Blog, Book Reviews



This is the official companion to the BBC2 primetime series, bringing you a complete introduction to the world of ceramics. It stands perfectly well on its own as a great introduction to ceramics, and will not become irrelevant and time expired once the program is off air.

If you want to start making pots, this book covers everything you need to know. From the simplest of techniques, making a thumb pot to building one from coils. Adding a pulled handle and then going on to create slab pots and using a mould and throwing on a wheel. There is a chapter on Colour, pattern and texture and the techniques of slip decoration, painting, sgraffito, trailing, feathering and marbling are all explained. The different methods of firing are explored too.

We are shown a sample of the 6000 life sized Chinese ceramic figures that were buried alongside the first emperor of China, and then lost until 1974. The invention of porcelain in the Han Dynasty is also discussed.

Showcased along the way is a range of beautiful pottery from prehistoric clay figurines, to Meissen porcelain.

We are told how trade and colonization spread ceramic techniques throughout the world A fine example of this was during the thirteenth century when the Moors bought their technique of lustered tin glazing to Southern Spain.

British Heritage is also explored with Josiah Wedgewood setting up his groundbreaking factory Etruria during the eighteenth century. Wedgewood was then followed by Minton and Spode and The Potteries were established in the midlands. This led to the mass production, which in turn led to affordability of chinaware for the general public. The work of Clarice Cliff, Lucie Rie, William De Morgan and Picasso are all showcased as is the work by contemporary practitioners such as Edmund de Waal, Anthony Gormley and Grayson Perry.

 Published by Pavilion at £20

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