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for the beginner potter - top 5 books to have?

updated wed 4 sep 02


millenial_age on sun 1 sep 02

I would like ya'lls input into what you would consider the top 5
books on pottery and ceramics that you feel are essential for the
beginner potter.

Steven D. Lee

Valerie Johnson on sun 1 sep 02

I'm a newbie, but I keep going back to Clay and Glazes for the Potter by
Daniel Rhodes over and over. It seems to be the book I pull first (out of
the 20 or so I've bought) and is jam packed.

(Even though I'm new, I've been active. Using porcelain and stoneware to
cone 10. My teacher told me that porcelain was too hard for a newbie to use;
I didn't believe her & kept on with it. My first pot was thrown 18 mos ago,
but I've built & fired a wood kiln in my backyard during that time as well).

Valerie Johnson
Eads, Tennessee

Jeff Longtin on sun 1 sep 02


My picks:

1) A Potters Book by Bernard Leach
2) Hamada by Susan Peterson

As these two gentlemen really, are responsible for rebirthing pottery as a
viable career option for those of us of the 20th and 21st century, I think
just out of deference every potters library should contain them.

3) Daniel Rhodes Clay and Glazes for the Potter

Rhodes does a really great job of explaing the history of clay and has great
information on the technical side as well.

4) The Modern Potter (author unknown)

An older book to be sure but one that does a great job of introducing the
great potters that came out of England(?) in the 60's and 70's. Have not
found a book yet that includes such potters as, Lucie Rie, Tony Hepburn,
Gordon Baldwin, Hans Cooper, and the like. Though lacking strong technical
information it does show pots heavy on glaze texture. Very much not
"functional" pottery for the most part.

5) Finding Ones Way with Clay by Paulus Berenshon

Great book! Uses the process of pinching pottery as a metaphor for life. Very
poetic. Really shows the beauty possible with clay and pottery!

Happy Reading!
Jeff Longtin

fyi- I first decided I wanted to become a potter at the age of fifteen or so.
Finding One's Way was one of the first books I found on pottery on our high
schools book shelves. When life was stressing me out I would go into the
library and open up this short little book and just sit in awe of the
beautiful little pots depicted. It used to fill me with amazement to think
our pots, something that we can create, could have that kind of beauty, that
kind of power! Truely remarkable!

WHC228@AOL.COM on sun 1 sep 02

The only book that I keep coming beck to is
The Potters Dictionary by Frank and Janet Hamer
This is a book that you will not outgrow.

iandol on mon 2 sep 02

Dear Steven Lee,

I know this may sound like negative spin.

Don't spend money on books as a beginning potter. Spend it on clay and =
other materials or put it towards your own kiln.

In the mean time, raid your local library and devour every book you can =
lay your hands on. Go modern, Try Ron and John's book on cone 6 glazes, =
Vince's book on Studio work. Look for first editions of Leach, Cardew. =
If you have a technical bent, Singer and Singer. If Science, Kingery et =
al or Kingery and Vandiver. Stick to the classics. All else tends to be =

Enjoy clay first. Read later in the day.

Best regards,

Ivor Lewis.

Omar Greeman on tue 3 sep 02

Mr. Lee,

In response to your post with regard to books for the aspiring potter. One
is sufficient. Pottery Workshop by Charles Counts. It has been out of print
for decades now, but can be acquired through a book store or internet
auction. First ask for it at your library. I'm sure you will want to buy

Best regards
O. Leslie Greeman

Valerie Hawkins on tue 3 sep 02

As a beginning potter, I've found books invaluable to my progress. My
recommendations are:

Vince Pitelka's 'Clay, a Studio Handbook' - The BEST (in my opinion)
general information studio handbook covering virtually every aspect of
pottery craft. This is my favorite general reference book.

Rhodes/Hopper 'Clay and Glazes for the Potter' - This is the second most
used book in my studio.

Robin Hopper - Functional Pottery - another one that I go back to

Also - Ron and Jon's Glaze book (Mastering Cone 6 Glazes) and The Potter's
Dictionary of Shape and form.

Books that were tremendously helpful, but which I outgrew quickly - any
books on throwing techniques, Mark Burleson's glaze book (can't remember the
name) is a terriffic introduction to glaze technology for the absolute

Good Luck!

Valerie Hawkins

-----Original Message-----
From: Ceramic Arts Discussion List [mailto:CLAYART@LSV.CERAMICS.ORG]On
Behalf Of millenial_age
Sent: Sunday, September 01, 2002 6:57 AM
Subject: For the Beginner Potter - Top 5 Books to Have?

I would like ya'lls input into what you would consider the top 5
books on pottery and ceramics that you feel are essential for the
beginner potter.

Steven D. Lee

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