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The Ceramics Reader: Opinions?

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Hello all,


I was reading the Crafts Magazine from last March and they mentioned this new book, The Ceramic Reader by Kevin Petrie (Bloomsbury publishing). They praised it really highly in their review but it's quite an investment. The printed version is over 100$ and the ebook version over 30$. It is supposed to contain lots of essays on ceramics in general from a wide range of angles.

So I wanted to know if anyone here had read it or at least flipped through, and what your thoughts are on it in general?


Thank you :)


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Paperback copy is $42.34 at Amazon. They are rating it as a Collectable. In the hardback version that may be true. It really depends on what you are looking for. From reading the description it looks like it is not a book of glazes, or techniques or even general processes, but more of a esoteric collection of lectures, writings and notes on the validity of ceramics in todays society. One of those books that I fall asleep during the first few pages, and have to force myself to read through. I may be entirely wrong, since I have not seen the book, and I will be looking for it now that you have pointed it out. I doubt that it will be found in most local book stores unless off campus where there is a large art department. I may look in some of the stores at State College where Penn State is located.


Thanks for pointing it out.




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Thanks for mentioning it ... I went to Amazon and did the "look inside" feature and was very impressed by the wide scope and the known writers.

As Pres says, it is not a "how to" book ... but appears to be an exceptional "why" book.

I can appreciate the pleasure you would get over time just dipping in to read whatever topic interested you at the moment ... kind of like a great box of chocolates.

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One of those books that I fall asleep during the first few pages, and have to force myself to read through.

The review in the Crafts Magazine pointed out that even though it was academic, it was also very witty and not heavy at all. 

I am also sometimes wary of those kinds of essays. I love reading thought provoking essays but sometimes it's just too academic.


Thank you all for pointing out cheaper versions, I'll try to get my hands on one :)

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I bought it for a Ceramic Art History Course and It was usefull for getting pithy quotes to sew an argument together with,  it was nice to hear different sides of the issues from articles written in the thick of the events, and I admit i have not sat down to read the whole thing, but It is in articles by themes chapters so when you awake to an interest you can find it and explore it in bite sized peices. Scanned three random pages into my school's Reading level diagnostic sftware and it is rated as PHD plus plus. i suppose because of all the Artspeak and pottery technical terms. 

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7 hours ago, Hulk said:


Average reading level ~grade six (in USA), per fifth year (for CA teaching credential) some thirty two years ago - likely about same today.

LOL, yep i know HULK (BTW you were a smash hit in your last movie)  pretty sure this book is meant for a fairly small audience, not grade 9 pottery kids, not for the average person, but Potters do tend to be a little more literate and philosophical so it might serve them well, but i think its actually aimed at use by Art critics, historians and other academic folk. it is focussed on "art" ceramics more than houseware ceramics


here's a quote from an approachable article and then ones  which are gradually more and  more ivory tower- 

"ceramics are central to our lives. we live in brick buildings with ceramic tiles. we eat and drink from ceramics..." from the intro to secytion 1- that pretty grade 6 level text

but since the book is a book about critique and theory about ceramic high Art we also get a sentence like this one (chosen at random, i'm sure i could get a higher challenge level if i put effort into it)

"in his article 'the End of History' Francis Fukuyama wrote 'the victory of liberalism has occurred primarily in the realm of ideas or consciousness and is as yet incomplete in the real or material world'pg 184

"investigated in particular ways- ways that employ phenomenological strategies and experiential aspectsof craft practice and ritual"228

and on the teacher librarian trick of having a child read a page and adding up a finger for each difficult or new word until either they hit the end of the page with 4 or fewer fingers- a good proximal developmental text for them, or reshelve the five finger or worse text and try another- so here is a word list above a grade 6 pay grade from page 236

"installation art, intermediary controlled space, analogous signifier, essentialism, superfluous, semiotic potential, qualifier, appendage, quintessential, utilitarian..." okay that was just paragraph 1,  still easier than theoretical post-humanist-vital-materialist-semiotics hermaneutical anti-discoursive 'portrait of the author hidden behind a raw clay piano' Thesis papers but  most kids might need to unspin their minds at the wheel at this point, as might many adults, masters students would be waiting for the big pithy point the small talk is leading towards. each article is at its own editorial setting set by the audience it was originally set up for, some are approachable and some demanding.

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