Articles & Reviews
Reviews by Paul Gunning and Sarah Hillman
by Michael Hardy
Review 1 by Paul Gunning
This book is a ground level guide to a wide range of techniques which also seeks to inspire those just starting with the aesthetic possibilities of handbuilding.
The early chapters, covering pinching, coiling, slab building and press moulding will no doubt be familiar territory to anyone who has taken basic pottery short courses or evening classes and these sections would probably work well in consolidating knowledge gained on such courses.
The chapters covering press moulding and slip casting are more likely to be new ground for novice potters and provide a good grounding. Possibilities are also extended by processes such as laminating clays and using mixed media.
The book is well illustrated in full colour both in terms of techniques and equally importantly with examples of work by ceramists (Ewen Henderson, Kate Malone, Mo Jupp and many more). Such images reinforce both the breadth of possibilities of handbuilding and also its status as a serious discipline in its own right as opposed to a poor substitute for the 'serious' business of throwing.
There is a wide ranging bibliography and a list of suppliers for UK, North America, Australia and New Zealand.
Review 2 by Sarah Hillman
As part of the series of Ceramics Handbooks by A&C Black, this book gives a sound overview of hand building, its history, contemporaries and a well-documented range of techniques. Aimed at the beginner or practitioner looking to explore a new area, it serves as an excellent introduction to the subject.
Beginning with an historical background, the book looks at the origins of hand building giving a down to earth foundation to the topic. This is followed with a brief chapter on the technical properties of clay as a medium, then a checklist chapter of pointers for getting started. Most of this is geared towards those starting out, however it provides an interesting introduction whilst bringing to light the advantages of hand building perhaps a little overlooked in recent years. In considering the scope within hand building as a chosen method of construction this gives support to all styles of working from conceptual work to functional ware, tradition and sculpture.
Each chapter gives a clear step by step guide to processes of pinching, coiling, slab building and press moulding. The text is clear and concise giving a 'how to' approach illustrated with excellent illustrations of both the process and relevant examples of contemporary ceramics. Hardy covers important technical points much like many of the books in the Ceramics Handbooks series, allowing easy navigation through each technique and the reference to professional makers easily accessible. Each technique is contextualised with contemporary makers describing their individual approaches to the subject,. This gives a range of scope for the reader to explore and realise new and perhaps unconventional ideas. A chapter dedicated to combing techniques brings to light the vast amount of development possible through such exploration, looking at contemporaries such as Gillian Lowndes, Ewen Henderson, John Berry and Paul Astbury. At the end of the book there is also a glossary of terms and a handy list of suppliers.The book provides a concise guide covering an even range of technical, visual and historical aspects of hand building techniques, whilst giving a modern overview of innovative ceramics.
|Book Reviews Issue 6|