Welcome to my resources page. Following is a list of things that have helped me in my growth as a potter. Let me know what other resources have been helpful to you.
Youtube No resource for the potter, especially the beginning potter, is more important than youtube. You can learn a great deal from these videos if you pay close attention. Here are sites on youtube that have been most helpful to me.
1.Simon Leach- There's much to learn from this British potter, son of David Leach, and grandson of Bernard Leach. It takes some sifting to find what you're looking for, but it's well worth the search. For example, check out his videos on "7 steps to making a cylinder" (Sept. 12, 2009) and "7 steps to throwing a bowl" (May 9, 2018). With the help of his many videos, you'll be encouraged to "keep practicing." 2.Hsinchuen Lin- Hsin doesn't offer much explanation, especially in his early videos, but watch his technique and you might learn something. I've watched every one of his videos, some more than once. Hsin uses his thumb instead of his knuckle to pull up the walls of his cylinder, something that he told me he learned from his first teacher in Taiwan, and apparently this technique is quite common there. The most important things I've learned from Hsin are the techniques he uses on the top third of his forms. Watch carefully the way he closes a form and shapes necks and rims with his fingers and a metal rib. 3. Matt Horne Pottery- This British potter specializes in crystalline glazes, but his videos on youtube focus on throwing techniques. His technique is excellent and I've learned alot from watching him. For instance, rather than using just one finger when creating a thin neck, he often uses his thumb and forefinger which gives greater control. His "Joining Demonstration" is the best video I've seen for joining two pieces together to form one vase. One of the most important things he does is to throw down over the join before collaring in. 4.timseepots- Great videos for beginners. Check out his videos on centering clay. 5. youdanxxx- In his early videos he sits down, makes a pot fluently and then turns off the camera. Now he speaks to the viewer quite a bit more and explains what he's doing. But whether he's speaking or not, he's throwing pots of all shapes and sizes and there's much to learn from watching how he does it. 6.Bill Van Gilder- Bill's videos are shot well and his explanations are clear. For instance, watch his demo on wedging, best explanation that I've seen. These are especially good if you're just getting started with clay. 7.David Cuzick- David's videos are helpful for doing basic techniques. For instance, watch his demo on "Cup details and handles" for a great video on how to pull handles and attach them to a cup. 8.John Britt- John knows more about glazes than almost anyone on the planet. He has great videos on everything related to glazes and many other pottery topics as well. For instance, his video on "Deflocculated and Flocculated Glazes" is the best explanation I've seen, including how to make thick slips like Steven Hill uses. You can find out more about John and order signed copies of his books at www.johnbrittpottery.com, but it's really his Clay Club blog that's most helpful. You can find that at www.ncclayclub.blogspot.com. It's filled with a constant stream of important information. I just checked the month of May, 2015. Most of what John mentions is about clay stuff in his local area, but I also found a very helpful video on how to reglaze pots (including how to make copper, cobalt, and rutile washes), a video on how to grind the bottoms of pots, and he also mentions a great source for rice hull ash from a company called Greasweep (www.greasweep.com; you can also order through Amazon). 9.Steve Bootonceramics- Steve is a British potter and I especially like the videos he takes when he visits ceramic shows. 10. Jennifer Harnetty- These are videos from Ceramics Monthly magazine, and are usually about more advanced techniques. Each video is done by an expert in the field and well worth watching. 11.Goldmark Gallery- Here is one of the real gems in potting. Goldmark is a British art gallery which has done an exceptional job of promoting its potters. You can watch their videos on youtube, but I would suggest visiting their website at www.goldmarkart.com for the full experience. Under "ceramics" you'll find pots for sale by some of the greatest potters in the world, superb videos of them at work, and monographs on them as well. 12.arttougei- Here's another gem on youtube. Not any how-to videos, but this site has a series of videos on famous Japanese potters that were originally made for television. Artists include Taizo Kuroda, Ken Mihara, and Kosei Matsui. Although they're in Japanese (without subtitles, unfortunately), you can still learn a great deal by watching these artists at work. 13.Wagoner Pottery- This site has four videos that are exceptional: Potters of Japan (Parts one and two) and Potters of the USA (Parts one and two). These documentaries were made by Richard Peeler almost 60 years ago and offer rare glimpses into the studios of famous Japanese and American potters like Warren MacKenzie, Toshiko Takaezu, Otto and Vivika Heino, Shimaoka Tatsuzo, and Frans Wildenhain. I've watched these many times. 14. Mark Peters- Mark includes a documentary on Isaac Button: Country Potter, which is exceptional. A rare glimpse into the work of one of the last of the English country potters. You won't believe how fast he throws and how easily he shapes the clay. 15.kadoguy2006- I don't know who kadoguy is, but he has more than 1,300 videos on youtube, and two of them are about Brother Thomas, one of my favorite potters. Look up Gifts from the Fire: The Ceramic Art of Brother Thomas (Parts 1 and 2). He was one of the great contemporary porcelain potters. 16.Adam Field- Adam is an American potter who has several interesting videos. One is Forrest Lesch-Middelton demonstrating his trademark "volumetric image transfer." Several of the videos were taped while Adam was in South Korea working with a traditional Onggi potter. The most interesting and inspiring videos he has, however, are two he filmed of Moon Byeong Sik, a Korean porcelain potter. The first shows him throwing off the hump and the second shows him trimming bowls. Both are amazing. I learned quite a bit just from watching his hands and how he uses them to shape the clay and to trim it later. About the most elegant technique that I've seen. His facial expressions are about the most inelegant I've seen, but they show his enormous concentration. And he's working fast; his wheel is flying! Oh, and the video of Moon Byeong Sik throwing off the hump has Jose Gonzalez's "Slow Moves" as the soundtrack. What's not to like! 17. Sam Kelly- Sam has a number of interesting videos, including short videos about Maria Martinez, Michael Cardew (more than 10 minutes throwing off the hump), Paul Soldner, and Bernard Leach, but the stars here are two videos showing Shoji Hamada at work on the wheel. These were shot in the 60's, apparently, they're in black and white, and the film seems a bit out of focus, but you can still see those wonderful hands and what they're doing. The way he touches the clay was a revelation to me. 18. Christopher Roy- Dr. Roy is a professor of art history at the University of Iowa and is well known for his books on African art, especially his books on masks. At the time of this writing, he has 12 videos on youtube, most of them recordings of mask performances. He now has a video on African pottery which is superb: African Pottery Forming and Firing. The video is a a real gift to potters and for an hour and four minutes it shows women forming and firing pots from several different African cultures. Their techniques for forming pots and decorating them are especially intriguing to me and have inspired me to incorporate some of them in my own pot making. Dr. Roy also spends quite a bit of time presenting images of pots that are part of the collection of Douglas Dawson, a Chicago art dealer. These are some of the best examples of African pots that I've ever seen. 19.Javier D- Javier Diez is a filmmaker who has 17 videos on youtube at the time of this writing. Two of them are documentaries about Spanish ceramic sculptors Enric Mestre and Arcadi Blasco. Each film runs about 24 minutes and shows the artists moving from their initial ideas to the preparation of materials to the forming and firing of the piece. Along the way Mestre and Blasco are making comments about their work in ceramics and why they make sculptures in the way they do. I was especially interested in Mestre, his vision, his perfectionism, the way he kept firing pieces over and over again, at least 6 times, until he developed the surfaces he was looking for. It was fascinating to watch the changes that took place over the course of all those firings. 