Ceramics and Architecture
I’m registered to take my Part 3 exams to qualify as a Chartered Architect later this year, and in traditional student style I’ve been reading a lot of books. Pottery books!
The Tile by Kenneth Clark is a fantastic book all about different tiles throughout history, different types of deoration, methods of making with detailed technical diagrams, glazes and just about anything you’d need to know. The photos are fantastic, with different inspirational pieces such as single tiles decorated with slip, glaze, stencils, stamps, resists, then pressed tiles made from moulds of all types. There are plenty of photos of murals, some of the examples from the Middle East are just mind blowing. You can easily specialise in tile making and spend your whole life honing one type that you love – I worry that will happen to me, I love the functionality and beauty of a good tile!
The Potter’s Book of Glaze Recipes by Cooper is just too much! A technical book of over 450 glazes, organised into earthenware/stoneware then further into temperature catagories, I’ve been poring over this for a week looking for the perfect palette for my new venture into animal moulds. I’m going to scan some of these in, as I have a llibrary copy, but may have to scan in the whole book!
A Potter’s Book by Bernard Leach was noted in another book I read as the bible for craft potters, as Leach and his family are basically the founders of the ‘modern’ craft potter movement. I’m not sure I like being part of a movement as such, and I can’t say I’ve finished reading this yet, it’s very wordy and quite philosophical. Leach is certainly inspirational, having learned a lot about Japanese pottery in his travels, but i find that quite intimidating! Some of his observations about proportion of head, body and foot of vessels is a bit too technical for me. Maybe those who work on a wheel would understand all that, but I can’t see what he calls ‘malformed’ pots, they all look pretty good to my eye!
Then I thought I’d better do some actual work, so started reading the advice in Part 3 Handbook published by RIBA. The advice was so good and comprehensive that I felt that ten minutes of studying was enough. Highly recommended! [the book, not my academic studying method.]