Ceramic Art: Innovative Techniques

When it comes to innovation, ceramic artists rank at the top. What is it about clay that brings out the creative spirit in us? Unlike a canvas to be painted or a stone to be carved, clay presents unlimited possibilities. You can shape it, throw it, pour it, carve it, stamp it, paint it—anything. It’s the most versatile of mediums...(Scroll for more.)



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Softcover | 144 Pages
Order code B074 | ISBN 978-1-57498-299-2

…For creative artists choosing clay, there’s no telling what the results will be. In this collection of techniques, profiles and projects, more than 25 innovative artists explore some of the vast possibilities clay has to offer. From Amy Santoferraro’s Plate-O-Matic and Shuji Ikeda’s elegant woven baskets to using clay as a canvas, there’s no end to the possibilities.

Ceramic Art: Innovative Techniques touches on the many creative things you can do with clay. During any stage of forming, decorating or firing, infinite variables allow you to explore and expand the many creative opportunities clay has to offer. Discover some of the things that thousands of potters around the world do in this wonderful medium.

Although it’s a technique that’s been around for awhile, Mike Baum has mastered the technique for making Squared Casseroles. If you’re curious about combining thrown parts to slabs, you’ll appreciate the detailed step-by-step Mike offers.

Amy Santoferraro has fun making molded ware and she refers to her technique as the Plate-O-Matic. Using her skills as a printmaker, she expertly silk screens images in underglazes onto slabs then forms the clay to the mold by pushing it against foam rubber. She does what?

North Carolina potter Gillian Parke has a passion for finding harmony in what might appear contradictory. With clay containing Feldspar Inclusions she merges English porcelain and Japanese Shigaraki traditions with her mix of wood firing, decals and lusters

It’s one thing to be inspired by something. It’s another to actually realize your vision. Greensboro, North Carolina, potter Charlie Tefft once shared a studio with a family of Carolina wrens. He pays homage to those wrens through the pitchers he makes. Takeshi Yasuda works to achieve a mellow fluid liquidity. To express the clay’s dynamic, he throws Upside Down Porcelain by first throwing tall cylinders that he allows to collapse then suspending them upside down. Ray Bub liked the idea of creating something new by taking apart and putting together. And with his Reassembled Ring Teapots he achieves the effect by creating teapots like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

Don Hall began pottery by learning on the wheel. After many years, he got involved in handbuilding and discovered many techniques including one for making Multi-sided Forms. His simple step-by-step makes it possible to innovate any number of sides.

From something as simple as super-sized balloons from a local party supplier or flower shop, you can start The Making of a Sphere. Ursula Goebels-Ellis finds her slab-built spherical sculptures capable of expressing any message.

Shuji Ikeda constructs elegant flower arranging vases by borrowing from another medium and Weaving Clay. Using the natural character of the clay, he masters the way the clay rolls, twists, breaks and bends.

Daryl Baird sees at least one opportunity with the current credit crisis. His innovative Credit Card Dies are both easy to make and use. His address sign project illustrates how you can combine dies for even more creative effects. While we’re still at the dawn of the 21st century, have you wondered where pottery making will go in the next lifetime? For a glimpse, maybe The Printed Pot from a computer file will be the standard in 90 years and join the wheel and slab roller as a major pottery tool. Combining Clay and Light brings the earthiness of clay together with radiant light. Grace Nickel makes wall sconces with clay and glass and manipulates the best qualities of both to create innovative lighting effects. Every potter knows you can make thin pieces from porcelain, but one-twentieth of an inch thick? That’s exactly what Phil Cornelius does when he makes Porcelain Thinware—kind of like “pottery lite.”

Burnishing and Pitfiring are ancient Native American techniques. After Michael Wisner thoroughly mastered the traditional pottery making methods, he adapted the techniques to commercially available ceramics products.

Jane Perryman discovered her Form, Pattern and Smoke techniques while traveling through India. After many visits to a pottery village, she became inspired by the materials and techniques used by the kumhars (or pottery caste) for centuries.

Making large clay panels presents many challenges for developing a clay body, glazing, firing and mounting. In Anne Macaire’s large clay panels of Animal Tracks, she’s evolved a process that works well and allows her time to concentrate on each phase. Linhong Li and Thomas Orr are both painters using clay as a canvas. Li’s Slab Paintings breaks with traditional ceramics and painting and combines both. Orr builds up many layers of slips and glazes to create abstract textured Ceramic Paintings.

While Orr and Li rely on flat surfaces for their canvases, Regina Heinz creates an Interactive Canvas that’s more dimensional where she can rely on the interaction of glaze, stain, clay, texture and contour for her work.

Emily Rossheim developed a signature line of pottery bowls over the years that epitomize Color and Form. Taking design cues from a clean, minimalist aesthetic, her simple forms and saturated colors engage the audience on an emotional level.

Joseph Godwin developed a palette of porcelain slip glaze inspired by his psychological portraits of wet landscapes.

Porcelain Slip Glaze has become a process he uses to transform clay and glaze into color expression.

Water-soluble metal slats are often compared to watercolors in both application and decoration. Diane Chin Lui’s Salts of the Earth provides a basic understanding of the excellent technical skills and careful attention to details this challenging technique requires.

Joyce Jablonski uses Layered Surfaces with Decals using a process she learned in a porcelain factory in Norway. Jablonski is thoroughly engaged by natural shapes and forms, which are enhanced by her layers of color, stencil and decal work.

Richard Burkett loves what happens when using grains and seeds as Organic Burnout Material in a clay body. The various textures from different types of grain add an innovative touch to your pottery that will have friends wondering what you did.

Amy Lemaire uses Glass As Glaze by adding glass beads to the surfaces of her work. Working as a potter, she makes and
bisque fires pieces then high fires them in a soda-glaze high fire kiln. A third firing to a very low temperature is where she adds glass beads.

Elaine Parks works from the inside out with her Perfect Perforation. Laying slabs of clay on a piece of foam, she pokes holes in the inside surface. Her work balances a primitive roughness with the polish of conceptual art.

Two heads are better than one and that’s certainly true of the collaboration of Shoko Teruyama and Matt Kelleher. While both have parameters they abide by in their own work, the benefit of collaboration is a release from some of them.

From the Preface

Defining innovation is a lot like defining success. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to generate a wholly unique approach to making. More often, innovation happens incrementally and in subtle ways. In general the innovator is only recognized after a lengthy time of testing that proves her or his skills as a maker. Further, like success, innovation is subjective. Because we who work in clay use a material that is literally as old as the hills, and humanity has been using clay for as long as it’s been humanity, our innovations have been piling up for a long, long time. Some of the most exciting pots to look at are ancient Japanese pottery that can be traced to the Jomon period, which dates from 10000BCE to 300BCE. They’re made using basic tools, but are anything but basic and really prove that–at least in our world of clay–innovation can happen without computers, or “new” technology, rather it can come from an intense understanding of the materials one has at hand. Understanding your materials and their limits is always innovative. The information contained in this book works more like a deciphering tool than a glimpse at something new. While some information may be fresh to you, the reader, all of the information here has been put to the test and has some real world application. However, I would argue that there is still excitement and real innovation happening with each one of these artists. Perhaps most importantly it’s through the research these artists have done and their willingness to share that helps you learn something interesting to inform your own work. Art is research and, just like any science, this book is an exciting glimpse at some of what today’s artists are doing. –Anderson Turner

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