20.FreerSackler- The Freer/Sackler galleries are part of the Smithsonian and are absolute musts to see if you're interested in Asian art. At the time of this writing, they have 56 videos, many of them about ceramics. Some of them are short documentaries like "Porcelain for Emperors" and some are lectures with slide presentations of pots. The lecture I find most interesting is "Contemporary Korean Ceramics" which is about an hour long and highlights the work of 25 of Korea's best ceramic artists. The first 17 are looked at very quickly and the last 8 are looked at in more depth. The lecture by Andrew Maske "On the Trail of Tea Bowls: Tracing Elite Ceramics in Edo Period Japan" helped me better understand the changes in Japanese ceramic aesthetics during the Edo period. 21.miaofeng2008- At the time of this writing, miaofeng2008 has 27 videos. All of them relate to the 2008 Taiwan Ceramics Biennale. Many of the videos are short interviews with jurors, but the most interesting are videos of medal winners building ceramic pieces as part of a workshop at the biennale. These introduced me to the work of several people who have become favorites of mine including Chun-Bok Lee, Joseph Madrigal, Zung-Lung Tsai, and Meredith Knapp Brickell. When you're done looking at these, check out claystudio22 who has 2 videos that present the pieces of finalists and the pieces that won prizes. Both videos show one amazing ceramic piece after another from artists around the world. When you're done with that, check out "Documentary of 2012 Taiwan Ceramics Biennale" listed under The2012TCB where you'll find other videos about the same event. 22. chinaexplorers- At the time of this writing, chinaexplorers has 35 videos. Most of these relate to Tibetan culture and one is "Fire and Earth: A Look into Traditional Nixi Tibetan Blackware Pottery." The video is about 30 minutes long and starts with a Tibetan master potter making a handbuilt tea pot and ends with this and other blackware pots being fired. I learned quite a bit both from watching how they form pots and how they fire them. 23.taran333tula- At the time of this writing, taran333tula has 342 videos. This is a treasure trove of documentaries about art and history. Twelve of these are part of a superb 3-hour BBC documentary from 2011 called "Ceramics- A Fragile History." The focus of the documentary is pottery in England which starts with Neolithic pottery and ends with the contemporary pots of Grayson Perry and Edmund de Waal. Certainly the best film I've seen about the topic. 24. The Metropolitan Museum of Art- At the time of this writing, the Met has 829 videos. If you're interested in art, this is one of the best resources on the web. The MMA's collection of videos is wide ranging and includes a number of videos related to pottery. For instance, I just finished watching "Poetry in Clay: Exploring Korean Buncheong Ceramics, Japanese Revivals, and Their Significance Today," a lecture and slide show by Soyoung Lee, the Associate Curator of the Department of Asian Art, MMA . The lecture was part of an exhibit of Buncheong ceramics that was largely drawn from the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art. The Met also published an excellent book on the exhibit: Korean Buncheong Ceramics. I also mention this under "Websites" below, but the Met has an enormous number of images of ceramics in their collection, and you can zoom in on these pieces while maintaining remarkable clarity. 25. York Museum's Trust- At the time of this writing, York Museum's Trust has 79 videos. The ones that are most interesting to me relate to the recent exhibition of W.A. Ismay's collection of pots on display at The Hepworth Wakefield (October 12, 2013 - January 26, 2014). Bill Ismay was probably the most important collector of 20th century British studio pottery, and I became familiar with him through the books I've read that include photos of pots from his collection. He was a librarian who started collecting pots in 1955 and dedicated most of his modest salary to buying the best pots he could find. There are many interviews with potters like Jim Malone and Jane Hamlyn who remember Bill and the impact he had on their lives. You can check out the exhibition at www.hepworthwakefield.org, but the best photos of the exhibition that I've found are at the facebook page of May Wild Ceramics. In her January 22, 2014 entry, she includes 61 images, mostly of pots but also quite a few of Barbara Hepworth's sculptural pieces and the museum building itself. Matthew Darbyshire, a contemporary British artist, designed the display and used the original floor plan of Ismay's small house and some of his original furniture to display 700 pots from his collection. 26. If you're interested in Toshiko Takaezu's pottery like I am, take a look at some of these videos. First is a video from StateoftheArtsNJ entitled Toshiko Takaezu: Portrait of an Artist. This is a 30-minute documentary that was produced in the early 1990's. Another is by bqeberle and is a tribute to Toshiko after her passing in 2011. The 5-minute slide show is entitled Remembering Toshiko and the sound track is Bon Iver's Woods, a moving accompaniment to this brief portrait of her last years. You can also see Toshiko when she was much younger by looking at Potters of the USA, Part 2. I talk more about it under #12 above. 27. Look under AMOCA and you'll find 6 videos that the American Museum of Ceramic Art posted in support of their exhibit, ICHEON: Reviving the Korean Ceramics Tradition. Each video is about four minutes long and most of the potters are shown carving and inlaying leatherhard pots. It's a pleasure watching master craftsmen at work! 28. Petr Machek has only one pottery video on his website, but it's a good one. Look for his Tokoname Master Craftsman - Hokujo (Genji Shimizu). It's the best video I've seen of a potter throwing the parts of a tea pot off the hump.
Websites For the best list of websites on ceramics, check out the "links" section at www.ceramicreview.com. It's the most extensive list that I've found. Here's a shorter list of sites that I've found especially helpful, including magazine websites, galleries, and equipment suppliers.
1.www.ceramicartsdaily.org- This is the website for two of the leading American pottery magazines: Ceramic Arts Monthly and Pottery Making Illustrated. There are plenty of helpful articles for potters at all stages. If you subscribe to these magazines (which I would recommend), you can access their archive of articles, a treasure trove of helpful info. They also have short videos and excerpts from their books. If you're interested, you can order the videos and books directly from them. 2.www.ceramicreview.com- This is the website for one of the leading British pottery magazines. Packed with helpful information. Again, subscribing to the magazine (which I recommend) gives you access to their archive of past issues. They also have the best list of links on the web. 3. For museums in America, start with The Renwick Gallery (part of the Smithsonian) and search under "ceramics." For museums in Britain, go to the Victoria & Albert Museum and search under "ceramics." Both have high quality photos of works in their museum, some of the best in the world. The V & A alone has over 1,000 images of ceramics. This will give you a flavor of what's out there in museums. 4.www.japanesepottery.com and www.e-yakimono.net- Both websites were created by Robert Yellin. The first is a gallery of pots that are for sale. The second is "the most extensive online database on Japanese-pottery knowledge anywhere. Over 450 pages and 4260 images!" as Mr. Yellin says. The second site breaks down Japan by region and styles and gives you a feel for Japanese pottery like no other resource I've used. If you want to learn more about Japanese potters and pottery, here's the place to start. 5. www.puckergallery.com- An important art gallery in Boston which produces amazing exhibition catalogs. Check out the catalogs for potters like Brother Thomas, Sung Jae Choi, Randy Johnston, Ken Matsuzaki, and Phil Rogers. To give you an example of how much Pucker is giving you, it makes available 4 catalogs for Matsuzaki from 2006 to 2012. The latest catalog from 2012 is 32 pages long and is packed with high quailty images. I've downloaded all of the ceramics exhibition catalogs that Pucker has online and look at them often. 