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The Penland Book of Ceramics: Master Class in Ceramic Techniques
This is one of the latest Lark Book publications and is a good mixture of technical instruction and pictorial galleries. Ten artists are examined in depth. Each section starts with an overview of the artist, how they got introduced to clay, what influences their work, and some of their work ethics. Then they move on to show step by step how to create one of their "signature" pieces. Finally each section ends with a gallery of work by both the artist and from other artists that have similarly influenced work. It's a very nice mix of personal, technical, and visual information.
There are quite a variety of different techniques discussed and detailed by the artists.
Angelica Pozo focuses on mosaic pieces and details how to work with tiles. I think some of these techniques would lend themselves to some very interesting Raku wall art.
Michael Sherril works primarily with an extruder but his work does not look like the typical extruder pieces. He extrudes sectional pieces that he tapers and closes at both ends. Then he carves, alters, and combines the pieces to create very organic looking structures.
Nick Joerling creates pieces that seem filled with motion. He primarily throws on the wheel and then does aggressive alterations and sectional combinations to create the final "dancing" forms.
Joe Bova concentrates primarily on the human form. He details creating a mid section figure from slabs of clay. He uses an interesting combination of cuts, additions, and pressing in and out on the clay to create a three dimensional form from slabs.
Six other artists are detailed which include focuses on coiling, slip casting, majolica, large vessels, underglaze painting, and surface treatments.
There are not a lot of examples of actual Raku fired work, but there few examples, such as a tall vase by Cynthia Bringle (one of the detailed artists) and a prone figure sculpture by Justin Novak (one of the gallery artists).
Overall I think the Penland Book of Ceramics is a good book if you are interested in exploring some new way of working with clay or some new techniques to apply to your current work. It is almost like 10 mini workshops in a book.
This hardcover book is available right now for 30% off at Amazon.com http://tinyurl.com/arhm Remember all purchases made using the links in this newsletter helps support the newsletter and website.
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(c) Copyright 2005, Gary R. Ferguson