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Why I Made These Pages

A detailed study of Ceramic History specifically for Potters is not often available in Art Schools and Colleges for all sorts of reasons and many potters aren't able to take such courses.

Designs and techniques of previous ages have always provided a major stimulus for later generations of potters. Just looking at old pots can be a valuable source of aesthetic inspiration and technical innovation to anyone working with clay. Over more than ten thousand years of ceramic history has produced an immense range of techniques - making, decorating and firing. Methods of working have been invented and then refined over perhaps hundreds of years with countless variations.

However, many of the materials we use today are pretty basic and not difficult to find. Most ceramic materials have been in use by potters for centuries or longer, so historical methods and traditional materials, glazes and firing techniques are not outdated curiosities; they can still be of practical interest to a 20th century potter looking for new ideas.

Prehistoric pot from Mesopotamia showing spiral motifsPrehistoric beaker from Susa in Iran - showing dart, diamond and zig zag motifs

It occurred to me sometime ago that the Web was an ideal place for such Ceramic History Tutorials, so I decided to reorganise my lecture material, re-sort and scan my colour slide illustrations and edit or alter them specifically for Web Pages to produce a series of tutorials for artist potters.

What is my background for doing this, you may rightly ask? Well, for over twenty years I gave regular weekly illustrated lectures on both Ceramic History and Ceramic Technology to Studio Potters on the HARROW Studio Pottery Course and the Ceramic Degree courses at Westminster University and other colleges in the U.K. Past students are often kind enough to tell me that my courses were of great value to them. I have retired from much of my academic work and computing has been a part of my life for many years now, so this is an exciting new challenge, academically, technically and graphically. If you're still curious about me click on my potter's stamp or the pic, otherwise have a look at the Tutorial Pages. If you've got some questions or comments, do drop me an email.

Click for Full List of Web Tutorials

These Web Pages are my practical contribution to the CLAYART community on the Internet. I have tried to steer my way through the problem of how deep to go into the relevant history. There is a choice of a fast track - seeing just the illustrations with caption information rather than following the full tutorial. At this stage, I think I have included sufficient information about the techniques used (there could be much more, of course) but I will be happy to make additions and improvements from time to time depending on the response. It is quite a large undertaking covering about thirty tutorials. I haven't yet included a bibliography, but I will do so eventually if there is a demand for it. The LINK page I will also update from time to time.

The size of illustrations is always a compromise on a web page because of different screen sizes and downloading time. Although I use a 19" screen for designing these pages, I have assumed many readers could be using smaller screens so the the largest images are about 380p x 300p seen on a 14" screen. Eventually, I will put the complete set of Ceramic History Web Tutorials on CD ROM and larger images can then be included.

I hope there will be a variety of ceramic artists who will find this the history of our craft useful.

Latest Revision: 29th July 2000

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