6. www.modernpots.com- This takes you to the ceramics section for Goldmark, a British gallery. Goldmark carries the work of 12 potters, mostly British, but they also carry the work of a Korean potter (Lee Kang Hyo), two Japanese potters (Ken Matsuzaki and Takeshi Yasuda), a Danish potter (Anne Mette Hjortshoj), and a French potter (Jean-Nicolas Gerard). Most of Goldmark's potters are woodfirers and include some of the most important woodfirers in Britain: Svend Bayer, Jim Malone, Mike Dodd, Lisa Hammond, Clive Bowen, Phil Rogers, and Nic Collins. The gallery carries superb photos of available works, but the real treats here are the videos they've made of all of their potters. These short documentaries are very well made and inspiring. They also have monographs on each potter, often more than one. I should also add that while many galleries carry the work of famous potters like these, certain galleries like Goldmark and Pucker carry the very best pots that come out of their kilns. 7.www.galeriebesson.co.uk- Unfortunately this important British gallery closed in 2011, but it continues to maintain its website as a service to potters and collectors. Scroll down through the exhibitions listed from 1988 until 2011 and you'll see the works of Hans Coper, Lucie Rie, Ken Mihara, Enric Mestre, Claudi Casanovas, Jennifer Lee, and Yasuhisa Kohyama among others. Thoughtful introductions to each exhibition and excellent photos. 8. www.freeformsusa.com- A gallery of pots for sale, mostly from places in Europe like Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Germany. If you aren't familiar with the work of potters like Berndt Friberg, Wilhelm Kage, Gunnar Nylund, Stig Lindberg, or Karl and Ursula Scheid, go to this site immediately! I've learned quite a bit from studying their pots. 9.www.modernity.se- A Swedish site that's one of the most stylish on the internet. A great array of pots, mostly from Scandinavia, with a style that's quite different from the British and Japanese traditions. 10. For ceramic supplies, the internet has many sources. Here are a few: www.baileypottery.com; www.bigceramicstore.com; www.theceramicshop.com; ; www.sheffield-pottery.com; www.dickblick.com/ceramics. For Japanese tools, check out these websites: www.japanpotterytools.com; www.bambootools.com. 11. For clay, check out these two sites: www.lagunaclay.com; www.aardvarkclay.com. Both companies have short descriptions of the different clays they carry as well as suggestions on what they should be used for. 12. If you want to train your eye for design, there's no better place to start than the Museum of Modern Art website: www.moma.org. When you go to the website, click on "Explore" and then go to "Architecture & Design." There you'll find images of more than 8,000 well-designed objects, everything from textiles to toys to Tupperware. Many of these objects can be viewed from multiple angles. There are many pots as well. Impossible to get through it all but fun to try. 13. If you want to find plenty of resources, check out the websites of ceramics teachers at colleges and universities. Here's one I just ran across that's packed with information: www.brianharperstudio.com. Look under "teaching" at the top and go down to "the claybucket." Scroll down and look at all of the stuff on the left side. Quite a treasure trove. 14. Julia Galloway at the University of Montana has an excellent website (www.juliagalloway.com), and she includes a section at the top called "field guide." This will take you to her "Field Guide for Ceramic Artisans" which is primarily intended for students who are getting ready to graduate from one of the ceramics programs at U of M, but it also contains quite a bit of helpful information for any potter. For instance, look at chapter 12 on the left side (pdf downloads). Under this you'll find, among other things, "high fire, clay, slips & glazes." These are taken from classes and workshops with some pretty important people. Check out clay and glaze recipes from potters like Robert Turner (copied out of his 1949 MFA thesis), Tom Coleman, and John Glick. Also has quite a bit of excellent material under "Val Cushing Handouts." 15. Here's a great gallery website that I just ran across: www.jlohmanngallery.com. The gallery is located in Manhatten and has a very good selection of objects in ceramics, glass, and metal. Especially strong in European design. 16. Just ran into this great resource about firing pottery. Go to www.mnclay.com (Minnesota Clay Company), put your cursor on "Technical," and then click "Tips & Techniques." Look on the left side under "General Information" and click on "Orton Firing Tips." This is the same Orton that makes the pyrometric cones, and they've issued seventeen of their "firing tips" that are two pages each, a total of 34 pages of information. To give you a taste of what's available, the first three of these are "Loading a Kiln for Best Results," "Understanding Heat Transfer," and "Cracking and Thermal Shock." Potting isn't just one skill but a cluster of skills, and firing our pots is one of those skills. I have to admit that I haven't spent too much time thinking about firing since I've only loaded bisque kilns and haven't loaded our gas kiln, but these papers are packed with important information which have dramatically improved my understanding about issues related to firing. 17. One of the most helpful websites for the potter is www.digitalfire.com. Tony Hansen, the man behind Digital Fire, has developed a ceramics calculation software that's called "Insight." I've never used it, so I can't recommend it, but I hope to look at it sometime soon. What I can tell you from experience is that Tony has put together a staggering amount of information about glaze chemistry that will blow your mind. When you go to the home page for digital fire, look at the top for "Reference Database." When you click on that, it will take you to the section of technical articles. These are an enormous resource, but try looking at other sections like the first one on "oxides" if you want to get a taste of what's offered here. It starts with a "Ceramic Oxides Overview" which is helpful, but take a look at the left column. There you'll see a list of over 100 oxides. Click on any one of them and you'll get detailed information about its chemical makeup, its sources, and how it works in glazes. Read a few of these and it will give you a different level of comprehension about how the components of glaze recipes work together (or don't). 18.www.accessceramics.org- Access ceramics is a collection of contemporary ceramic images. At the time of this writing, 367 ceramic artists have contributed 2,806 images. The project is using flickr to present their high-quality images, mostly of ceramic sculpture. Most of the artists are American, and they invite any interested artists to submit images for review. I would guess that the number of artists and images will grow exponentially over the years. I've looked at many of these images and am not familiar with most of the artists, but they're doing some very creative stuff. A "browse" section is included to help you navigate through this huge mass of images. You can browse by artists, which is very straightforward, or you can browse by things like glazing/surface, material, object type, technique, or temperature which is not very straightforward at all. These indices are long and very detailed. If you know exactly what you're looking for, this could be helpful. If you don't, you may find this daunting (at first) to navigate. 19.www.amoca.org- The American Museum of Ceramic Art is located in Pomona, California. Under "Shop" they offer ten books and four DVD's produced by AMOCA that I've never seen offered anywhere else and look very interesting. For instance, they have a DVD on Collaboration: The Ceramic Art of Tom Coleman and Frank Boyden along with a book on the same subject. They have a DVD on The Village Potters of Onda, and books on clay artists like Patti Warashina, Harrison McIntosh, and Robert Sperry. The star on this website, however, is their collection of ceramic pots. Images of their collection can be found under "About" on the bar at the top of the page. Click on "AMOCA's collection" and that will take you to the list of their images. They have 93 images under "World Ceramics," 57 under "British Ceramics," 116 under "Sculpture," and 667 under "American Studio Pottery." 