Advanced Pottery

You might think that after all these years, I would have stopped bringing how-to pottery books home, but actually I love to look at them. It’s interesting to see how other people do things. With YouTube, every potter and her sister have published a video demonstrating throwing or decorating or assembling. I like those too. You can see so much more in a video than pages of stills. But there’s something about a book, the quietness I think, that makes for savoring.

In Advanced Pottery, Linda Bloomfield visits what she calls “leading” studio potters at work. She describes, in text and photo, their processes as they each make a signature piece. We see Ruthanne Tudball create a teapot, affixing spout and handles while the soft pot is still on the wheel. We watch Sun Kim make his porcelain, lidded jars, cutting darts in the sides to make the bottom square. And then there’s Claudia Clare, who stands on a chair and beats the top of a coiled pot with a wine bottle. The pot is taller than she is. The wine bottle is empty. Hmmm.

Bloomfield gives the most pages to Doug Fitch who makes robust lead glazed slipware.  We see him attaching and stamping sprigs, pouring white slip over leaves he has gathered and stuck onto the walls of a pot, and combing and drawing through wet slip on one of his very large earthenware jugs.

Trained as a materials scientist, Bloomfield holds a BSc in Engineering Science and a PhD in Materials Science. She worked as a researcher before setting up her own studio in California and later in London. She makes wheel thrown porcelain tableware which she sells online and in shops.

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