and inspiration to be found on youtube. All around the world artist use clay, which is a cheap material but they turn it into something priceless.

Making Interesting Ceramic Cups

Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Aztec Ceramics - BowlReflective Properties by Dawn YoullOrange Ceramic Stool by Maarten BaasCeramic sculptures by Susan NemethCeramic Toilet Paper Holder
Aztec Ceramics - Bowl
Aztec Ceramics - Bowl
Reflective Properties by Dawn Youll
Reflective Properties by Dawn Youll
Orange Ceramic Stool by Maarten Baas
Orange Ceramic Stool by Maarten Baas
Ceramic sculptures by Susan Nemeth
Ceramic sculptures by Susan Nemeth
Ceramic Toilet Paper Holder
Ceramic Toilet Paper Holder

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