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QothW: If you could only have one ceramics book what would it be and why?

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Min recently asked a very disconcerting question for me. . . . . 

 So, my question would be, if you could only have one ceramics book what would it be and why? (plus, I’m curious what Pres would choose).

Believe it or not, I have thought about this often, in several contexts. You may know that I read a lot of ceramics books, and own many, although Marcia has probably disposed of more that I have ever owned. What you probably don't know is that I am a very avid reader of all sorts of fiction/science fiction/fantasy. So this question has come up often in my mind. I really don't know as I could go with only one. The reasons for only one book would also have to be considered.

If my home were on fire, and I had time to pick up only one book, I would probably pick up a 3 ring binder that sits on a shelf with my books. It is magic markered with Glaze Compendium. and is a collection of all of the glaze recipes I have scrapped up from years of Ceramics Monthly, Pottery Making, Clay times, and many others along with recopied ones from probably every book I have ever read on ceramics. I figure with that, I can survive. The other item I would pick up in a hurry would be my current tablet that has many of the fictional books I have read, some 3 and four times on it. Still consider that a book.

If having a catastrophic event, like a Yellowstone eruption, I would pick up Michael Cardew's, Primitive Potter, or some other book of which I have a few that are about building a studio from. . . junk, old cars, old machinery and other things.

 

This is a really tough question, one that brings all sorts of other questions to the surface, some of which I hope I never have to answer, let alone ask.

 

best,

Pres

 
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I don’t have an extensive collection but I think I’ve read every book in several libraries and had many ordered in from them. Out of my books I would choose The Potter’s Dictionary of Materials and Techniques by Frank Hamer. (I have the first printing edition from 1975, bought used from a library book sale.)  I would love to hear if someone feels there is a more comprehensive reference book. I had thought of my glaze notebook(s) but all my recipes, with notes, are now duplicated on my computer so I think I’ll stick with my original choice.   

Thanks for posing my question Pres.

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That is one of the ones at the top of my list. However, right now I can't find it!!!! I have packed much of my collection away to the attic as we hope to soon renovate the library, spare guest room.

 

 

best,

Pres

 

Found it this morning, while looking for another book for this week PQotW. woooo hooo!

Edited by Pres
added about missing book

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This is a great question, looking forward to the answers!

I love reading but when it comes to pottery, I like following potters online or looking through magazine to be exposed to new content as much as possible. Especially to read about exhibition and what is happening in the contemporary world of ceramics

As for techniques, I prefer to learn them first hand from someone as a book with pictures can't always convey all the subtleties. 

I have tried several times to read books on the history of ceramics but often found the writing style to be very academic and somewhat heavy. 

So I guess I can't really answer this one ^^

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My all-time favorite, which I have been lugging around through thick and thin, is Glenn C.Nelson's Ceramics: a potter's handbook. 4th edition, 1978, Holt, Rinehart and Winston.  I read every word, many times over, and spent hours and hours, repeated for years and years, enjoying and studying the work displayed and the illustrations.  It kept me from losing interest, losing heart, losing motivation, losing hope when life-on-life's-terms demanded that I do other than make art or put my hands to clay. The book has EVERYTHING I could possibly want. Nelson writes in the preface that he has  "...attempted to show the continuity of the craft from its origins to the present. Rather than isolating historical works in a special section, I have included with the explanation of each forming and decorating technique examples of the best work from different eras. " He does this so well that I "got it", and knew that no matter how long  it might take, I would be part of that world someday, however peripherally.

Mostly, it is my favorite book because it was--and remains--the inspirational catalyst that  helps me to internalize that I really can make my own way , with clay, and with my own creative process.  I still go through my book and look at Ruth Duckworth's Clouds over Chicago, or a piece done with thixotropic porcelain, or the wonderful holes in a Voulkos plate, and, a piece that still amazes me, Dick Evans' Astral Dream #26.

  20171002_203227--.jpg.bfb76600aee1c70eb38734f0d55557e1.jpg

Marcia Selsor and Min like this

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too hard, but before this forum, Hamer and Hamer but some really inspiational other books I keep returning to.

I say before this forum because I am isolated and H & H answers a lot of my questions.

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