- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: David & Charles (June 11, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1446303462
- ISBN-13: 978-1446303467
- Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.8 x 10.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #532,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Handmade Pottery at Home: Simple Ceramics to Make on Your Kitchen Table Paperback – June 11, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
I consider buying books like this because sometimes I want to see what other clay artists are doing as far as hand building. Sometimes what I need is a creative shot in the arm. Handmade Pottery at Home is a way for me to get it! The picture on the cover makes my mouth water and that creative thing in me starts dancing around. The "Look Inside" option gives a decent overview of the book. I bought this particular book because it is beautiful. The photography and images are almost ethereal. I also enjoy the author's rather quaint text - it's not all about potting method, but it's obvious she loves working with clay and has found her niche. I find a lot of simple inspiration in her projects. When paging through it my head fills with ideas and I become excited to get to work.
The reviewer who gave the book one star is correct that a kiln is needed to fire your work. If the person who buys this book isn't aware of that, then they know very little about working with earthen clay, and would indeed be frustrated. However, one doesn't always need to own a kiln. The individual would have to research this for their area, but quite often there are local potters, or public schools, or ceramic studios, etc. that will fire an independent potters' work for a small fee. As to the same reviewer's remark that the projects are not simple - actually, the techniques are very simple. It's just that the beginning potter needs to allow himself or herself some grace and not expect "perfection", ever, let alone right off the bat. Everything worth learning takes practice. (The toughest thing about these projects is allowing the rolled clay to sit and stiffen for the right amount of time before handling and shaping it.)
Unfortunately, the title of the book is rather misleading, which is why I gave only 4 out of 5 stars. This kind of work should NOT be done at one's kitchen table. You should create a dedicated space somewhere else, away from food or surfaces that food will come in contact with. Both unfired clay and glazes have things in them that are toxic. You don't need a big space, just someplace away from where you eat. And, one thing I don't believe the author mentioned that is very helpful and important for hand rolling - use some kind of rail or guide on either side of your clay. For example - if you want your clay to be 1/4" thick, place two 1/4" thick strips of wood on either side of your ball of clay, (sturdy yardsticks work great) flatten the clay somewhat by hand, and then roll it out, using the wood strips as a guide. Once your rolling pin comes in contact with the wood, you'll be unable to roll your clay any thinner, assuring a uniform thickness.
Indeed, this is a book filled with incredible photography - lovely images of some very tasty looking cupcakes, soup, French macarons and lots of pretty, sweet ideas for handmade pots, cups, plates, and the like. I find her ideas for decorating pleasing, but I really don't care for decals, (I prefer resist, and impressed or carved design that the glaze flows over.) Still, her enthusiasm for decals got me to rethinking their use - so you never know!
Altogether, as an instructional book it's rather sparse, so a beginner will likely struggle. For someone who has any kind of background with clay - understanding the how and when of handling slabs, the joining of pieces, etc, - this book may provide inspiration.
Just a warning though - maybe it'll be different for you, but I want dessert by the time I'm done going through the book!