Cover Image: Ceramics Masterclass

Ceramics Masterclass

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Member Reviews

Since pottery became hip and cool once more, there is an increasing number of “coffee table books” on the subject being published. With very few exceptions, they share a common flaw: They have an identity crisis. Are they teaching guides or merely collections of pretty images with a more or less trivial blurb? With a title like “Ceramics Masterclass”, I had certainly hoped for the former, alas...
Wanting to cover the vast field of pottery basics and combining it with intricate detail of ceramics mastery is almost certainly doomed to fail.
After 47 pages of basics (too little/overwhelming for the beginner and yawn-inducing for intermediate and advanced potters), the main body of the book is divided into chapters on vessels, decorative, functional, figurative, conceptual and installation pieces. All very logical and tidy with images of work by the usual suspects, erm...”famous” potters. A “Top [insert number] Potters” list will always be highly subjective, but it is slightly disappointing that almost all the potters listed are from/working in English-speaking countries. The lean towards Leach is overpowering. The bios of the individual potters were interesting, a postage-size portrait would have been welcome rather than the (nicely-researched but ultimately pointless) cross-referencing.
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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a preview of this title. It was great to see a pottery book that goes beyond functional items. Lots of inspiration for myself and all the other potters in my community here!
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This will be an inspirational book for ceramics artists and potters looking to expand their craft. Taylor uses famous ceramics artists and their work to demonstrate different techniques, finishes, composition, etc. This is not a book for beginning pottery students--it's a little intimidating for a novice--but put this in the hands of anyone who's already working in ceramics, and their eyes will light up. Beautiful layout as an art book, too, even if you're not an artist.
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Date reviewed: August 4, 2020

When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is closed and you are continuing to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation,  superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. And it is way too hot to go outside, so why not sit in from of the blasting a/c and read and review books??  BTW - stay home and save lives!!!!!!!! No tan is worth dying for.

I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review.  

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.

Ceramics Masterclass examines 100 great pieces of ceramics from history and explores how they were made, what they do well and what we can learn from them. 

The subject of ceramics is steeped in history and tradition. For thousands of years, humans have exploited the versatile qualities of clay as a material to produce items ranging from humble utilitarian vessels, right through to exquisite works of art. Louisa Taylor explores this diverse discipline by showcasing 100 of the most innovative and inspiring artists past and present, analyzing the techniques and methods used to create the works and the concepts which underpin their creative process. The book shows how to recreate intricate still-life dioramas like fifteenth-century artist Bernard Palissy, explore narrative like Grayson Perry and convey sensitivity to material like Phoebe Cummings. 

Arranged thematically, Ceramics Masterclass will include chapters on vessels, decorative pieces, function, figurative works, conceptual pieces and installations.

Explores the artistic process, methodology and techniques of 100 great artists In-depth ceramic techniques section covering skills integral to working with clay.  Includes historical and contemporary examples Represents a global perspective of the field, including dynamic and ground-breaking approaches to clay  Perfect for students, amateurs and professionals, this book will represent a global perspective of historical and contemporary approaches to clay and be a catalyst for discovery and intrigue. 

Although I do not do ceramics, I can certainly appreciate this book as it is stunning. I paint and I did learn some great dripping techniques that I can use as I am an abstract impressionist.  It was arranged well and each section was explained in detail that even I could understand. I imagine that every ceramicist will want this book on their shelf - to me, it is just perfect.
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Ceramics Masterclass is a style guide for ceramic artists written and curated by Louisa Taylor. Due out 11th Aug 2020 from Quarto on their Frances Lincoln imprint, it's 288 pages and will be available in flexibound softcover format.

The book is well laid out and beautifully illustrated. The introduction includes a number of informative subchapters on clay composition, testing materials, experimentation and discovery, techniques, and firing. Each of the following chapters contains a thematically cohesive collection of artist highlights (beautifully photographed): vessel, decorative, function, figurative, conceptual, and installation. There are so many of the entries which are completely mesmerizing. Literally pushing the envelope of what is even *possible* with the medium. The pieces are accompanied by artist's statements and background info which I found fascinating.

This is a lavishly illustrated reference for potters which will make a valuable addition to the well stocked studio library. It would be a superlative selection for a makers space or collective as well. The author has included numerous recipes and formulations for glazes, clay information, references, glossary, and an exhaustive cross referenced index. This would also make a wonderful text for formal classroom use.

Five stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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Thank you Net Galley, White Lion Publishing and Louisa Taylor for my ARC.

As a 20-year on/off ceramicist (my major as an art student), and avid collector of ceramic and ceramic-related books, I can honestly say this was an excellent and enjoyable read. Well-researched, lovely photography and concise, many of my favourites were there. 

I love the fact that the book was broken up into subjects, and each category featured artists that the author felt excelled in that particular area of the craft. There is also a solid foundation on the basics, the tools used for wheel-throwing as well as hand-building, the different firing methods, the ins and outs of how to do specific things, such as cross-hatching when coiling to ensure a strong join. 

I did miss the inclusion of more up and coming contemporary artists, such as Louise Gelderblom and Catherine Brennon, but otherwise a wonderful read and the perfect gift for any ceramic aficionado. I certainly will buy a hard copy to add to my collection!
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This book starts of by giving a very informative insight to ceramics and the process of producing lovely vessels. 
This is followed by a large pages of fabulous ceramic artist who talk about their technique and art. These are very beautifully photographs and the artist are many and varied. They are divided into chapters of Vessels, Decoration, Function. Figurative, Conceptual and Insulations. As a potter I find these works astounding and extremely inspirational and I would encourage anyone interested in the art to read this book
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I liked this book, though wished it had more illustrations. The book description made it sound like it would be more in depth. It’s more of a primer than a MasterClass.

Thanks to NetGalley for an Arc in exchange for an honest review.
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