Adam Field Shows How to Make a Lid Extraordinary

Turn an ordinary lid into an extraordinary one!

How to Make a Lid

If there is one thing I have learned from making DVDs with uber-talented artists over the last couple of years, it’s to pay attention to all the details. The details make all the difference in the world.

Adam Field could stop with his intricately carved surfaces and he would have gorgeous pots, but he chooses to go even further and consider every additional detail from the lids to the feet. And the pots go from gorgeous to exquisite. In today’s clip, an excerpt from his fantastic DVD Precision Throwing and Intricate Carving, he demonstrates one such detail (on one of the coolest lids I’ve seen!).- Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.

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Adam Field’s influences

How to Make a LidWhile living in Maui, Adam Field was inspired by the symbolic patterns on Hawaiian tapa cloth, but he also looked at Zulu basketry and was excited by quipus: Inca messages tied in patterns of knotted cords in a base-ten positional system. While he describes his success at creating a similar symbolic system as more modest, his own pattern language references the rhythms in those artifacts. As he carves patterns depicting the kinds of flowers that surrounded him in Maui, he is not intentionally creating a narrative, but perhaps through the repetition he is recording his own history.

Both the forms of his work and the celadon glazes that he applies to their surfaces allude to Korean and Chinese wares. Though his five-pointed dimple cup form was inspired by the over-ripe guava fruits he found in the jungle in Maui, it also echoes the aesthetics of historical work. Most of his glazes, on the other hand, are well-known contemporary recipes that he has honed and tweaked. By changing colorants or cooling speed he has pushed them to suit his own work.

See the rest of this article on Adam Field’s work and influences in the September 2015 issue of Ceramics Monthly.

Want more? Learn how to throw tall forms on the pottery wheel, or brush up on how form and function go hand-in-hand.

To learn more about Adam Field or to see more images of his work, please visit

**First published in 2016.
  • Ceramics Enthusiast S.

    Curious why the hollow knob? It’s cool but seems like more work. I guess it allows for a larger knob visually without the added weight? I do like the way you vent the space. Sticking the needle in at an angle creates another visual element much more attractive than just a hole.

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