Author(s): Jacqui Atkin
We all use ceramics on a daily basis without thinking much about it, except when it comes to a favourite mug or cup, for instance. Why is it a favourite? Is it that it holds just the right amount of tea or coffee? Is it that it sits comfortably in the hand with an ample handle that allows you to hold it safely? Is it the clay the cup is made from - a fine porcelain or robust stoneware? Is it the rustic shape or refined, delicate, traditional or contemporary design? Maybe you just like the pattern on the outside!
Whatever the reason, someone will have been thinking about the ergonomics of the cup when they designed and made it and all the other ceramic items that you use, to ensure they work perfectly and give you pleasure to handle and serve your food and drink in.
This book is a visual feast of ideas and advice to guide the maker through the process of designing and making successful functional ceramics that are practical and appealing in equal measure. It adopts a low-tech approach that is understandable and accessible for all and begins with the basic questions you will need to address before you begin.
Each element of the process will be carefully considered, from deciding the function of the item to working out proportions and making basic drawings, to choosing the right clay, tools, and making method, and finally glazing and firing, including safety issues and the essential topic of suitability for food.
Each chapter begins by presenting a varied range of basic shapes, be they thrown or hand built. The next section demonstrates a wide selection of handles, rims, feet, lids, knobs, spouts, lips, and other details that can be mixed and matched to form unique designs with personality and functionality.
Working the whole process out in advance can reap tremendous rewards, ensuring the maker gets it right first time but also allowing the process to be repeated with minimum effort. From idea to finished item, this book will be the essential guide to all the techniques required to make functional ceramics that really work and give lasting pleasure to use.
Jacqui Atkin is a practising ceramicist and has taught pottery in colleges and occupational therapy classes for several years. She now runs private courses from her home in Shropshire on low-fire pottery techniques, which include smoke-firing and Raku. She has contributed to several pottery books as a project maker and gallery artist, and is the author of several books including Beginner's Guide to Pottery & Ceramics.
Chapter One - Before you begin
Getting your ideas down on paper
Formers and templates
The right choice of clay
Glaze and other decorating mediums
Chapter Two - Cups and mugs
Handles for mugs
Chapter Three - Teapots
The essential non-drip spout for teapots
Handles for teapots
Lids and knobs for teapots
Chapter Four - Pitchers and Boats
Lips or snips
Handles for pitchers
Chapter Five - Plates, saucers and platters
Chapter Six - Bowls, dishes and casseroles
Coiled bowls and dishes
Slabbed bowls and dishes
Handles, lugs, feet and knobs for dishes
Chapter Seven - Basic making methods
Glossary, index and credits