Clay: Contemporary Ceramic Artisans
Text in English
Pottery and ceramics is enjoying a market renaissance, as part of an urge of ‚slow‘ or more ‚authentic’ living within the 21st century landscape. Objects made by hand, the imperfect, the unique is what our generation is craving for. The hand crafted ceramic bowl, the clay teapot is the perfect embodiment and realization of this wish. But while our perception of pottery products might be limited to a very basal mode of ‚comforting‘ ourselves, the production of pottery, the combinations of inspiration, materials and methodology are infinite.
Amber Creswell Bell, Australian arts and design writer, took on the task of exploring this diversity of ceramic’s favourite material: clay. Her book portraits over 50 studio potters from around the world, telling their professional stories, their relationship to the material and technique and offering a look behind the scenes. Clay starts off with a short but very informative foreword, in which the relationship between material and contemporary culture – between ‘slow living’ and instagram-ready lifestyle – is explained. But the book does not intend to be an academic ‘best of’ nor a ‘technical exploration’. In its own words, it intends to be “a somewhat subjective curation aiming to shine light on diverse cross-section of styles, experiences, geography and personality of the artists” working with clay. This subjectiveness, this immediacy is what makes Clay a special publication. The different perceptions, thoughts and approaches to the material are not only a fascinating read but are also captured in over 231 photographs. And in case you were wondering what’s so risky about Raku or why ‘biscuit firing’ has nothing to do with cookies – Clay comes with a handy glossary of pottery vocabulary, to turn even the most stubborn ceramics ignorant into a clay connoisseur.