20.www.santarosa.edu/art-gallery- Go to the website for the Santa Rosa Junior College art gallery and click on "Past Exhibits" on the left. Look for "Japanese Ceramics from the William Bayer Collection" and click on that. You'll find a short statement from the curator of the exhibition, Hiroshi Fuchigami, and a slide show. The slide show has images of pots from 32 of Japan's finest contemporary potters. Well worth a visit. 21. www.galleryfw.com- Gallery FW in Chicago carries the art of some of Japan's finest contemporary craftsmen and women in Ceramic, Glass, Metal, and Painting. Some of these ceramicists are well-known to me and are favorites of mine such as Sueharu Fukami, Masahiko Ichino, and Katsumi Kako, but I discovered others whose work I want to follow such as Tomoko Kawakami and Byong-uk Yeo, a Korean potter. Take a look at the other categories as well. I was especially interested in the metal work of Ryota Nishikata. 22.www.mirviss.com- Joan B. Mirviss LTD in New York has been a major gallery for Japanese art for decades. Japanese ceramics is a speciality of the gallery and they carry work from some of the best. Click on "Exhibitions" and you'll find a listing of every one they've put on since 2002. Most of the exhibitions include a short brochure with a few nice images of pieces, but occasionally they offer something much more substantial. For instance, look at the 44-page online catalog of their exhibition Seven Sages of Ceramics: Modern Japanese Masters or the 40-page catalog of their exhibition Recollected Vistas: The Ceramic Art of Kishi Eiko. By the way, if you aren't familiar with Eiko's work, take a look at it right away. Some of the most amazing pieces I've seen in a while. 23.www.metmuseum.org- The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is one of the world's great museums, and they've given us remarkable access online to their collections. Besides producing an enormous number of videos on a wide range of topics (see #23 under "Youtube" above), they provide high quality images of ceramics in their collection, many of which are not on public display. What I found most helpful is that all of the images can be zoomed in on while maintaining perfect clarity. For a potter, this is important to be able to see how other potters have done their work. 24.www.lacostegallery.com- I mentioned this in a blog but thought I should include it here as well. Lacoste Gallery in Concord, Massacusetts has a great selection of contemporary ceramics. If you want to see pieces for sale by artists like Warren MacKenzie, Barbro Aberg, and Masamichi Yoshikawa, take a look at this website. By the way, when they get in a group of Warren MacKenzie's pots, they're usually some of the best recent work of his that I've seen, but they sell quickly and are taken off the site quickly. 25.http://www.franklloyd.com/- This is one of the best galleries that offers ceramics for sale. It's located in Santa Monica, California and has exhibitions throughout the year, many of them in ceramics. Some are of older pieces by artists like Peter Voulkos and Beatrice Wood, but most of the pieces they offer are by contemporary artists like Wouter Dam, Adrian Saxe, and Jennifer Lee. I found two ceramics artists here who were new to me and have become favorites of mine: Cheryl Ann Thomas and Gustavo Perez. They also have a section on publications and many of them are available for free in digital format. 26. www.maaklondon.com- maak contemporary ceramics was founded in 2009 by Marijke Varrall-Jones, the former Head of Contemporary Ceramics at Bonhams. maak offers a broad range of services for ceramics collectors including private sales and semi-annual auctions. The auctions are usually conducted in the spring and fall and focus primarily on well-known British studio potters of the last 100 years such as William Staite Murray, Michael Cardew, Lucie Rie, Gabriele Koch, Ewen Henderson, and Edmund de Waal. Each pot is well-photographed from several angles, a plus for any potter trying to study how pots were made. 27. www.moco.or.jp- The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka, opened in 1982. The founding collection of the museum was assembled over a 24-year period by Eiichi Ataka, a Japanese businessman. He was so obsessed with Korean ceramics that he reportedly refused to leave the country for fear of missing a masterpiece that might come up for sale. His collection eventually numbered 1,000 pots: 850 Korean and 150 Chinese. When the Ataka company went bankrupt in 1975, the collection was taken over by the Sumitomo Bank. Because of fears the collection might leave Japan, the Sumitomo Group, including the bank, offered the collection to the city of Osaka along with $100 million to build The Museum of Oriental Ceramics. The museum's collections are especially strong in Korean and Chinese ceramics and include 2 national treasures and 12 important cultural properties. Over the years they've received significant donations of Japanese ceramics, including a choice collection of Shoji Hamada's pots from Horio Mikio. Mikio started collecting Hamada's pots in 1933 and became a close friend. From 1943 on he was invited to attend firings and choose what pots he wanted when the kiln was unloaded. The website is not as well-developed as some others I've seen. It offers some images of pots but could do more. The images are not very large and you can't zoom in for a closer view. One of my favorite parts, however, is found under "Introduction to Oriental Ceramics." They have brief historical overviews of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese ceramics (could use some images), but their "Guide to Enjoy the Exhibit" is a gem. It starts with brief descriptions of clay and fabrication techiniques and then describes (with images) different vessel forms. You probably know what a bowl or a jar is, but do you know these shapes: yuhuchun, meiping, tuluping? It goes on to describe different decorative techniques such as carving (incision, katagiribori, sgraffito, relief decoration, openwork), impressing, applying (sprigging, slip trailing), inlay, clay marbeling, and gilding. It describes glazes and different types of kilns, but the most helpful section to me is the last one that explains the motifs and symbols found on oriental ceramics such as pomegranates, dragons, fish, bats, and "eight precious things." 28.http://flyeschool.com/content/ceramic-artists-page-1- Here's one of the best and most enjoyable resources for exploring contemporary ceramic art. Flyeschool is the homepage of Rob Flye and his art students at Inglemoor High School in Kenmore, Washington. There's plenty of good information on the website such as helpful tips about how to join clay and such like, but my favorite part is the incredibly extensive list of great ceramics artists from all over the world. These aren't just lists of names; they show a piece of the artist's work so you get some idea what their style is like and whether or not you'd like to see more of it. They have links to each artist, though I found that some of them are out of date. The list is 17 pages long on the website and each page has about 100 artists. The list is best for browsing through since it's not strictly in alphabetical order, but it's still a great resource and one I'm enjoying exploring. 29. www.rupertspira.com - A few months ago I ran into a book of Rupert Spira's pots and was immediately smitten. When you go to his ceramics page, take a look at the "Archive" to see a good selection of his pots. You might also like reading some of the short essays on his ceramics by writers like Edmund de Waal and Edward Lucie-Smith. 30.www.galerie-heller.de - Gallery Marianne Heller is in Heidelberg, Germany and since that's probably a little far for you to travel right now, why not visit their website which is a whole lot closer? I especially like the "Special Exhibitions" section. It goes back to 2000 and has images of great pieces by artists like Yoshinori Ohno, Kanjiro Moriyama, and Arnold Annen. 