Pottery You Can Use

Pottery You Can Use : An Essential Guide to Making Plates, Pots, Cups and Jugs

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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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 190 x 246 x 15mm | 706g
  • Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 500 Illustrations, color
  • 1782215603
  • 9781782215608
  • 107,312

Table of contents


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

Design decisions

Thrown mug

Hand-built mug

Pinched mug

Handles for mugs

Chapter Three - Teapots

Design decisions

Thrown teapot

Coiled teapots

Slabbed teapots

The essential non-drip spout for teapots

Handles for teapots

Lids and knobs for teapots

Chapter Four - Pitchers and Boats

Design decisions

Thrown pitchers

Lips or snips

Coiled pitchers

Slabbed pitchers

Pinched pitchers

Handles for pitchers

Chapter Five - Plates, saucers and platters

Design decisions

Thrown plates

Slabbed plates



Chapter Six - Bowls, dishes and casseroles

Design decisions

Thrown bowls

Coiled bowls and dishes

Slabbed bowls and dishes

Handles, lugs, feet and knobs for dishes

Chapter Seven - Basic making methods

Glossary, index and credits
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Review quote

Ramp up your pottery skills with this specialized manual, as British ceramics professional and author Atkin offers design techniques to reduce errors in finished pieces. With projects including simple mugs and stylish teapots, tips and options are highlighted throughout, focusing on the construction rather than finishes. This polished book is a lovely addition to the field of pottery. The projects are attractive and well explained. It's not a beginner's manual, however-throwing technique is briefly covered, and explanations on the use of tools, materials, firing, and glazes are cursory. VERDICT Highly recommended for intermediate students still working through the fine details of potterymaking. * Library Journal USA * an interesting read, lots of illustrations, photos and guidance on different types of clay and styles of pottery to be made. As a non potter i feel i would be inclined to read a beginners guide to pottery and ceramics, by the same author first if i were going to delve into the pottery world to gain more basic knowledge. -- Becca Blackwell This book has got me very excited & enthusiactic about taking up Pottery -- Alan Snowbal Beautiful book filled with lots of wonderful ideas and projects to make. I love how it gives you an overview of what's needed to make everything it gives you a really good idea of where to start. -- Ella Eske I am not a potter, but I do love pottery and would like to be able to make my own. This book provides a thorough insight into the process and includes a wide variety of projects from mugs, to jugs to teapots! Not all require a wheel - coiling and slabbing are covered too. I feel inspired to have a go! -- Myra Armson
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About Jacqui Atkin

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.
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