Chinese Sherds

Passing on Technique

adminhhBlog, Technique 2 Comments


Why focus on the technical side of a ceramics studio? For the longest time, I have known that in order to actually create the objects I can imagine, I will need the tools to get the job done. The tools lie asleep in thousands of years of making traditional objects.

The move away from traditional ceramic knowledge has been gradual, and persistent, because in most University ceramic programs, Fine Art rules. The result of this is about 50 years of graduating students that have very little traditional technical knowledge of the most basic kind. Most, when they think of clay, will think of a square box with something soft inside. Most will buy kilns and the tools, and most will be limited by what they did not learn in University.

So I will share what has gone on in my studio with whoever wants to look. There will be no secrets. All of the information is the direct result of a mistake, an accident, or a need to find answers to questions that impeded my creativity. I am lucky, in that I had good teachers in my art school, so I got off to a good start. While they might not recognize their contribution now, the ideas and approaches were instigated a long time ago. I was taught to respect traditional wares, and to not reproduce them. I tried.

In my search for ceramic knowledge, I read as much as I could about all things Asian, and found remarkable common sense solutions. I also had the privilege to visit Korea, and China and see for myself, what smart potters did to make good work possible. I also had the privilege of seeing marvelous ceramics museums in Europe, and seeing the inside of the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres in Paris.

glaze tests

In other words, I had help. Now it is my turn…good luck, and let me know how it goes.

Please have a look at the first of my technical pages on how to prepare cone 14 clay body and slip.

Comments 2

  1. This is a wonderful addition to your web site. That you are kind and generous enough to share your technical “secrets” comes as no surprise. Same as with sharing your garlic and your giving Maureen credit for the quality of life you both lead. And no surprise as it’s all there, reflected in your work.

    Makes me remember a bit in the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, something to the effect that if you want to paint a perfect painting, become a perfect person and then paint naturally. I’d say you’re there.

  2. I have no art school training . . . I learned from youtube from a classical potter, Simon Leach whom I met at a clay syposium many years later, and told him of how I got to where I am by his generous gift of techniques via the internet . . . my potter supports me after 6 years of very hard work . . . while I may have inate talent, it is through hard labour and many hours of dedication and work that I am where I am . . . I want nothing else but my love of clay, and I think it shows in my customers faces . . . I have literally taught myself through love and perseverence . . . and I have made people happy because of that . . . I can’t wait to see what the next 6 years have in store

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