31. www.adriansassoon.com - Look under "Contemporary" and click on "Ceramics." Adrian Sassoon represents some great artists, some familiar to me and some not. One who is not familiar is Hitomi Hosono. She carves porcelain and her work is amazingly detailed. You can see some of her work when you click on "Work for Sale," but if you then click on "Sold library" you'll see dozens of her pieces. One artist who's familiar to me is Rupert Spira. Right now if you click on "Work for Sale" you won't find a single pot, but if you click on "Sold library" you'll see some of the best pots he's ever made. 32. www.scottish-gallery.co.uk - A great gallery that offers some nice features. Look under "Objects" at the top of the page and then click on "Ceramics." The gallery represents some interesting artists and there are PDF exhibition catalogs for many of them. For instance, the Clive Bowen catalog is 46 pages, the Akiko Hirai catalog is 38 pages, and the Hans Vangso catalog is 24 pages. 33. www.pulsceramics.com - Puls was started by Annette Sloth about 10 years ago in Brussels and is the best gallery I've seen for contemporary ceramic art. Puls includes ceramics from Japanese and American artists, but most are from Europeans. There are some familiar names here such as Wouter Dam, Barbro Aaberg, and Beate Andersen, but there are plenty of new artists I'm not familiar with such as Palma Babos, Wim Borst, Alexandra Engelfriet, and Jean-Francoise Fouilhoux. There are more than 100 artists represented by the gallery and all are fantastic. Their work is so ambitious, so visionary, so technically brilliant, that I find myself both inspired and depressed in equal measure. 34. www.touchingstone.com - Touching Stone is a gallery in Santa Fe dedicated to Japanese aesthetics. They have an excellent collection of traditional and contemporary Japanese pottery as well as sumi-e paintings. The traditional pottery they carry is really contemporary pottery made at traditional pottery sites such as Bizen, Tanba (not Tamba), and Iga. 35. www.eshgallery.com/ceramics/?lang=en - Esh Gallery in Milan, Italy carries a small selection of ceramics, but it's choice. If you like refined Japanese ceramics, you'll love their stuff. Featured artists right now include some of my favorites like Akio Niisato, Shinya Tanoue, Kentaro Kawabata, and Kouzo Takeuchi. 36. www.oxfordceramics.com- Oxford Ceramics Gallery is one of the best places in England to buy ceramics. If you like the pots of Bernard Leach, Shoji Hamada, Michael Cardew, and others like them, you'll love this site. They also publish short exhibition catalogs that are usually offered on Ebay. The best one they've recently published is a retrospective on Rupert Spira which at 80 pages is the longest (and best) one that I've seen them produce. I've also purchased short catalogs of works by Geoffrey Swindell and Mo Jupp. 37. www.pierremariegiraud.com- Giraud in Brussels, Belgium has a great selection of ceramics from artists around the world. For instance, it currently carries some of the finest pieces I've seen by artists such as Kazuo Takiguchi, Akiyama Yo, and Magdalene Odundo. Giraud also publishes fine catalogs of their artists pieces. It's published catalogs by artists such as Yo, Odundo, Jean Girel, Morten Lobner Espersen, and recently published a 140 page catalog of work by Takuro Kuwata. 38. www.cavinmorris.com- Cavin Morris Gallery in New York City carries quite a bit more than just ceramics, but its collection of ceramics is one of the most extensive I've seen. Most of the artists are contemporary Japanese ceramicists such as Akira Satake, Shozo Michikawa, and Aki Katayama, but they also carry artists from America and around the world. To find ceramics, just go to "Artists" in the top bar and you'll find two lists of "Ceramicists." They also publish catalogs that can be viewed online or ordered from the gallery. 39. www.yufuku.net- Yufuku in Tokyo is the best gallery of contemporary Japanese ceramics that I've seen. It's also one of the most stylish websites that I've seen. They carry more than ceramics and concentrate on the best 3-D artwork in a number of materials such as metal, glass, and lacquer. 40. http://www.jasonjacques.com/ - Jason Jacques Gallery in New York describes itself as the "preeminent purveyor of late 19th and early 20th century European ceramics, and a driver of important design and ceramic art." The artists they carry include ceramic artists such as Taxile Doat, Pierre-Adrien Dalpayrat, Axel Salto, Beate Kuhn, and Karl and Ursula Scheid. They also produce superb publications that can be found nowhere else. Books Although the internet has quite a bit of great material, the best information I've seen about ceramics is still in books. New books can be tracked down on Amazon and used books can be found on Amazon, ABEBooks and Bookfinder. Japanese books are harder to find through these sources. The best dealer I've found who specializes primarily in Japanese pottery books is on ebay: 2010Orio1032. He usually has around 900 books listed at any given time and most of these are books on Japanese ceramics. He also includes books on western artists such as Lucie Rie and Peter Voulkos who had exhibitions at Japanese museums. Quite a few rare things here at great prices. He also offers free shipping from Japan and he packs books better than anyone I've ever seen. Good books have had a huge impact on my pots and the following are some of my favorites: 1. I've read several textbooks that are introductions to pottery. I've learned something from all of them, but two really stand out: Tony Birks, The Complete Potter's Companion (Revised Edition), and Susan Peterson, The Craft and Art of Clay (FifthEdition). I like Birks because his descriptions are clear and often quite funny. Humor seems to be pretty rare in pottery books, even in Birks' other books, but he's humorous in this one. Susan Peterson's book is packed with helpful information, including text, diagrams, and (of course) the beautifully photographed work of potters to serve as examples. 2.Bernard Leach, A Potter's Book. Except for the first chapter, "Towards a Standard," this is really a how-to book on starting and running a pottery studio. I found it inspirational at points, helpful at others, but there are many other resources available now that do a better job of covering the same ground. Still, we stand on the shoulders of giants, and Leach is one of those giants. A good book to read and historically important, but it's not the last word on potting. 3.Soetsu Yanagi, The Unknown Craftsman: A Japanese Insight into Beauty. Not really a book on pottery, but Yanagi was the founder of the Japanese mingei movement which impacted pottery making in the East and the West. Bernard Leach was a close friend and presents these articles and adds his own notes at a few places. This book helped me understand better the Japanese aesthetic. I thought the article on "The Buddhist Idea of Beauty" was the most important. 4.Susan Peterson, Shoji Hamada: A Potter's Way and Work. Peterson writes about several months she spent with Hamada in Mashiko and the cycle of work that takes place from the digging of clay to the exhibition at a department store. The book is a good description of what's taking place, but my reaction to it is similar to all the other books on great potters that are listed below. They tend to focus on biographical details but give very little insight into the creative life of the potters themselves. I'd like to know more about Hamada's creative process, about how he formulated his glazes and the challenges he faced in developing them. Peterson mentions that Hamada developed a glaze while he worked in Okinawa each year that was made from coral. Since I'm from Hawaii, I would love to learn why he thought of doing that and how he did it. I'm not looking for glaze recipes so much as I'm looking at how Hamada thought to use coral and why he thought it might make a good glaze. 