Some place in this house is a copy of Making Pottery by John Anderson. It should be on the shelves with all the other books on ceramics that crowd my living room, but if it is, my eyes are passing it by. I hope I am not becoming like my now deceased friend Francelia who in her later years, had to keep buying copies of the same books because she was never able to find her copy when she needed it. Sigh.
I am looking for it because, as I recall, it had a bit on Isaac Button. Button, sometimes called the “last true country potter” in England, operated Soil Hill, near Halifax England. He could and did throw a half ton of clay a day, swiftly making hundreds of repeat shapes – jugs, flowerpots, crocks, cider jars and so on. His ability to throw fast and large is astonishing to us today, but was typical of the way old time country potters worked. Fortunately for us, a few years before he died, John Anderson and Robert Fournier filmed him.
I drove out to Guy Wolff’s pottery on Friday to interview him some more for the book project. Wolff is also a repeat thrower and throws fast and large. Toward the end of the interview, he mentioned how much he liked the Button video. So, before beginning work on the chapter I am writing, I watched the video again myself (thanks YouTube) and then searched futilely for the book.
The film is over 40 minutes in its entirety, but here is an extract of Button throwing.
And here’s Guy Wolff.