Tom Turner: Understanding Porcelain 1

Of all clay, porcelain is undoubtedly the most difficult to work with. Because of its fine grain size, special care must be taken when working with it from the time you take it out of storage until you remove it from the final firing. In this DVD, master potter and porcelain expert Tom Turner...(Scroll for more.)



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Runtime: 1 hour 43 minutes

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…imparts a wealth of information about how to work with this material for throwing and decorating prior to bisque firing. And although Tom focuses porcelain, most of his techniques are far reaching and apply to anyone who wants to improve their skills.

Sharing experience

Tom got involved in clay back in high school when he was looking for an easy grade. Little did he know then what a life-changing event that would be and how absorbing his pursuit of clay would become. Through the years he’s set up five pottery studios and explored more facets of clay than most of us could ever imagine. He brings years of knowledge to the wheel as explores porcelain and all the possibilities it has to offer, and he provides you with sound advice on how you can succeed as well in any clay.

Learning is in the details

The primary focus of Tom’s teaching style is that if you pay attention to the details at every step in the ceramic process, your results will be successful. Instead of just wedging, throwing, trimming and decorating without direction, you’ll see the benefits of understanding how your vision of the finished piece is influenced by every thing you do along the way. Wedging properly eliminates cracks, using less water prevents deformation or collapse, adding sprigs or making marks requires a certain amount of timing, and trimming is more than just removing excess clay it’s just as involved as any other aspect.

What you’ll learn

In this video, Tom takes you through the forming and decorating stages while reserving glazing and firing for the second video. In this video, he demonstrates how to prepare the canvas, that is, how to create the best pot possible for glazing and firing. To do this, you need to begin with the end in mind, and, as you watch each demonstration, you’ll have a better feel for what you want to accomplish. Tom demonstrates throwing techniques, making stamps and paddles that are unique, how to define glaze lines, trimming, lids that are a whole work of art by themselves and much more. By constantly asking the question of What can I do to totally enhance the surface, Tom constantly seeks to discover what it is he doesn’t want because that narrows the focus on what he does want.

About Tom

Tom received his undergraduate degree in Art from Illinois State University in 1968. He taught crafts while in the Army and then was asked to establish a ceramic art program for the College of Architecture at Clemson University. He did so in 1971 and taught there until 1976 when he resigned to work full time in his studio. He received his M.F.A at Clemson in 1973, moved to Florida in 1979, moved in 1982 to Medina, Ohio, moved to Delaware, Ohio in 1986 and moved to Mars Hill, North Carolina in 2005. He has worked with high fired porcelain for over 35 years. He has taught at the leading craft schools in the country such as Penland, Arrowmont, The Archie Bray Foundation and has conducted workshops in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Georgia, Pennsylvania, North and South Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, Washington D.C., Oregon, California, Colorado, Texas, New Jersey and Michigan (over 125 in all). He has been visiting artist at Illinois State University and The Ohio State University.

Major shows include Young Americans 1969, which toured the U.S.; the Marietta Crafts National 1974,1977,1981; The 33rd Scripps College Invitational; Functional Ceramics at Wooster, Ohio 1978,1981,1983; 35 Artists of The Southeast, which toured for two years; New Directions: Fiber and Clay, touring for three years; 20 American Potters, which toured the world and became collections of American Embassies; The Emergence of a New Tradition: American Porcelain, at The Hand and Spirit Gallery; and American Porcelain: New Expressions in an Ancient Art, shown at the Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, and then toured the United States and the world. The Covered Jar in the exhibition is part of the National Collection of Fine Arts. He has also exhibited in over 150 invitationals and over 50 juried shows.

His work has appeared in Craft Horizons, American Craft, Ceramics Monthly, Studio Potter, The Washingtonian, House Beautiful, Southern Living, Ceramica (Spain), Ceramic Review (England) and in numerous books.

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