5.John Britt, The Complete Guide to High-Fire Glazes. This is the book I've used most consistently over the years because I keep learning more from it the more I use it. I've never read it cover-to-cover, but I've read every section over and over again to help me understand specific things I'm interested in at the moment. For instance, the chapters on "Measuring Heat" and "Kilns, Firing, and Safety" didn't mean much until I began firing a gas kiln. Now those chapters are like pure gold to me. Probably the most important chapter for me has been the one on "Materials, Oxides, Colorants, and Melt Tests." Many of the glaze effects I use have come from a better understanding of basic materials that I learned from that chapter. Sure, there are plenty of recipes for glazes in the book, but I find it exceedingly helpful to see something like nine "Carbon Trap Shino" recipes laid out side-by-side so you can compare the ingredients used and in what proportions. John's text is dense with technical information so I keep going back and rereading it. The more I learn from other sources and experience, the more I see in what John says. There are many practical suggestions like the following about working with rutile blues: "Pinholing is a common problem with rutile blues, caused by the rutile itself outgassing, rather than a clay body or base glaze problem. Because it's such a variable material, if you have a batch of rutile that is particularly good, stock up on it. If pinholing isn't caused by the rutile, it might be the firing cycle or the recipe. Sometimes substituting wollastonite for whiting in the recipe will correct the problem because whiting releases carbon dioxide near the peak of the firing cycle, while wollastonite does not. You might also try firing slower as you approach peak temperature, or soaking the kiln at the peak temperature to allow the pinholes to heal over." Trouble shooting like this has taught me a great deal about formulating glazes and firing them successfully. 6. Tony Birks, Art of the Modern Potter. Excellent book on prominent British potters of the 60's and 70's. 7. Garth Clark, American Potters. Book about 20 prominent American potters covering the period up to the 80's. Good critical intro, short bios of each potter, and then a few pages of photos of their work. The American equivalent of Birks' book mentioned above. By the way, Garth Clark is the best critic writing about pottery so I pick up every book of his that I can find. 8. Tony Birks, Hans Coper. Focuses on one of my favorite potters. Excellent photos that explore the full range of his creativity. 9.Tony Birks, Lucie Rie. Another one of my favorite potters. Filled with excellent photos of her work. Just wish more attention was given to her creative process. Coper and Rie helped create a different path for ceramic artists than the one blazed by Bernard Leach. 10. John Colbeck, Pottery, The Technique of Throwing. I found this to be the most helpful book on how to throw on the wheel. 11.Frank and Janet Hamer, The Potter's Dictionary of Materials and Techniques (Fifth Edition). If there's one essential book about potting, this is it. Packed with helpful information. Have a problem with pots cracking? There are 9 pages on "Crack" and another 4 on "Dunting." Want to learn more about crystalline glazes? There are 6 pages on that. It's not the sort of book you read from cover to cover, but dip in anywhere and you'll find something important to learn. 12.Peter Lane, Ceramic Form (Revised Edition). All of Peter Lane's books are helpful, but I found this one to be the most important for me. Includes a section of different pot forms in silhouette that might inspire you like they inspired me. 13.Mary Rogers, On Pottery and Porcelain: A Handbuilder's Approach. Mary Rogers' work is really quite different and worth a look, especially if you're a handbuilder. She includes good descriptions and helpful advice about handbuilding, especially about making pinch pots. By the way, her pinch pots are in a league of their own. 14.Harold Guilland, Early American Folk Pottery. If you want to learn more about the American pottery tradition, here's a great place to start. Guilland provides an excellent overview of the pottery tradition in America up through the mid to late 1800's, and the rest of the book is filled with drawings from the Index of American Design. The Index was established by the Federal Art Project in 1935 "to provide employment and maintain the skills of thousands of artists." Most of these drawings are so well done you'll swear they're photographs. An important record of our pottery traditions. 15.Marguerite Wildenhain, Pottery: Form and Expressionand The Invisible Core: A Potter's Life and Thoughts. Both of these books are worth reading. Not really how-to books. The first is more like a philosophy of potting. The second is her autobiography and goes through her experiences as a student at the Bauhaus, her emigration to America, and the early years of the Pond Farm school in California. If you've ever considered being a full-time potter, read her series of questions and answers in the first volume. 16. Garth Clark, Robert Ellison, Eugene Hecht, The Mad Potter of Biloxi: The Art and Life of George E. Ohr. Excellent book on an American original. Iconic story of a man who was far ahead of his time and suffered for it. The three essays are repetitive at many points, but the photos of Ohr's pots are superb. 17.Garth Clark, Michael Cardew. Clark's excellent biography of Cardew includes an extensive gallery of Cardew's pots. Like most of these biographies of potters, it's long on the potter's life and philosophy and short on the potter's creative process. 18.Michael Cardew, Pioneer Pottery. Another classic book on pottery. Cardew's book certainly includes plenty of biographical details and philosophical thoughts, but it also includes quite a bit of technical information. It's worth listening to Cardew's perspective on potting. 19.James C. Watkins and Paul Andrew Wandless, Alternative Kilns & Firing Techniques. This is part of the Lark Ceramics series which has a number of helpful books in it. This one focuses on raku, saggar, pit, and barrel firing. Gives a wealth of technical detail and practical suggestions about how to use these methods successfully. 20.Oliver Watson, Studio Pottery. Here's a gem that I just ran across. It's a complete catalog of twentieth century British ceramics in the Victoria and Albert Museum collection up through the early 90's. Every pot in the collection has an image in this book, including the clunkers, along with short descriptions. Many of them are given full page photos, and many of the pieces are quite good. Page after page of amazing pots! 21.Yasuhisa Kohyama: The Art of Ceramics. Essays at the beginning by Susan Jefferies, Michael R. Cunningham, Yoshiaki Inui, and Jack Lenor Larsen followed by brilliant photos of Kohyama's pots. One of my favorite Japanese potters. 22.Robert Tichane, Celadon Blues. Tichane doesn't share recipes for celadons. Instead, he does scientific analysis of some of the best Chinese celadons of the past in order to discover their composition and the potters' working methodology. I found this to be extremely helpful and have been using it in the studio ever since. For instance, Tichane states that not only were celadon glazes applied thickly to pots, the glazers often used layers of slightly different celadon glazes to achieve their desired effects. As a result, I've been trying different experiments in the studio such as dipping a pot in one celadon such as Primavera Green and then spraying another celadon on top like Nelson's Transparent. In most studios, celadons make up a large share of the glazes and if you'd like to learn more about what they are, how they work, and how to make use of them, this is the book for you. 23. Robert Tichane, Ash Glazes. Like his book on celadons, this book is technical but not out of reach for the patient reader. When you're done, you'll have a much more sophisticated understanding of ash glazes which will translate into better pots in the studio. 24.Phil Rogers, Ash Glazes. This book, by one of Britain's leading potters, is another helpful volume on ash glazes. The first part is especially helpful when Rogers shares his techniques for gathering ash and processing it. The rest of the book is padded out with sections on different potters who use ash glazes extensively. 25.Michael Simon, Evolution (Edited by Susan Stokes Roberts). For a few decades, Michael Simon has been putting aside one pot from each firing, and this book documents those pots. Many of them are glorious. Simon comments on most of them, sharing insights into his creative process as he goes along. Warren MacKenzie, Simon's former teacher, adds a forword, but it's Simon's words in the comments and the interviews that are most helpful. 