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virtual pottery book

updated fri 31 may 96


Kent Van Cleave on sat 4 may 96

I have been reading and occasionally contributing to the flow on this
discussion list since about January, and I am continually impressed by the
down to earth wisdom people are so willing to share with one another:
techniques, clays, technical matters related to kilns and other equipment,
glazes, esthetics, practical business tips, and on and on. I have a
proposal for the discussion group: Let's put a virtual book together. Here
is how I propose we go about it.

First, the Ceramic Arts Discussion List Managers (or someone else) need to
agree to provide space for the product.

Next, the list members nominate knowledgable people to edit the book,
themselves if they like. The editors need to be on the list or to join it
for this purpose.

At the same time, the discussion group should also nominate sections for
this "book". By a process of nomination and iteration, editors can assign
themselves to particular sections, perhaps in areas they know the most about
or have the most interest in, perhaps in an area where they would like to
learn more themselves. (It has been said that if you would learn a subject
really well you must first teach it; editing a section could have the same

After the sections have been declared and editors assigned to them, list
members would be encouraged to send text to the editors for inclusion in
their particular sections. Authors would be credited in an appendix.

In this manner, we might have 100 contributors of glaze recipes, 25
contributors of glazing techniques, and so on. The editors would combine
all of these materials and post them on the ceramics web page for review.
Anyone would be free to review works in progress and offer comments and
additional materials to the editor.

A section would be declared completed after its editor (or editors) have
declared it complete AND after the editor of another section has also
declared it complete. The book would be declared complete after all of the
sections have been judged complete and the editors all agree that everything
needing inclusion has been.

Like a traditional book, this one would be subject to revision. Unlike a
traditional book, this one could evolve continually. Perhaps we would need
to put version numbers on the chapters.

I am not an expert in any area of clay/pottery/ceramics. But I would be
willing to serve as a coordinator.

-- Kent Van Cleave
(In Mascot Tennessee, near Knoxville, with blueberry bushes and
whippoorwills in the back yard.)

Susan Wagener on sat 4 may 96

Here's a vote for this book! Being a behind the scenes reader of this list and
new to the pottery field, I would relish such a tool to be able to use. I used
to try to print the messages and keep them in my own notebook under the
different subjects but it became huge! Yet I would like to refer back to all
the advice given on this list. It's my understanding the archives aren't
available so I was trying to create my own in an organized way. I've checked
out all the books that are available at our local library and they are very old.
I've purchased a few books and they are quite expensive but I read them
extensively for ideas and to learn more about this field. I don't know if I
would be of any help with this project but you can put my name on the list if
you want to.

Susan Wagener
Bloomington, Indiana

Where it's still raining...another 2 inches in the last 24 hours to make our
total 12 inches in the last 2 weeks!

Richard Burkett on sat 4 may 96

That's an interesting proposal, that of a Virtual Pottery Book, and not
entirely unlike what I envisioned when I started the Ceramics Gopher (the
precursor to the CeramicsWeb pages). I have found that while it's a wonderful
idea, the people who would be most valuable to have as contributors are also
the most busy and often the MOST unlikely to contribute! While this is not
always the case (or a lot of the information on the CeramicsWeb wouldn't be
there!), it is in a more general sense. As more and more ceramics faculty get
their class materials and handouts on computers, this should make submissions
easier to do. Converting it all to hypertext (the format of the WWW) is not a
small task, either, but should be easier as more software to automate this
process becomes available.

Another potential problem that I've had to deal with running the ceramics
gopher with is that of the occasional person who seems to be the most willing
to contribute but offers ONLY unreliable and largely inaccurate information.
Thankfully this type of person is not that common in the ceramics world.
However, some very strict control of editing of the project would be needed!
This might be a somewhat monumental task for a couple of people to do for

I do still hope that the CeramicsWeb pages will grow in a slow but sustained
manner to encompass what you propose. I don't look for it to happen quickly.

Let me know if you have further thoughts on this.


Richard Burkett - CeramicsWeb coordinator
School of Art, Design, & Art History, SDSU, San Diego, CA 92182
E-mail: <-> Voice mail: (619) 594-6201

Lisa Skeen on mon 6 may 96

I second that emotion!!!! I'd help if someone would point me in the right
direction. I'm really good with grammar and spelling and punctuation and all
that sort of stuff.