The Craft of the Potter from BBC

,Here are some great clips I found on youtube. Michael Casson interviews Lynne Reeves, Walter Keeler and Alan Caiger-Smith. The decoration videos have Alan Caiger-Smith, he explains and demonstrates how he paints and fires his lustre pottery.

Michael Casson

BBC The Craft of the Potter – Glaze and Fire (Part 1)
BBC The Craft of the Potter – Glaze and Fire (part 2)

Alan Caiger-Smith

BBC The Craft of the Potter Decoration part 1
BBC The Craft of the Potter Decoration part2 

English Delft part 2

The last post covered some of the issues with English Delftware that I do not like. So here I would like to discuss some of the aspects that I prefer in the style. One problem is finding images to help illustrate my thoughts. Toronto’s Gardiner museum has a limited selection available online. The Museum of London in England has a wider range of images online (I posted some images here), many of the tiles
were produced in the Netherlands. In my opinion the best tin glazed work produced in were there large plates or chargers. Here is a Charger with William III and a charger with Adam and Eve from the Gardiner Museum.

The polychrome chargers have more depth and vitality. The energy provided by the colours accentuates the lively approach taken in the drawing on the plates. Here is a link to a tile on the Museum of London website that has the same graphic linear quality of the William III charger but painted with cobalt alone cobalt. English Delft Tile The tiles offer a wider range of subject matter. They often represent scenes from daily life and landscapes. There is an unique perspective on landscape painting found in English delftware that is not often found elsewhere at the time. The last image of the dish in my last post is a good example of this. If any one can find examples please feel free to share them.

English Delft

The Gardiner museum maiolica collection of is worth visiting. Here are some pill-tiles from England they have the Latin motto OPIFER:QUE:PER:ORBEM:DICOR (“I am spoken of all over the world as one who brings help.”) source. Objects used…

Pill-tile with the Arms of the London Society of Apothecaries

in Apothecaries have a rich maiolica tradition that leads back to the development of maiolica. The Apothecary jar is the most commonly known object. They are often decorated with elaborate pattens and imagery. Here is a sneak peek of some Italian renaissance maiolica apothecary jars.

Heart-shaped pill-tile with the arms of the London Society of Apothecaries

Two albarelli with portraits of saints

Here is a common English delft variation of the apothecary jar. Northern European jar forms varied from Persian and Southern European apothecary jars. The forms of Northern European jars often had softer, rounded forms. Personally I prefer the drawing of the images of Italian maiolica but prefer the use of negative space in many of the English jars. But I have been distracted by apothecary jars and should be focused on tiles.

Dry drug jar inscribed ‘V. DESICCAT’

English Delftware has an interesting quality or some would consider a lack of quality. The forms are often well developed and constructed but the decoration is lacking in comparison to other regions of the same time period. The work was often made by potters imported form Holland but I often feel like they were decoraters who couldn’t remain employed in Holland. This isn’t true for all the pieces I have seen and the Gardiner museum is good example of the wide range of styles found in England during the 17th to 18th century. Here is a good example of what I am talking about. It’s a decorative style that would probably be more effective within English the slip decoration tradition. The use of maiolica may be to divorced from the English ceramics tradition of this time period. And of course of great interest are the Unicorns found in the first two images.

Another little trip

Tiles, tiles and more tiles. I would like to write about tiles in my next few blogs. It may be an interesting opportunity to show tiles that interest me and some tiles that  I have made. Some sketches for tiles may also be shown in the next few posts. But as a little teaser here is an interesting website from London England. It has an interesting collection of European pottery from the Neolithic period to the 20th century. I fell in love with this website two years ago while I was doing research in preparation for my second year at Sheridan. Here is the link to the page where you can find these tin glazed (maiolica) tiles. This little journey will take us from England through Europe and end up in Turkey.

The exciting prequel!

