issue 6

Articles & Reviews


Book Review by Gerry Williams


Naked Clay: Ceramics Without Glazes

by Jane Perryman

182 pages
ISBN 0-8122-3848-6
A&C Black

There is always a beginning. In the beginning, therefore, there was only earth. Only clay. Only naked clay.

Jane Perryman's fine new book, Naked Clay: Ceramics Without Glazes, introduces us to the validity of using clay by itself as a medium of artistic expression, without clothing it in glaze. And in its pages we meet ceramic artists who work in this manner without glazes.

In a field obsessed with the technology of covering the pot with glazes for purposes of color, decoration or utility, the suggestion that this may not be necessary or even desirable may strike some as apostasy. Most of us working in ceramics now are rooted in the technology based on the Bernard Leach and the European tradition, as well as that of Chinese and Japanese aesthetics. Yet Jane Perryman makes a strong case for the integration between form and the unglazed surface that allows the clay to breathe and absorb light in an entirely natural way.

In her book Perryman deals with four aspects of clay without glaze: 1. Clay with surface pigment; 2. Clay marked by fire; 3. Pure clay; and 4. Clay with additions. She brings to her book the works and words of forty-four ceramic artists from around the world whose work lies within these categories. Many of them she visited, interviewed and photographed in person. They provide a wide selection of personal and cultural interests for those looking for new directions in clay art.

Among the ceramicists described are: Elizabeth Fritsch, an English artist, whose elegant dry-matt surfaces extend the volumes of her vessels by a vocabulary inspired by music; Yo Akiyama, a Japanese ceramist who draws his inspiration from the natural rock strata, among other things; Lawson Oyekan, whose work 'in the flesh' has a forceful presence impossible to ignore, and whose work is built up in 'families' by overlapping sections of soft clay without slip or water, and into which a knife is thrust and twisted to represent sharp jabs of experience; Thomas Hoadley, an American nerikomi artist, creating handmade bowls into which are inserted slabs of clay made from patterned clay pressed into a plaster mold and combined like patches of fabric on an Amish quilt; Elspeth Owen, from the UK, whose subtle bowl forms are enhanced by the use of oxides and colored slips on their outsides and then fired in salt; and Dorothy Feibleman, from the UK, who adds chemicals to laminated clay which causes them to produce black, wavy lines as the piece expands during the firing.

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Gender, Pottery Technology and Development Projects

by Moira Vincentelli

Modern English Potters

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Obituary: Alan Barrett Danes

by Jeffrey Jones

Dear Mr Leach... Some Thoughts on Ceramics

book review by Steven Goldate

Naked Clay: Ceramics Without Glazes

by Jane Perryman, book review by Gerry Williams

The Mouldmaker's Handbook

by Jean-Pierre Delpech and Marc-Andre Figueres, book reviews by Caroline Taylor and Paul Gunning


by Michael Hardy, book reviews by Paul Gunning and Sarah Hillman

Micheal Casson
Special Suppliment
Book Reviews • Issue 6