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Electric Kiln Ceramics: A Guide to Clays and Glazes Paperback – May 20, 2004
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This review pertains to the 2004 all-color edition of this book. Because I don't think that Amazon has yet implemented time travel to future books for its customers, it is clear that the reviews dated 2000 and 2001 pertain to a much older edition of this book.
This book seems a very reasonable introductory survey of things you do in ceramics, so would be a reasonable self-teaching text for someone using an electric kiln (check the table of contents to see the topics). About half the book is technique (though not as detailed as many other books, such as Petersen or Warshaw). Technique discussion is illustrated by many fascinating photos. Then about half the book is simply "Gallery" with more fascinating and beautiful photos, but no text. So the quantity of text is not huge, but what is there seems quite useful.
In the discussion section, at various points it got quite interesting. E.g. with glazes, it goes through things that can occur in glazes (crawling, shivering, crazing, etc.), and then tells you how to accomplish it if you want, and then how to avoid it if you don't. To me this was one of the more fascinating because it explained how these effects came about and how to strive for them. This particular part was only a few pages, but quite worthwhile if these kinds of things interest you.
At time to time, as appropriate, there were discussions relevant to electric kilns, but the whole book wasn't just electric kilns. This book is more of an artistic text book with electric kiln pointers, than a highly technical electric kiln book.
little information it contains.
For the studio potter there is only one valuable piece of information:
in electric firing, slow firing is good and
long soaks are better for proper glaze development.
I've tried several of the cone 6 and cone 10 glaze recipes,
the results were mostly awful. The technical discussion
of materials and equipment is too brief to make this
a real resource in the studio. Most electric kilns now
come with computer controllers, and there's nothing on
how to use them - just a few graphs of what an ideal firing
cycle should look like.
As other reviewers have noted, the black and white photographs
don't do justice to the pieces. Furthermore, the choice of
examples is very biased towards the non-functional, sculptural,
and just plain academic ugly. The overall presentation -
choice of font, layout, and general lack of design also
contributes to ones overall disappointment with this book.
If you want to see TONS of mediocre quality BLACK and WHITE photos of esoteric pottery, you've got the right book. If you are looking for technical explanations and help on the process of firing pottery & ceramics, keep shopping.
If you even have an INKLING of expecting help on your kiln that has an electronic control device (Such as the Skutt KM models), FORGET about this book; there is absolutely NO information of any substance here. Or even if you want a more detailed description of how to understand and/or manipulate the manual process, don't expect to count on this reference.
A REAL dissappointment. I couldn't return it fast enough.
My 5 stars are for the paperback. I would only give 2 stars to the 2nd edition hardback.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was a student of Richard at SUNY Oswego. Like to keep copies of his books as reference for future art projects.Published on May 10, 2014 by A. Karjoo
this is the potters best friend for sure. It has such good information on glaze mixes and temps for the kiln.Published on October 21, 2013 by Amanda Cline
I haven't finished it yet but what I have read was very good! Would buy this again! Oh very good hate this word thing!!Published on August 9, 2013 by SAD
This is an excellent book on ceramics and is of one the only books that actually tells us how to use an electric kiln with complete firing schedules. Read morePublished on March 25, 2013 by Robert Williams
I wanted something that would help me get back into ceramics after a 18 year break. This wonderful book had all the information I needed to get right back into firing, glazing, and... Read morePublished on June 6, 2012 by Auda F
As a 30 year professional at the potters craft, and a wannabe potter for a decade before that, I am curently grasping the nettle, taking instruction on moving from a gas fired,... Read morePublished on September 20, 2011 by John Feesey
Zankin presents a very thorough explanation of the various aspects of electric kiln firing. I was specially impressed with the section on glazes for different temperatures. Read morePublished on August 26, 2010 by Maria A. S. Dickie
This book is excellent. It will teach you not only everything you need to know to get started, but it gives glaze recipies and tips for intermediate types as well. I recommend it.Published on June 21, 2009 by Mother Mac
For someone new to firing and glazes, this book is an excellent place to start. It explains things in simple terms, provides pictures and demystifies the process. Read morePublished on November 5, 2007 by C. Hinds