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pottery books to collect for the 'beginner" or "been-away-so-darn-long

updated tue 8 feb 05


ilene richardson on mon 7 feb 05


Here's a note for those that are seeking information on learning about
pottery, returning to pottery as I am, learning the do's and don'ts, =
firings, and any other questions you may have. My suggestions are to get =
four books and build your library from there.

My recent acquisitions include:
1. Clay A Studio Handbook, by Vince Pitelka (The book I carry =
everywhere,thorough & complete, more than I ever dreamed of, I love it! =
Thank you, Vince)
2. Practical Solutions for Potters, by Gill Bliss (This covers all =
those "beginner questions" that I have, I love this one too)
3. The Potter's Complete Book of Clay and Glazes, by james Chappell =
(When I finally get to glazes this will be the book to immerse myself =
in, tons of recipes)
4. The Big Book of Ceramics, by Joaquim Chavarria (Wonderful =
step-by-step photos, great book)
5. What Every Potter Should Know, by Jeff Zamek ( Thank you, Wayne =
for the suggestion for this and Chappells book)
6. The Potter's Manual, by Kenneth Clark
7. Hand-Formed Ceramics Creating Form and Surface, by Richard Zakin
8. Handbuilt Ceramics, by Kathy Triplett (good step-by-step photos =
and explanations)

I also bought Sondahl's two video DVD's !!!!!!!!!!! What great =
videos!!!!!!!! You can get them from his website, well worth the money =
the "not-so-accomplished" potter. I keep watching them trying to =
understand how he does it so easily and quickly and perfectly, gosh!

Question: Why so many books? Answer: These are my teachers.
I was unable to get into the ceramics class at the university in town. =
Very disappointed about that.
There are no other classes that I can locate, unless I want to drive two =
hours one way.
I don't know anyone else who does pottery that I can converse with, =
except for those of you at clayart and I know how frustrating and/or =
repetitive beginner questions can be.

Unfortunately, I'm having ankle surgery this Friday to repair a torn =
ligament and a torn tendon and will laid up for six to eight weeks, then =
after that there will still be a long recovery which I imagine four =
weeks of it will not be fun at all, from what I've been told. I'm sure =
by the time May rolls around (yes May is not that far off from now, =
despite the snow) I should be feeling much better. This will provide =
lots of reading material, give me time to have this information soak =
into my brain. Of course as time goes by I will be referring back to =
those books for advice and also to clayart archives. As soon as I can, =
I'm going to be sitting at that wheel learning how to use my left foot =
on the foot pedal and getting familiar with the clay.

I've made a bat, like the Versa-bat that they sell, its 3/4 inch thick =
Medex MDF, with a 1/4 inch cutout six inch square that will accommodate =
masonite/hardboard inserts. It has holes in the underneath to allow the =
bat pins on my wheelhead to sink into the board. I've put four coats of =
varnish on it all and am ready to use it later today. The drying forms =
of clay will take up much less room than a completely 14" round bat, and =
cost is not much at all. less than twenty dollars, that includes =
everything. I can make a zillion six inch square bats to fit in the hole =
for really
cheap and I love the system. (Thank you Cindy in SD for the math and the =

Thank you everyone for your advice and your friendship,