Clay Times Back Issues Vol. 21 Issue 99 - Winter/Spring 2015 - Page 43

Pottery Making 101 REVIEW BY STEVEN BRANFMAN With all of the new books recently published in our craft we are in the midst of a pottery literature renaissance. My desk is piled high. Here are three books, geared toward the novice potter, that rise to the surface. Pinch Pottery: Functional, Modern Handbuilding by Susan Halls Lark Books, soft cover $21.95 Not since Paulus Berensohn’s seminal book Finding One’s Way with Clay, has there been a book solely devoted to pinch pottery. Evidently, the time has come. Having said that, I was disappointed to not see the author make any mention or reference to Berensohn other than to include his book in a list of four reference materials. Too bad. Pinch Pottery is a handsome book, with 128 bright and heavy pages that will withstand the mess of a pottery studio. Following the author’s introduction, the book is carefully organized into nine sections: Pinching the Basic Forms, Adding Elements to Your Forms, Pre-Fired Surface Treatments, Color & Glaze, The Decorated Surface, Clays, Kilns & Firing, The Projects, Appendix. There is also a brief glossary of essential terms, and an even briefer index. Susan Hall is the author of two other books: Ceramics for Beginners and Animals & Figures, both of which have been well received. After reading the introduction, I was immediately impressed with her clear, concise, and instructive style. But more importantly I was struck by her inclusive and encouraging tone. Each section contains complete and detailed, yet simple, instructions accompanied by full-color photos. Important teaching notes are highlighted in sidebars. A very useful aspect of the book is the inclusion of featured artists in the sections in which their background and work is presented for inspiration and ideas. The last third of the book is the section on projects. It is here, through nine diverse projects, that the author’s friendly teaching style and constant encouragement shine through. Pinch Pottery: Functional, Modern Handbuilding will be a welcome addition to the library of beginning and novice potters. It will also be a useful book for teachers who may have clay in their curriculum but who are either not well versed in the craft, or may not have the handbuilding experience necessary to be comfortable teaching pinch pottery and realizing its versatility as a vessel forming method. Ceramic Studio: Wheel Throwing by Emily Reason Lark Books, soft cover $19.95 Will there ever be enough books on throwing? Apparently not! All kidding aside, with the variety of approaches to throwing and to teaching throwing, and the individual nuances of handling clay on the wheel, perhaps the more books available, the better. Wheel Throwing begins with an introduction where the author shares her beginning encounters with clay and the wheel. She continues by discussing the clay process, explaining clay bodies, stages of dryness, wedging, and recycling. Reason goes on with laying out the basic studio setting, wheels, tools, and safety. This introductory section concludes with a discussion of form, volume, and proportion. continued on next page Resources I Books & Videos CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2015 43 REVIEW BY STEVEN BRANFMAN With all of the new books recently published in our craft we are in the midst of a pottery literature renaissance. My desk is piled high. Here are three books, geared toward the novice potter, that rise to the surface. Pinch Pottery: Functional, Modern Handbuilding by Susan Halls Lark Books, soft cover $21.95 Not since Paulus Berensohn’s seminal book Finding One’s Way with Clay, has there been a book solely devoted to pinch pottery. Evidently, the time has come. Having said that, I was disappointed to not see the author make any mention or reference to Berensohn other than to include his book in a list of four reference materials. Too bad. Pinch Pottery is a handsome book, with 128 bright and heavy pages that will withstand the mess of a pottery studio. Following the author’s introduction, the book is carefully organized into nine sections: Pinching the Basic Forms, Adding Elements to Your Forms, Pre-Fired Surface Treatments, Color & Glaze, The Decorated Surface, Clays, Kilns & Firing, The Projects, Appendix. There is also a brief glossary of essential terms, and an even briefer index. Pinch Pottery: Functional, Modern Handbuilding will be a welcome addition to the library of beginning and novice potters. It will also be a useful book for teachers who may have clay in their curriculum but who are either not well versed in the craft, or may not have the handbuilding experience necessary to be comfortable teaching pinch pottery and realizing its versatility as a vessel forming method. Ceramic Studio: Wheel Throwing by Emily Reason Lark Books, soft cover $19.95 Will there ever be enough books on throwing? Apparently not! All kidding aside, with the variety of approaches to throwing and to teaching throwing, and the individual nuances of handling clay on the wheel, perhaps the more books available, the better. Wheel Throwing begins with an introduction where the author shares her beginning encounters with clay and the wheel. She continues by discussing the clay process, explaining clay bodies, stages of dryness, wedging, and recycling. Reason goes on with laying out the basic studio setting, wheels, tools, and safety. This introductory section concludes with a discussion of form, volume, and proportion. continued on next page CLAYTIMES·COM n WINTER / SPRING 2015 Susan Hall is the author of two other books: Ceramics for Beginners and Animals & Figures, both of which have been well received. After reading the introduction, I was immediately impressed with her clear, concise, and instructive style. But more importantly I was struck by her inclusive and encouraging tone. Each section contains complete and detailed, yet simple, instructions accompanied by full-color photos. Important teaching notes are highlighted in sidebars. A very useful aspect of the book is the inclusion of featured artists in the sections in which their background and work is presented for inspiration and ideas. The last third of the book is the section on projects. It is here, through nine diverse projects, that the author’s friendly teaching style and constant encouragement shine through. Resources I Books & Videos Pottery Making 101 43