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Do You Use Reflecting On Historical Work To Improve Your Own Work? How Do You Do It? Think Function Or Form?

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#1 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 08:01 AM

 Do you use reflecting on historical work to improve your own work? How do you do it? Think function or form?


For example, when I was teaching I kept a book, an  International catalogue on cooking on the bookshelf in the pottery studio. It included braseros, tajins, and all sorts of casseroles, steamers. etc. Do you put the flange of a casserole on the serving pot or the lid? One way keeps it from boiling over. 

What is the difference between a summer tea bowl \ /  and a winter tea bowl | | . The function of the form is the same as the difference between a broth based soup bowl  |  |   and a cream based soup bowl \    /  .  The open form releases heat faster. The more closed form  or straight walls, holds the heat better.

Just something to consider. What considerations are you using in designing your work?



#2 Denice


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Posted 14 April 2014 - 08:41 AM

I am always buying books on  ancient and ethnic art work, I have a bookcase full of them.  Since I rarely make functional work I use them mostly for form and applied decorative design.  I try to keep the feel of the piece like the ancient work with unusual decorative designs. I am making a bubble fountain right now for a southwestern house, I want it to mesh with it's surroundings while leaving off any typical SW designs.  Love my books!  Denice

#3 Steven Branfman

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 07:44 PM

Ceramic history and culture are an everyday part of my work as vessel maker. I've been observing historical forms since my days as an unergraduate. As a student I copied. early in my career I borrowed. As my creative life matured, the influences became less obvious and ultimately have been integrated into my personal expression. One of my primary sources of historical reference is my personal art collection.

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#4 Chantay


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Posted 01 May 2014 - 09:33 PM

Before I was a potter I was a painter. Learning to paint I copied many of the "masters". When I finally reached the point I was ready to try something more than the basic bowl, cylinder, I sought out images of work that I admired. I have also begun collecting pieces. The problem with images is they lack information that's not visible. Many times I have wished to flip a piece over to see the bottom or peak over the rim to see the curve inside. I have learned so much from holding someones bowl in my hands. I try to go to shows were pottery is for sale also.

- chantay

#5 Rebekah Krieger

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 12:27 AM

Well, as a potter who is not formally  educated - I haven't studied and read all the information on the ancient pots that I like.  I have a select few that I have seen at the art museum and have on pinterest that I keep going back to. This particular cup I keep going back to see over and over.. something about it I LOVE.  The handle, the face, the thin walls, the romantic idea of a form that is not used for todays cups (tall handle wide mouth)  I have made a few pieces inspired by this one.  It is an Etruscan cup .  (300-500 bc)


I wish I could hold it just onceā€¦. so much could be learned by having it in my hand.    I am drawn to ancient pieces and even some historical pieces that have features not used in todays pots. 

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Learning On my Kick wheel with my vintage Paragon (from the late 1960's)

#6 Pugaboo


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Posted 07 May 2014 - 10:33 PM

The first coil pot I made was inspired by Roman amphora. I saw tons of them all over the place on my trips to Italy and the shape just stuck with me its pretty much perfect as far as I am concerned. I am fascinated by ancient pottery and have tons of books, gone to many galleries and watch all the archeology shows I can on tv. You watch these shows and people all seem to get super excited about gold and jewels whereas for me it always the bits and pieces of pottery they uncover. Maybe it's the puzzle lover in me but I would love to be able to reassemble a piece of pottery or sculpture that has been buried for centuries just to see if I could and what it would look like once it's reassembled. I got to watch them make pottery in Egypt and Peru where they used ancient tools to do so and it was an amazing thing to experience.

The world is but a canvas to the imagination - Henry David Thoreau

#7 Rebekah Krieger

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 10:47 AM

That sounds amazing terry!! 

Learning On my Kick wheel with my vintage Paragon (from the late 1960's)

#8 alabama


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Posted 14 May 2014 - 01:00 PM


    Historical references is what I do most.  I let the master potters from the 17th & 18th centurys make, design, and decorate vessels that I'll either copy or incorporate

some of their ideas onto my own pottery.  I have the books, German Stoneware Pottery and Pre-Industrial Utensils which have several vessels to learn from.  Theres form,

ratios, handle placement, glaze techniques, etc.  I once saw a reference about a London potter.  He wanted his wares recognized from across the room.  So he made double

walled bowls, cups, and pitchers with pierce-work on the outside.  This was in 1684!!  AS modern potters we've got alot to learn and a short time to do so.  And thats why I use and study old world master potters as references.


See you later.


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