26.Frederick Baekeland and Robert Moes, Modern Japanese Ceramics in American Collections. This catalog was produced as part of an exhibition organized by the Japan Society of New York in 1993 and which traveled to the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Honolulu Academy of Arts. For me the most interesting part of the book is the last half which is a catalog of artists along with examples of their pots from the exhibition. Unfortunately it's very hard to track down and is very expensive when you can find it. 27.Timothy Wilcox, The Ceramic Art of James Tower. Like all of these books about a potter's work, this one is filled with marvelous photos of Tower's pots. But better than most, Wilcox does a good job at explaining more about Tower's creative process and his working methods. Tower's pots are amazing and inspiring, different from the work of any other potter that I've seen. 28. Mark Shapiro (ed.), A Chosen Path: The Ceramic Art of Karen Karnes. This book includes a forword by Garth Clark, an intro by Mark Shapiro, four essays by scholars, an essay by Karnes on her work, and almost 50 pages of color plates. Karnes' work is brilliant and this shows some of the best pots she's ever done. 29.Peter Held (ed.), The Art of Toshiko Takaezu: In the Language of Silence. A retrospective of Takaezu's work with several scholarly articles at the beginning followed by almost 100 color plates of her work. I've found her painterly approach to glazing most inspiring (and hard to replicate). 30.Clary Illian, A Potter's Workbook. Clary's book is a how-to book of a different sort, not a how-to-do book of techniques but a how-to-see and a how-to-think book. If you're just getting started in clay, make sure you do as many of the exercises as possible, especially if you find yourself making the same sort of thing over and over again. I'm starting to do them now myself, making different cylinders, cutting different kinds of feet on bowls, pulling different handles. I think Clary knows that trying to make something in a different way helps us to see and think about our pots more clearly and creatively. 31.Gail Nichols, Soda, Clay and Fire. Lately I've been reading quite a bit about soda firing since I have access to one of the few soda kilns in Hawaii at the Honolulu Museum of Art School. Nichols' book is by far the best thing I've read about soda firing. Her book is revolutionary in that she rethinks fundamental issues. Rather than looking at soda firing as a more environmentally friendly substitute for salt firing that yields similar results, she asks what aesthetic possibilities might lie in soda firing as a unique way of firing pots. This forces us to start all over in our approach toward vapor firing using soda. She asks basic questions, not just about the glazes or slips we might use, but about the clay body itself, about the compounds that are introduced into the kiln, how changes in the firing schedule change the way the soda interacts with the surface of the pot. This is an important book that opens up several new lines of inquiry for us to explore. If you have access to a soda kiln or are considering building one, this is an essential book to read. 32.Nigel Wood, Chinese Glazes Their Origins, Chemistry and Recreation. Just finished this and I have to say it's easily the best thing I've ever read about glazes and glazing. I was attracted to the book because of its outstanding reputation and now I can see why it earned that reputation. Let me share a few of my impressions of why the book is so important and a must read for any serious potter. First, Wood is a very good writer. He's talking about historical and technical matters (especially geology and chemistry) that usually induce a coma-like state in most readers. In his hands, however, the material comes alive and assumes a relevance for the present-day potter. Second, Wood is a first-rate researcher and deploys all the scientific tools available to him to analyze evidence in order to recreate what Chinese potters were doing. Most of this relates not only to the composition of glazes but also to how they were applied and fired. If you don't read anything else, at least read his chapters on "Iron in Chinese Glazes" and "Copper in Chinese Glazes." These chapters gave me a much better understanding of how both work in glazes. Third, his reconstruction of Chinese glaze effects is the best I've read. For instance, read his explanation of hare's fur, oil spots, and partridge feathers on pages149 through 151. This is easily the best explanation I've read. Yes, he includes recipes for these sorts of things, but more importantly he tells us how these things happen so we can understand and apply this knowledge in making our own discoveries. Fourth, along the way Wood shares a number of things about how Chinese pots were made that can be useful to any potter. For instance, on page 59 he shows an x-ray of a 15th-century Jingdezhen porcelain stem cup. We can see that the potter deliberately made the bowl thicker at its lower half to prevent it from slumping and made it thinner at the rim to give "an overall illusion of fineness." On page 78 he shows a Longquan celadon jar from the 12th century which has lotus flower carving on the base. He notes that the jar was carved "by first planing the nearly-dry porcellaneous clay to produce a series of flat facets. V-shaped vertical cuts were then added to suggest lotus-petals." Maybe we can learn something from these techniques that Chinese potters used. 33.Joe Earle, Contemporary Clay: Japanese Ceramics for the New Century. Here's one of the most inspiring books about clay that I've ever read. I say "read" but there's really not much to read. It's a catalog from a 2005 exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. For most potters, there's an image of a ceramic piece on one page and the facing page is text. Sure, there are plenty of people who have been left out of this exhibition that I would like to see in it, but it's hard to argue about the ones they included. Anyone who still thinks that the best of Japanese ceramics are related to the tea ceremony and traditional wares had better look at this book! What the Japanese are doing now makes most of our stuff look like elementary school art projects. 34.Adam Silverman Ceramics. I'd never heard of Adam Silverman or seen his work until I read an article in the New York Times about his new book. I immediately ordered it and I'm so glad I did for a number of reasons. First, the book design is something new, a huge leap forward in relation to every other ceramics book that I've seen. The book starts with pots, just pots, 128 images of them. The designers let the pots speak for themselves before we read any of the essays which are put at the very end. Second, Stefano Massei's photos of Silverman's pots are also something quite new. Sometimes the pots are brightly lit, sometimes shrouded in darkness, sometimes shown in extreme closeups. I hope he does more work like this with other artists. Third, Silverman's forms aren't completely new, but his glazes and glazing most certainly are. They look like something you'd find at the bottom of the ocean or deep in a cave or at the edge of a volcano. This is virtuoso glaze work and worth close study. 35.Nils Lou, The Art of Firing. This was required reading before I helped fire the gas kiln at the Hawaii Potters Guild. HPG was having trouble firing the new kiln it had constructed back in the 90's so it invited Nils Lou to come to Hawaii and fix it. He made some adjustments to its construction, trained several people on how to use the kiln more effectively, and the guild has been using it successfully ever since. As a result, every person who begins firing the kiln has to read his book. Like most books of this type, quite a bit of attention is given to the construction of kilns. You may not need to know how to construct a kiln (yet), but if you're new to firing and need basic guidance and a protocol to follow, this is a good place to start. Not only does he help you understand the parts of the kiln and how those parts work together, he helps you understand what happens inside the kiln during the firing and how that affects the clay and glazes. For instance, he helped me understand the role of carbon monoxide, not smoke, in creating reduction effects in clays and glazes. In fact, he makes the point that too much smoke in the kiln can actually inhibit reduction. 36.David Lewis, Warren MacKenzie: An American Potter. I've read quite a bit about Warren MacKenzie and about some of his students, but I'd never heard of this book until just a few weeks ago. I ran into it because a seller of books on ceramics included it in her list of new inventory. As soon as I saw it, I had to buy a signed first edition in hardback. This is the best book I've seen on MacKenzie and his work. It's well-written and includes quite a bit of biographical detail. The author became a close friend of MacKenzie and his first wife when they were in England apprenticing with Bernard Leach from 1950 to 1952. Warren is a great potter, but he's become a legend in part because he's a living link to Leach and all the other great artists and intellectuals who were his friends such as Hamada, Yanagi, and Hepworth. Throughout the book Warren talks about making pots, and Lewis describes in some detail how Warren's studio is set up and how he does his work. There are even a few pages of Warren's glaze recipes near the end including a recipe for "Glassy Green" (Cone 5) which he highly valued. Peter Lee has great photos of Warren at work, and the images of his pots are glorious. 