Clay: A Studio Handbook Info
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Clay: A Studio Handbook
Publication Date:Mar 1, 2001
Drawing on more than 30 years of experience in ceramics, author
Vince Pitelka has created the most practical, all-inclusive studio
handbook for students, studio artists, educators and all those
interested in the art of clay. The ten chapters in Clay: A Studio
Handbook address the full range of ceramic processes, and bring a
lifetime of ceramic knowledge directly into the hands of potters.
Concerned about safe and efficient studio operation, Pitelka pays
diligent attention to safety practices.
students, teachers even serious weekend potters will find this book is
their single best resource for gaining, retaining, and expanding a solid
understanding of clay. And after that, this book helps you move your
work forward, with detailed descriptions of techniques you may have
tried and abandoned, or techniques you've been yearning to try out but
didn't have clear guidelines for.
Nothing on earth is more essential,
more organic, more basic than clay. Children play in the dirt. They
make mudpies. Kids like that (if they're lucky) grow up to be potters
like us. We have a freedom that's often hard to put into words a freedom
to express joy, sorrow, hope, whimsy, and more in a medium that flows
beneath our fingers like a river of creativity. When it dries, we coat
it in the color of our own imagination and relinquish it to another of
nature's most basic elements: fire. What comes out of the cooled kiln is
a snapshot in time, a moment of history forever frozen in its place a
beautiful piece in the present that could easily become an artifact of
the past in a future we may never see.
As potters, as artists, we
don't always see ourselves as playing a crucial role in history. But,
then, neither did the first people who put hand to clay and made the
first artistic expression of the human spirit in a form you could hold
in your hand. Many of us work on instinct, on intuition beyond our time.
But even with inspiration, the laws of physics still hold sway over the
clay, and the more we know about its properties and potential, the
farther we can take our work. There is such a vast amount of knowledge
you need to excel as a ceramics artist, and no one head can hold all
And what if you're serious, but not a
professional? Clay: A Studio Handbook is like having a giant
secret stash of Albany slip hidden away in your studio (see pages 5 and
146 to see why that would be an advantage). Clay: A Studio
Handbook answers life's most pressing questions in the field of
Why does my beautifully shaped bowl come out of the kiln
How do I incorporate more color into my work without glazing
my pieces to death?
When are my pieces dry enough to fire? Can I
accelerate the drying process without putting my work at risk?
do I do when everything I throw comes off the wheel and heads right back
into the recycling pile?
Where do I begin to set up my own
Who can help me solve the big problems and the little
The author, Vince Pitelka, is an established ceramics artist.
With more than 30 years of experience, Pitelka answers your questions
about materials, studio safety, tools, equipment, clay and glaze mixes,
firing processes and techniques, and more.
Pitelka's descriptions and
explanations cover every area of ceramics you can imagine, from pinch
pots to studio setup to manageable marketing. Brush up on techniques as
diverse as nerikomi (p. 118) and mishima (p. 108), or explore an
unconventional approach to slab building.
This is the most
practical, hands-on reference book on clay you can own. Whether you're a
seasoned professional, a teacher, a student, or a determined dabbler,
this book is a valuable resource you don't want to be without. You'll go
back to it again and again.