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Working With Clay, 3rd edition

  • Susan Peterson

Published by Pearson (December 6th 2019) - Copyright © 2010

3rd edition

Working With Clay

ISBN-13: 9780131963931

Includes: Paperback
Free delivery
$101.32 $126.65

Permanently unavailable

What's included

  • Paperback

    You'll get a bound printed text.


Written by a world-renowned ceramist and leading expert in the field, this introductory book describes the initial processes of handbuilding, wheel throwing, plaster mold making, decoration, glaze application and firing techniques in a simple, easy-to-follow narrative. The text offers rich pictorial guidance throughout, both inspiring and instructing students with over 650 color illustrations. It includes a pictorial timeline of ceramic art history; and exposes students to a gallery of ceramic art, from traditional to avant-garde. The third edition is thoroughly updated throughout.

Table of contents

Preface to the Third Edition 8

The Safety Aspect 11


1 The World of Ceramics 13

Introduction 13

Clay and Pottery 13

History’s Influence on the Ceramic Art of Today 14

Functional vs Sculptural 19

Types of Ceramic Wares 19

       Earthenware 19

       Stoneware 21

       Porcelain 23

What is Clay? 24

What is a Clay Body? 25

Paperclay 26

Alternative clays and additions 28

Why Mix Your Own Clay Body? 32

Methods of Mixing Clay Bodies 32

Storing the Clay 33

       How important is fired shrinkage and absorption? 33

       How to reclaim scrap clay 34

What is Glaze?  34

Firing Ceramics 35


2 The Craft of Working with Clay by Hand 37

Getting Started 37

Tools for Working 39

Wedging Clay 39

Building by Hand: Introduction 40

Hand-building Techniques 42

       Pinching clay 42

       Coil method, smooth or textured 43

       Slab-building 47

Learning from Techniques used by Indigenous Peoples 54

       Methods of forming 54

Altering While Building 54

       Changing clay surface 54

       Coloring with mineral/ vegetable matter 55

Working with Plaster      57

       How to make a mold 58

Casting Slip into Molds 59

Make Your Own Casting Slip or Buy It Ready-made 60

How to Mix Plaster and Pour a Form  63


3 Throwing on the Potter’s Wheel 67

Anyone can Learn to Throw... 67

To the Beginner 68

Steps in Throwing on the Potter’s Wheel 69

       Wedging 69

       Position at the wheel 70

       Centering 70

       Opening the ball 71

Practice These Five Shapes 72

       a) Pull up and shape a cylinder 72

       b) Half-spherical shape 74

       c) Full spherical shape 76

       d) Sphere and cylinder combined 78

       e) Low open form 78

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