37.Rose Slivka, Peter Voulkos: A Dialogue With Clay. Peter Voulkos is one of the most important ceramic artists of the 20th century, so why haven't more books been written about him? Rose Slivka's two books on Voulkos, this one and The Art of Peter Voulkos(1995), are the only full-length monographs I've found on him, which also means that a major book dedicated to Voulkos hasn't been written in over 20 years! You can't keep track of all the books and exhibition catalogs that have been produced about Hamada or Leach, but the shelf of books on Voulkos is ridiculously slender. Slivka had unprecedented access to Voulkos and his friends because of her long-time friendship with him. As you would expect, there are many fine photos of his pieces and plenty of biographical detail. Slivka dedicates quite a bit of space explaining how he created his pieces and discusses the work of other ceramic artists who were part of his circle such as Rudy Autio, Paul Soldner, John Mason, and Ken Price. This is a fascinating book about a major artist and I recommend it highly. It's also a scarce book and expensive on the used book market. Of course, if you're lucky you might find it at a used book sale for only $4! 38.Bernard Leach, Hamada, Potter. For three months in the early 70's, Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada, two of the most influential potters of the 20th century, met in a Tokyo hotel to record recollections of their lives both in and out of the studio. They have a great story to tell, one that's become legendary in ceramic circles. I especially appreciate hearing Hamada talk at length about his approach to ceramics. I've read and reread his words many times and have learned much from them. I can't say that my pots look much like Hamada's, but his thoughtful words and actions have stimulated my own development as a potter and as an artist. If you can, buy a copy of the original edition printed by Kodansha of Tokyo. It's a beautiful book! 39.Natzler Ceramics, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Originally published in 1968, this book focuses on the ceramics of Gertrud and Otto Natzler in the collection of Rose Sperry. Rose began collecting the Natzler's pots in the early 50's and she was so taken with their work that her goal became to form a "retrospective collection" which would include examples of their work from the time they immigrated from Austria to California in the late 30's to the time this catalog was published. I'd seen a few examples of the Natzler's work in other books, but had never seen so many examples together. After looking at a larger grouping of their pots, I feel I've found kindred spirits. The text of the book is written by Otto and includes a charming account of how they fell in love with each other and with clay. How can you resist a story that starts like this: "Like so many of life's most important happenings, the beginning was purely accidental. And God knows, had it not rained in Vienna on Sunday, the 30th of July 1933, Gertrud and I might never have come to know each other and both our lives might have taken off in completely different directions." Otto also writes about the form of pots that Gertrud threw on the wheel and (especially helpful) he shares quite a bit of information about glazing pots, his forte. The information isn't presented in the form of recipes, but he talks about glaze ingredients and things he did during the firing to achieve some of his famous results. For instance, I was interested in how many of their pots were multi-fired, usually oxidation first and then reduction at a slightly lower temperature. Sometimes he put green plants in the kiln to produce smoke and ash, sometimes he created drafts to produce fissures in the glaze, all sorts of crazy things you shouldn't do at your community kiln! The text and catalog provide plenty of hints to follow up on if you're interested in producing some of the same effects. The photos by Max Yavno are some of the best I've seen of pots and the book was beautifully printed by the Plantin Press in Los Angeles. 40.Herbert H. Sanders (with the collaboration of Kenkichi Tomimoto), The World of Japanese Ceramics. I'd never heard of this book before, but I bought it at a used book sale and immediately read it. Usually a book with a title like this is a coffee table book filled with dozens of exquisite photos and almost no text. This book has plenty of good photos, but it's not just another catalog of beautiful pots. Instead, it's the most complete explanation I've seen of the traditional techniques of Japanese mingei potters. Following is a list of the section headings so you can see what the book covers: Tools and Materials; Forming Processes; Decorating Processes; Underglazes, Glazes and Overglaze Enamel Decoration; and Tea and the Japanese Potter. The final section is on "Japanese Glaze Compositions" which not only gives dozens of glaze and clay body recipes, it includes Sander's comments on them. Sanders explains in great detail the process traditional Japanese potters use to produce their work, everything from how they prepare their clay to how they fire their kilns. Kenkichi Tomimoto was one of the most important Japanese potters at the time the book was written so Sanders was working with someone who understood the tradition quite well. It was first published in 1967 and Shoji Hamada and Bernard Leach wrote the introductory remarks. I learned a great deal from the book and I think you will as well. 41.W. G. Lawrence and R. R. West, Ceramic Science for the Potter (Second Edition). I found this book at a local ceramics store that was closing down. It sounds dry as dust but it's a fascinating read in most parts. A great deal of what a potter learns comes from personal experience and the experience of others. As important as that is, it helps to have a better scientific basis for what we do so we can do it better. One of the most enlightening chapters for me was the one on "Particle Orientation Effects." The authors show how wedging and throwing effect orientation of clay particles. They also helped me understand some important things about my larger bowls. I never use a torch to stiffen the walls of my bowls but I was never sure why I didn't need to. What I know now is that when I use two ribs to shape the bowl, I am orienting the clay particles on both sides of the wall. The thinner the wall becomes, the more particles get oriented in the same direction which is perpendicular to the pressure I'm applying with the ribs. This creates greater rigidity in the walls and explains why I don't need to use a torch, even when I bring the walls of the bowl almost parallel to the wheel head. This also explains why the walls of the bowls will shrink so much since the particles are oriented in a single direction and why greater care must be taken to dry them slowly. The chapter also helped me understand what potters call "memory" in clay and why lids often don't fit snugly since the particles of the lid and the particles of the clay wall are oriented differently. 42. Glenn Adamson, et al, Peter Voulkos: The Breakthrough Years. This is a catalog for an exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York in 2016-2017. The focus is Voulkos's most creative years from the 1950's through the late 60's when he helped to create a revolution in ceramic sculpture. There are great photos of some of his most important pieces and the essays approach Voulkos and his work from several angles. This starts to correct a glaring lack of resources about arguably the most important ceramic artist of the 20th century. 43. Peter Voulkos: Retrospective. I just ran across this catalog from a 1995 exhibition of Voulkos's work at the Sezon Museum of Art and the The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto in Japan. The introduction is by Rose Slivka and is the best concise presentation that I've read of Voulkos's career and approach to making sculpture. The catalog includes a huge selection of his work, some of it familiar but much that was not. Certainly worth buying if you can track it down.