So the other day I posted a little video clip. I wasn’t completely honest about it. It was related to clay, that squirrel was on a tree behind me when I was digging up the clay. I think it was worried that I was looking for its food. I would like to apologize for the poor quality of the video and to the squirrel. This is clip of the find, just another obscure ceramic moment. Here are some pics of maiolica pieces I made 2008-2009.

A care bear stare or a stone in the bosom.

Here are some images and thoughts that I would like to share with you.
“The kanji characters 懐石 used to write kaiseki literally mean “stone in the bosom.” These kanji are thought to have been incorporated by Sen no Rikyu (1522-91), to indicate the frugal meal served in the austere style of chanoyu (Japanese tea ceremony). The idea came from the practice where Zen monks would ward off hunger by putting warm stones into the front folds of their robes, near their bellies.”
Here is an image from a great blog cake For some reason I thought of the Tea Ceremony and how I haven’t made any cake plates. I am currently without a studio or kiln but I do have two hands and a heartbeat so I have been thinking of making some prototypes and then molds if I like any. Here is a food dish from the Freer Sackler online collection this dish is in a Ogata Kenzan style a famous Japanese potter. I wonder what would happen if these images were used as an inspirational starting point for a cake plate. It looks like its time to get to the drawing board.
Food dish with design of blossoming plum

late 19th century
Miura Ken’ya, (Japanese, 1821-1889)

Questionable Ceramics Content

I probably shouldn’t be posting this video here. But I am going to anyway, in the meantime here is a short side story.

 I have mentioned several times that I am a graduate from Sheridan’s Ceramics program. During the summer before our second year we were given the task of finding our own clay from a natural source. Excluding “natural” sources like PSH or Tuckers. I was living in East York a neighborhood in Toronto. My apartment was near the old Don Valley brick works so I was sure my task was going to be simple. And it was there was clay every where it was easy to find along the many Dona Valley trails. Here is a little video that isn’t really related to clay or ceramics. I just felt like I had to post it for others to see.

Dancing with glazes

 Nothing was as I had thought. A head (I soon discarded whole figures, they were simply too much) became for me an entirely unknown thing, without any secure dimensions. -Alberto Giacometti

Shino is a type glaze that I enjoyed using. It was developed in Japan and was the white glaze to be used their. This Tea bowl was wood fired and you can see the wood ash deposit showing up in the glaze as dark speckles. I was playing around with shooting on a white background the other day. I’m not sure how I feel about the shots. I’m happy with the piece though, it’s fun to play around with detail shots. I made a few where I played around with the glaze applying it in thick and thin layers. Using a small ladle letting the glaze pool and drip. Adding multiple layers and drawing in the glaze with my finger tips.

To Borkum on our way to Delft?

I had a chance to visit my Oma today. I haven’t had as many opportunities to visit my Oma as much as I would like over the past few years. It’s always fun to look at pictures and objects she has collected and to hear the stories that surround them. After my Oma and Opa were married they moved from Heidelberg to Borkum shortly before moving to Canada. For fun I have included driving directions to Delft in the Netherlands. If you for want to check out any of their
ceramics. I’ve heard some people have liked it. So this set would have been purchased in the mid fifties. I wonder if they are still being sold now in any gift shops. I think they are fun, well  they are maiolica how can you not like them. It’s a slightly translucent glaze on a coarse red body. I like the brush work and simple bird motif. The forms are thin and very delicate. I would probably prefer to serve coffee in the cups though.What do you think?

cup with saucer
saucer on its side

I also found this little object in the dining room…

and this vase in the living room. I’ve never seen a maiolica vase like this before. Though there are many types of ceramics that I am unfamiliar with. I’ve seen this vase since childhood but today is the first day that I realized it was maoilica glaze on a buff earthenware clay. I first thought it was copper brushwork on a white slip under a clear glaze. But when I picked it up I realized the glaze was opacified and the copper was painted in the glaze. Something about it bothers me though.